More and more, today’s driving schools and defensive driving institutions teach self-regulation to drivers of all ages. Drivers who self-regulate make driving decisions based on experience to limit certain driving behaviors in order to keep themselves out of harm’s way on the road. For instance, do you ever find yourself making multiple right turns to avoid having to make a tricky left turn at a hectic intersection? Then you, like many other safe drivers, are practicing self-regulating techniques.
Here are some other common self-regulation techniques you can try:
- Limiting your night driving (this is the most widespread form of self-regulation)
- Limiting your driving during bad weather
- Choosing routes that avoid congestion, construction, and difficult traffic scenarios
- Driving in the lane you are most comfortable with (i.e. driving in the slower lanes or not driving in the lane directly adjacent to parked cars)
- Not making optional right turns at red traffic lights
- Limiting the volume on your radio so you can better hear traffic and emergency vehicles
- Parking towards the back of parking lots where it is less congested
*This traffic safety topic is covered in our 8-hour California Traffic School course for traffic tickets. If you need traffic school to keep a moving violation off your driving record, sign up today at https://www.trafficschool.com/california/california-traffic-school/?source=blog_06302021
Another great tutorial from our partner company, Drivers Ed Direct! Watch driving instructor Alejandra as she demonstrates how to brake safely and smoothly.
No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.
Today’s Three Seconds: Judging Time to Make a Maneuver
Judging time to make a maneuver requires you to estimate the distance and speed of other vehicles, and then proceed when you believe you have enough time to execute the maneuver safely. Whenever you drive in city traffic, you should always look a block ahead. It takes approximately 10 to 15 seconds to travel one block. If you are traveling on a highway with several lanes, or on a divided highway, check for vehicles in all lanes that you have to cross. Don’t forget to look for smaller bicyclists and motorcyclists and check crosswalks for pedestrians. You should cross or turn only after you have determined that you can complete the movement safely without impeding other road users.
Do you have a new driver in your home getting ready for the DMV drive test? Join Ben from our partner company Drivers Ed Direct as he outlines common mistakes made by new drivers and how to avoid them.
Summer is drawing to a close. For many families the Labor Day weekend is a time for one last road trip before getting back into the school year groove. More people on the roads means greater potential for something to go wrong. While you enjoy your holiday please be vigilant behind the wheel and remember to:
- Stay alert and drive defensively
- Wear your seat belt
- Drive sober
- Avoid drowsy driving
- Avoid driving distractions
An interesting report from GasBuddy found that Americans tend to drive 175% more aggressively during the holidays. GasBuddy looked at the number of instances quick accelerating, hard braking, and speeding occurred during the Thanksgiving holiday (November 21 – 25, 2018). The results showed that these aggressive driving events happened most often on the day leading up to the holiday. Aggressive driving is not only dangerous, it is also hard on your gas consumption. This is something to keep in mind with upcoming holiday travels. Some tips for your holiday trips: Plan ahead so you have plenty of time to reach your destination. Take a deep breath, relax, and drive with courtesy. Our goal should be for us all to get where we are going safely. Drive safe and have a happy holiday season!
Wrong Way Drivers
Having a driver who is driving right towards you at highway speeds is not only scary, but is also extremely dangerous. According to the Federal Highway Administration, in the US, wrong-way driving crashes result in 300 to 400 people killed each year on average, which represent about 1% of the total number of traffic related fatalities. Though the percentage is low, wrong-way crashes on divided highways are much more likely to result in fatal and serious injuries because they involve high speed, head-on collisions.
In a study, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that driving while impaired by alcohol is the primary cause of wrong-way driving collisions, with more than 60 percent of wrong-way collisions caused by drivers impaired by alcohol. They also found that wrong-way collisions occur most often at night and during the weekends, and they tend to take place in the lane closest to the median.
Tips for dealing with a wrong way driver start with defensive driving basics:
- Always use your seat belts. A seat belt is the single most important safety equipment feature of your vehicle, but in order for safety belts to work, they must be worn properly and at all times while driving. A lap and shoulder belt worn properly increase your chances of surviving a collision by 3 to 4 times than if you are unrestrained.
- Scan for hazards. Keep your eyes moving and remember to look further down the road. Scanning enables your eyes to take in the whole scene, enabling you to identify a hazard before it becomes a last-second crisis. You should also be constantly looking for an escape route or somewhere to go if you encounter a problem or hazard on the road.
- Don’t drive distracted. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by your cell phone, eating, drinking or even your kids. When you take focus off of driving, you increase the time it takes you to react to problems on the road, which will in turn increase your chances of getting into a collision.
- At night, stay to the right side of the road, in the right lanes and avoid driving in the fast lane, or lane closed to the median, especially if your view is blocked by curves or hills.
If you do see a wrong way driver, then:
- Reduce your speed and move to the right lane or shoulder as quickly as you can without losing control of your car. Once the wrong way driver has safely passed you, be sure to notify the authorities.
- If you can’t move out of the wrong way driver’s path, avoid being hit head-on by turning your car sideways. Head on collisions have the highest fatality rate, so if you are going to get hit, it is better to be hit at an angle, if possible at or behind the rear wheels, than taking the full force of the crash head-on.
Many drivers have a problem with changing lanes safely. The S.M.O.G. technique is meant to help remind you of the steps to take when planning a lane change. S.M.O.G. simply means:
- Signal: Indicate your intentions to let other drivers know you plan on making a move before you actually do it.
- Mirror: Check your mirrors to make sure that there is no traffic approaching from the rear.
- Over-the-shoulder: Glance over your shoulder to make sure your blind spot is clear.
- Go: When you’ve determined the lane is clear, gradually change lanes remembering to maintain your speed so that you don’t interfere with the traffic already in the intended lane.
Don’t forget to look ahead to anticipate and avoid traffic hazards. Before changing lanes, check the direction of travel and watch out for traffic coming from the opposite direction.
Quick Tips for Holiday Travels
AAA estimates there will be 48.7 million travelers this Thanksgiving holiday weekend starting today, November 23, 2016 through Sunday, November 27, 2016. For those of you traveling on highways and byways, here are a few helpful safety reminders.
Before you leave:
- Check your tires are properly inflated and that your tire tread is healthy (no bald spots).
- Be sure to pack an emergency kit: a flashlight, blankets, jumper cables, a first aid kit, drinking water, non-perishable snacks, and a cell phone.
- Buckle up. Make sure you and all your passengers are properly secured in an approved and appropriate seat belt and/or child passenger restraint system.
On the road:
- Obey the posted limit signs. Speed limits are set for your safety. Also, you’ll save a little money with better gas mileage.
- Avoid unnecessary lane changes. Remember, frequently changing lanes to pass other vehicles increases your risk of having a collision. If you do pass, remember to pass on the left and look for the other vehicle’s headlights in your rearview mirror before you return to your lane. For large trucks you want to see the cab of the truck in your rearview mirror before going back into the lane.
- No drinking and driving. If you have been drinking alcohol, don’t drive. If you plan on drinking, set up a designated driver before you start.
Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season!
2016 Teen Driver Safety Campaign
Speak with your teen about making good driving decisions.
For those of you that have young drivers at home, National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 16 – 22) is a good reminder to sit down with your teen and go over the “5 to Drive” risky driving behaviors to avoid.
- NO CELL PHONES: Dialing a phone while driving increases your teen’s risk of crashing by six times, and texting while driving increases the risk by 23 times.
- NO EXTRA PASSENGERS: Research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of teenagers in the car.
- NO SPEEDING: In 2014, speeding was a factor for 30% of the teen drivers involved in fatal crashes.
- NO ALCOHOL: 20% of 15- to 19-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 had been drinking.
- ALWAYS BUCKLE-UP: In 2014, 53% of teens 15-19 years old killed in passenger vehicle crashes were not wearing a seat belt.
Source: NHTSA and safercar.gov