Defensive Driving Take-Away

Ok, here are some highlights from my 8 hour class today.  I did take away some valuable information. 

Can I just say that the defensive driving parking lot can be a very dangerous place?  I mean, recent traffic ticket recipients all in one place?   It’s a little terrifying, to be honest.  🙂

Now for the important stuff.  Seriously.  You should listen to this:

  1. Wear your seatbelt.   Your seatbelt allows you, in a crash situation, to stop with the car instead of being jettisoned OUT of the car.   Three out of FOUR people who fly out of their vehicle during a crash will die.   I saw video of several people actually having done this.  It was not pretty.
  2. You can slow down for  pretty little animals in the road, but braking hard or swerving to save their life is not a good plan.  Well, except deer, who can total your car (and you).
  3. There is a three-second following rule behind any vehicle being followed.  However, that is only a rule for perfect days with no inclimate weather.   If there is rain, snow (etc), sun coming up, fatigue, stress, a large vehicle involved… add a second for EACH situation.     For example, I might always require 5 seconds.   Since I AM a vampire and I do not sleep.   🙂
  4. Don’t let your passengers, cell phone, iPod, CD player, air conditioner or heater, food, applying makeup or shaving (or anything similar) let you take your eye off the road for even one second.   One second is all it takes.   Trust me on this.
  5. When confronted with a head-on collision, it’s good to avoid that.   Head-on collisions are quite dangerous.   It is better to broadside a tree, rather than hit a car head-on.   So, faced with that situation, take a quick *read* of the road (determine the obstacles),  *remain on the right* side of the road (only applies in countries where you drive on the right-hand side of the road, by the way), *ride off the road*.. to the right (same rule as before), even if you have to drive in the grass or broadside a tree or pole.    Do not hit a tree or pole head-on… you’ve just essentially created your own head-on collision.   Try to avoid pedestrians at all cost.
  6. When taking a long drive, switch drivers, if possible, every 2 hours to avoid fatigue.  I saw an accident where a woman fell asleep at the wheel.   She rolled her SUV (her family inside) twice.   She was hospitalized with a swollen spinal cord.   She recovered (and her family was perfectly fine), but couldn’t bear to drive for 2 years.
  7. Don’t get ticked off at other drivers.  Think of them as someone’s FAMILY or FRIEND, who would be missed by someone if you ran them over and caused their death.

It wasn’t pretty.   On the roll-over video with the kid in the car (and they showed it twice, thank you!), I nearly burst into tears.  Anything like that with kids inside scares the hell out of me.   I guess I should always think of every car with a kid inside.

So that’s it.  One traffic ticket wiped off the face of the earth.    Lots of valuable information taken away.


5 thoughts on “Defensive Driving Take-Away

  1. Fletch

    In my very humble opinion… Motorcyclists make the best drivers… They’re used to your average imbecilic car driver trying to kill them… They’re used to feeling vulnerable, having to read the road constantly and pre-empting all the idiots and what they’re gonna do next (Accept that is when they forget they’re in a Tin Box and try and squeeze down a narrow white line… Moi? Whoops… ;O) )

    Driving/Riding is ALL about concentration and awareness, if you were surprised and unable to deal with a situation without crashing, you just weren’t concentrating enough.

    NB. Never be nice to BMW Drivers…. (Have I said that already? :O) )

  2. Lisa

    I agree completely. I was thinking about this in my class yesterday. 25% of all accidents are caused from being distracted. On a motorcycle, there are no distractions. There is just the road and watching out for the tin boxes.

    This is part of why I say “I feel so much safer” on a bike. Naturally, there is not the surrounding metal or seatbelt to protect me, but as far as “being aware of what is going on”.. it’s increased 10-fold.

    Have to make sure no one scratches up the “pretty bike”, right? (or me, for that matter!) 🙂

  3. gemmak

    Hitting a deer….done that, not good, killed the car but not the deer!!!

    Glad it was usefull even if it only reminds us of the things we used to know before we’got used’ to driving!

  4. cady

    i’m glad you got some good info out of it. you’re right…we should all have to review info like that because we tend to forget things or become too complacent in our driving. i know i multi-task when i’m driving, and i really shouldn’t do that.

    btw, can i have the password for your protected posts?


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