Thursday, March 13

Keys To Defense Driving

If you've been out on the roads, you know that not everyone drives well. Some people speed aggressively. Others wander into another lane because they aren't paying attention. Drivers may follow too closely, make sudden turns without signaling, or weave in and out of traffic.

Aggressive drivers are known road hazards, causing one third of all traffic crashes. But inattentive driving is becoming more of a problem as people "multitask" by talking on the phone, eating, or even watching TV as they drive. We can't control the actions of other drivers. But learning defensive driving skills can help us avoid the dangers caused by other people's bad driving


Skills That Put You in Control

Before you get behind the wheel of all that glass and steel, here are some tips to help you stay in control:

Stay focused. There are a lot of things to think about when driving: road conditions, your speed, observing traffic laws and signals, following directions, being aware of the cars around you, checking your mirrors — the list goes on. Staying focused on driving — and only driving — is key.

Distractions, like talking on the phone or eating, make a driver less able to see potential problems and react to them. It's not just teen drivers who are at fault: People who have been driving for a while can get overconfident in their driving abilities and let their driving skills get sloppy. All drivers need to remind themselves to stay focused.

Stay alert. Being alert (not sleepy or under the influence) allows you to react quickly to potential problems — like when the driver in the car ahead slams on the brakes at the last minute. Obviously, alcohol or drugs (including prescription and over-the-counter drugs) affect a driver's reaction time and judgment. Driving while tired has the same effect and is one of the leading causes of crashes. So rest up before your road trip.

Watch out for the other guy. Part of staying in control is being aware of the drivers around you and what they may suddenly do so you're less likely to be caught off guard. For example, if a car speeds past you on the highway but there's not much space between the car and a slow-moving truck in the same lane, it's a pretty sure bet the driver will try to pull into your lane directly in front of you. Anticipating what another driver may do prepares you to react.

Eight Secrets of Super Driving

When you drive defensively, you're aware and ready for whatever happens. You are cautious, yet ready to take action and not put your fate in the hands of other drivers. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 90% of all crashes are attributed to driver error.

Following these defensive driving tips can help reduce your risk on the road:

1. Think safety first. Avoiding aggressive and inattentive driving tendencies yourself will put you in a stronger position to deal with other people's bad driving. Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front. Always lock your doors and wear your seatbelt to protect you from being thrown from the car in a crash.

2. Be aware of your surroundings — pay attention. Check your mirrors frequently and scan conditions 20 to 30 seconds ahead of you. If a vehicle is showing signs of aggressive driving, slow down or pull over to avoid it. If the driver is driving so dangerously that you're worried, try to get off the roadway by turning right or taking the next exit if it's safe to do so. Also, keep an eye on pedestrians, bicyclists, and pets along the road.

3. Do not depend on other drivers. Be considerate of others but look out for yourself. Do not assume another driver is going to move out of the way or allow you to merge. Assume that drivers will run through red lights or stop signs and be prepared to react. Plan your movements anticipating the worst-case scenario.

4. Have an escape route. In all driving situations, the best way to avoid potential dangers is to position your vehicle where you have the best chance of seeing and being seen. Having an alternate path of travel is essential, so take the position of other vehicles into consideration when determining an alternate path of travel.

5. Follow the 3- to 4-second rule. Since the greatest chance of a collision is in front of you, using the 3- to 4-second rule will help you establish and maintain a safe following distance and provide adequate time for you to brake to a stop if necessary in normal traffic under good weather conditions.

6. Keep your speed down. Posted speed limits apply to ideal conditions. It's your responsibility to ensure that your speed matches conditions.

7. Separate risks. When faced with multiple risks, it's necessary to address them by separating risks. Your goal is to avoid having to deal with too many risk factors at the same time.

8. Cut out distractions. A distraction is any activity that diverts your attention from the task of driving. Driving deserves your full attention — so stay focused on the driving task.

Happy (defensive) driving!

Source: Health and Safety


Heart of Rachel said...

Thanks for these great tips. Alam mo ba I finished 2 driving courses (A1 and Socialite) pero di pa din ako nakapagdrive? Technically, I know how to drive but I've never really put it to good use. Kulang ako sa lakas ng loob.

rowena said...

Hi Rach, nag A-1 din ako (1998). Right after the actual lessons, drive nako kagad. Excited eh, then pag traffic na tinamad nako and let the driver handle the stress of city-driving, he he. Practice ka lang in your area. Then pag ok na, try driving here in Manila na. Medyo ma-stress ka lang with all the wayward bus/ jeepney/ taxi drivers. Lakasan talaga ng loob. Sindakan din...LOL!

Analyse said...

talking on the phone, watching tv, applying make-up or anything which could distract the attention of the driver is a no-no here.. of course me mga pasaway pa din, but they have to pay a huge amount of fine pag nahuli lol..

Anonymous said...

Hah, I don't know if I could ever drive at all. Sa dami ng mga pasaway sa daan. Grrr.

Nice tips, Wenchie.

auee said...

good tips... now if only I could gain the courage to actually learn to drive

Belle said...

great tips! my daughter was driving last night and i was on the passenger seat. we were on the residential area around the curve so the visibility was poor. i told her that she had to slow down a bit because some residents might be backing down the road from their driveway. she couldn't seem to understand what i was trying to say and called me annoying......ouch!

rowena said...

Hi Analyse, hay naku here in Manila, very common yang multi-tasking while driving that's why there's a lot of car accidents around.

Hi Auee, I bet you can drive once you've learn how to. Ikaw pa, eh ang lakas ng loob mo huh...And you better learn it here in Manila, he he...

Hi Anonymous, lakasan lang ng loob yan...try it and you'll enjoy it for sure.

Hi Belle, he he, maybe she can't concentrate or na-stress lalo. It happens to me whenever hubby's seating on the passenger seat while am driving. Good thing she didn't say she hates backseat drivers, just kidding...