It is said that a high percentage of crashes are due to a driver’s attitude or behavior. So, could it be true that if we just stayed more focused and had better control of our emotions we would inevitably make better decisions and therefore nearly eliminate crashes, altogether? Could we actually become a crash free society. It would be interesting to start a “challenge” to see what effect this would have in reducing crashes, as well as a reduction in moving violations and even road rage.
Following these simple principles may help us to avoid that which we all dread.
• Always wear your seat belt and make sure others in the car are wearing theirs too.
• Scan the road ahead. And constantly scan around your car by checking your side mirrors and your rearview mirror every 3 to 7 seconds so you always know where your safe “out” is (drive like a bobble head). This is super important…but your MAIN FOCUS should always be scanning the road ahead of your intended path of travel. This will result in better reaction time and no surprises.
• Always try to keep a three second following distance between you and the car ahead. This will help reduce the chances of a rear-end collision. Once the car ahead of you passes a stationary object such as a tree, mile marker or a dead deer (if it gets up and walks away, you need to find something else), count 3 seconds before your car passes that same stationary object. Double this rule in wet weather and triple it in icy or snowy weather. Keep a good space around your car.
• Change lanes properly. Use your signal, that’s what it’s for. It’s also a moving violation if you don’t signal 100 feet before changing lanes or turning. Newer cars have a blinker feature that will automatically shut off after 3 to 6 blinks (so you no longer have to be the “eternal signaler” that forgot to shut the blinker off).
• Be aware of your speed and keep up with the flow of traffic. Not keeping up with the flow of traffic is the current leading cause for crashes. So, if everyone is speeding and you’re not keeping up with the flow of traffic, you could be impeding traffic (which can be more dangerous than speeding). Driving too slow causes more crashes, but the high-impact of speeding crashes cause more fatalities. In other words, “speed kills.”
• Be careful when backing out. In a parking lot, you must yield to moving vehicles.
• Keep a good, clear view. Make sure you have plenty of wiper fluid, that the wipers work and your windshield is clean. If you can’t see well at night, if it’s that foggy, just get off the road and wait.
• Stay calm and alert and don’t be distracted.
• Watch out for blind spots and those in your blind spots (and you in theirs). Motorcyclists and bicyclists are especially vulnerable to blind spots.
• Adjust your seat and steering wheel to suit you.
And, for Pete’s sake, always be prepared to yield the right of way. Try to be a courteous driver. Let people over when they signal and they will probably do the same. It’s only going to create good Karma.
Until next week…
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
A Crash Free Society – Comedy Defensive Driving