Terror on the Highway

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.

The Eyes Have It

Scanning the Road

Sometimes we take driving for granted. With each uneventful drive we make, we begin to let our guard down. We start picking up bad habits like zoning out and staring at the bumper of the car in front of us. The problem with this is driving is always potentially dangerous and a routine drive can change in the blink of an eye.

A big part to driving defensively is using your eyes. A defensive driver actively scans the road ahead, checks to the left and right and glances in their mirrors regularly. Continuous eye movement will increase your awareness and give you more time to react in a hazardous situation. In addition to watching around your car, it is also good to look farther down the road. By spotting problems early, you will have time to make necessary adjustments in advance to avoid them.

Handling Dangerous Situations

No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.

Today’s Three Seconds: Driving Off of the Pavement

3 Second StopIf you ever find yourself in a situation where your wheels go off the pavement onto a soft shoulder, remain calm and follow these simple steps:

  • Hold the steering wheel firmly
  • Take your foot off the gas pedal
  • Gently apply your brakes
  • Check for traffic coming behind you
  • When the coast is clear, soothingly steer yourself back onto the road

Avoid slamming on the brakes and swerving back to your lane right away. There is a good chance that you will lose control of your car and end up hitting something or someone on the opposite side of the road.

Signals Crossed

Traffic Control Signals

Traffic lights help drivers navigate roadways in an orderly fashion. However, sometimes lights depart from the standard procedure and might leave you wondering what to do.

stop
If you see a Flashing Red signal light, treat it like a STOP sign. Stop completely and proceed when it is safe to do so. Don’t forget to follow the right-of-way rules.

 

 

yield
 

If you see a Flashing Yellow signal light, treat it like a YIELD sign. Slow down and be prepared to stop for cross traffic.

Slip Risk

No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.

Today’s Three Seconds: Freshly Wet Roads

3 Second Stop
As you may already know, wet roads require extra care when driving. However, were you aware that many roads are the most slippery when it first starts to rain, particularly if it hasn’t rained in a long time? When rain first begins to fall, the accumulated oil on the road will be loosened and mixed with the water, making it even slicker than after it has been raining for a while.

Dangers of the Road

Dealing With an Aggressive Driver

beware

Aggressive drivers! We’ve all dealt with them at least one time in our lives, if not on a daily basis. They’re the ones belligerently weaving in and out of traffic, beeping the horn like mad men and women, and screaming obscenities at the motorists who are actually doing the posted speed limit. Unfortunately, aggressive drivers are everywhere, so how do you deal with them?

Simple. Do your best to stay out of their way. An aggressive driver is a dangerous driver. The last thing you want to do is outsmart them by mimicking the same erratic behavior they are displaying. Not only is that jeopardizing your well-being, but egging on an aggressive driver could anger them even further, making the driver even more of a road hazard than he or she already is, and possibly resulting in a fatal accident.

Because these kinds of drivers have the potential to create major havoc for you and surrounding motorists, reporting an aggressive driver is extremely important. When you’re parked and in a position where you can safely dial 9-1-1…do so! Calling the police is one of the best things you can do to keep the roads safe when dealing with aggressive drivers. Who knows, one simple phone call could possibly save that aggressive driver’s life as well.