Safe Driving Skills – Do You Have What it Takes?
Safe driving takes a lot of talent! Many times we take this for granted and treat driving as habit. In actuality, safe driving requires you to do several things at once and to be continuously aware of your surroundings. Here are some driving and observational skills needed for everyday driving:
- Assumptions – The fact that a large proportion of motor vehicle crashes occur within 25 miles of the driver’s home brings to light the fact that familiarity breeds complacency, especially when we are comfortable with our surroundings.
- Depth perception – You need good vision and an ability to accurately judge the speed and distance of approaching traffic and other roadway hazards. Knowing how fast your vehicle can negotiate tight corners on different types of roadways, and in varying weather conditions, minimizes your chances of crashing.
- Experience – New drivers lack the ability to divide their attention between control and safety functions. New drivers have a tendency to underestimate reaction time and braking distance.
- External distractions – Many rear-end and multi-car crashes occur when a rubber-necking driver becomes distracted by a roadway collision or rescue equipment in the opposite lane. A lapse of attention will remove concentration from the driving task.
- High standard of alertness – Senses impaired by alcohol, anger, drugs (prescription or illegal), fatigue, or illness reduces alertness and results in poor driving judgment.
- In-car distractions – Whenever you are driving a vehicle and your attention is not on the road, you’re putting yourself, your passengers, other vehicles, and pedestrians in danger.
- Vehicle characteristics – Looking away from the road ahead to find or operate controls in an unfamiliar vehicle while driving can seriously limit the reaction time available to avoid an unexpected roadway hazard. Take a minute to carefully note where all the important instruments and vehicle control systems are located prior to operating any unfamiliar vehicle. Make sure the rear and side view mirrors are properly adjusted, your seat and steering wheel settings are comfortable, and the climate control settings are appropriate for current conditions.
- Visual capability – Uncorrected defective eyesight restricts the ability for drivers to make satisfactory distance judgments. Darkness and inclement weather can aggravate poor vision capabilities as well. Excellent reflexes and good driving skills are of little use if our eyesight is poor.