I recently completed my annual driver safety refresher training.
Seeing as traffic will be at an all-year high this holiday weekend, as people around the United States take to traveling far and wide in celebration of Independence Day, I thought this would be a perfect time to share the knowledge that I learned ... with all of you ... in an effort to keep you safe.
Because I care about you that way.
And since you may be on the same road with me or my precious family, I believe it is important to impart whatever knowledge I have about driving safely to those who read this little blog.
This Driver Safety post has taken me several days to write. I will be publishing it in segments throughout the day, as opposed to one huge post at once, because I fear anyone who tries to read it all at once would lose consciousness. But I will be taking roll and I fully expect you to read it in all of it's entirety.
There will be a quiz at the end.
Now before I dive in to this critically important post - I think it's important to note that I work for a company that takes safe operations very seriously.
In all of the training seminars that we take in order to insure that our activities are executed flawlessly, it is stressed that our behavior dictates our safety. As such, we subscribe to a philosophy that in industry, is commonly referred to as "Behavior-Based Loss Prevention."
The driving safety program that our company subscribes to is from the Smith-System Driver Improvement Institute, and it falls under this Behavior-Based Loss Prevention category. Almost everything included in this post series, has been taken directly from the Smith-System Driver program.
The five keys that I'll be referencing in these posts are registered by Smith-System and are noted, accordingly. Although I've done my absolute best to include an overview of the program here, if you ever have the opportunity to attend a Smith-System Driver Safety program, I would highly (highly, highly) recommend it. There is absolutely NO comparison to reading about how to drive safely and taking a real class, where you are required to get behind the wheel while a Smith-System Trained Instructor analyzes your driving.
Just ask Charlie.
I'm not even a Trained Instructor but since I've had the training at least five times, I critique him constantly when we're on the road. It's awesome and a great marriage builder. (Or not.)
OK. Pour yourself a cup of tea and let's get started.
Every year, thousands and thousands of people die in pointless traffic accidents.
There are many answers to this question. But the most important answer is that precautions were rarely taken to prevent these tragic accidents. True, some accidents are inescapable. But of the MILLIONS of accidents happening every year, only a small percentage are truly non-preventable.
Yet, the right precautions do prevent accidents. And seeing as we spend a large portion of our lives driving, we need to be cognizant of what those precautions are. Especially considering many of us are transporting life's most precious cargo.
These pictures below were sent to me, today, by a colleague at work.
Do you see the motorcycle?
How about now?
The driver and the passenger in the car were talking on a cell phone. The driver of the car didn't see the motorcycle and the motorcyclist, who was driving at 85 miles per hour, didn't notice the bright red car - edging out at the intersection. When the paramedics arrived, they extracted three victims from the red car. The motorcycle driver - the driver - and the passenger.
They were all killed instantly.
The Smith-System is a series of interlocking techniques for preventing accidents. They help drivers to see, think and act their way through the multitude of driving environments, challenges and changes that exist no matter where they travel or what types of vehicles they operate.
Total awareness, perceptive anticipation, accurate forecasting, early detection and deliberate reaction are the primary features of these techniques.
Behind the variety of unique reasons for every accident are common contributing factors that repeatedly come in to play. But most of these factors include human error. They include:
Inattention: It might surprise you that most of the drivers on the road don't pay enough attention to the serious business of driving. Yet change is the most constant thing on the road. There are an endless variety of things that must be identified and analyzed, at every moment.
Too Much Attention to Too Little: Some drivers concentrate too much attention for too long one item, while missing others of equal or greater importance.
Not Enough Time: Drivers often do not allow themselves adequate time to make important decisions and act upon them. This is usually caused by not seeing enough, soon enough.
Not Enough Space: Drivers frequently accompany each other in close-knit packs, leaving themselves no maneuvering room if they need to steer clear of a sudden problem. They tailgate both inside and outside of packs.
Not Allowing for the Mistakes of Others: Drivers often fail to see or anticipate the mistakes of others in time to avoid conflict.
Not Enough Training: Fundamental training is often very inadequate. Many drivers are turned loose in the traffic world after gaining only limited knowledge of local laws and the basics of vehicle handling.
Failure to Adjust to Conditions: Changing road and weather conditions require drivers to adapt and to modify driving techniques. Many drivers don't adapt to circumstances, or are slow to recognize their importance.
Driver Impairment: The influences of alcohol, drugs, fatigue and illness can lead to accidents.
Vehicle Failure: This causes a very small percentage of accidents. Many of them can be avoided if drivers take the proper precautions.
Up next ... the first of Five Keys to Driving Safely.
Go grab yourself a donut.