Deer Involvement in Animal-Strike Collisions on U.S. Roads and Highways

Over the past twelve years, Advanced Drivers of North America has had the privilege of working in rural areas in most American states, training into the thousands of drivers at various agricultural and agro-chemical corporations — people who typically have been born and raised in such areas and who are very conversant indeed with country living and with nature.

Photo of a small deer lying dead beside an interstate highway.
Even a relatively small individual like this white-tail is far from funny to hit at high speed in a sedan. Especially at night, the shock to the driver can be enough to trigger a much more serious outcome than the unfortunate deer alone created. Copyright image.

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Advanced Driving Courses in Washington State

Over the past 12 years, Advanced Drivers of North America has carried out driver safety training for various valued clients in the Pacific North West.

An aerial view of Seattle
A wonderful view of the city of Seattle, as I flew in on August 12, 2017, and like all cities, the sort of place we can use interesting challenges and install a much better understanding of safe driving, especially on Advanced Drivers of North America’s “Silver” and “Gold” courses. Copyright image.

My own first visit to Washington was to carry out training for a client in the somewhat quieter south-eastern corner of the State:  the “Tri-Cities” of Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco, to be precise.

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Naïve or Inaccurate Claims about Highway Safety Improvements do More Harm than Good

Claims that this-or-that highway safety program or this-or-that new idea has had a profound effect on road deaths are commonly very misleading, and a new claim from Alabama undoubtedly comes into this category.
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Two Critical USDOT / NHTSA Statistics Identify a Very Bad Situation in American Highway Safety

Perhaps 6-8 years ago, the US DOT and NHTSA published a statistic online that identified a thoroughly horrifying situation.  Put simply, it said that the chances for every young person in the USA being involved in a serious-injury or fatal road crash at some point in their life is an astonishingly-high “fifty-fifty.”  At that time, I looked at my four American step-daughters and wondered which two — statistically speaking — it might be.  That statistic, however, very swiftly disappeared off the Internet.

Now, however, I also have six American grandchildren, and just today — August 11, 2017 — another statistic has been published on Facebook by NHTSA which very effectively renews my concerns.  It said exactly this:

NHTSA 1 hrThe chance of being in an alcohol-impaired crash is one in three over the course of a lifetime. #BuzzedDriving 
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Photograph of the scene of a fatal road crash in the USA.
A fatal road traffic crash (not “accident”) which I came across by chance on my travels in the USA. Copyright image.

The State With the Deadliest Traffic in America Admits its High-Speed Streets Have to Change

Linked here is is a very well-written post from StreetsblogUSA, and in huge contrast to almost everything written in the USA about traffic safety, it starts off very responsibly and accurately, with:

In the last few years, the traffic fatality rate in America has risen alarmingly high, wiping out a decade of progress and widening what was already an enormous gap between the U.S. and peer nations like the UK, Japan, and Germany…”

Photograph of the intersection between Pennsylvania Ave. and 16th Street, Miami Beach, Florida.
Pennsylvania Ave. and 16th Street, Miami Beach, Florida. Photo: Wiki Commons

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Passengers Putting Their Feet on the Dash then Being Injured or Killed by the Airbags

This is something that many people have neither heard of nor even thought about.  When the front airbags are triggered, which can  happen because of a mere bump to the vehicle at speeds as low as 12mph, those airbags emerge and inflate at between 165 and 200mph.  They are most certainly not nice fluffy cushions, and if you have one or both of your feet up on the dashboard at the time, the results will be serious and can even kill you.

Photo of a young woman riding as a passenger with her feet up on the vehicle's dash but even a 12mph bump can trigger the airbags and if they go off, you WILL be badly hurt.
Many people ride as passengers with their feet up on the vehicle’s dash.  Do you?  Sadly, it’s a very common sight on America’s highways, but even just a 12mph bump to the front of your vehicle can trigger the airbags and if they go off,  you WILL be badly hurt or killed.  Copyright image.

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An Insight into the Vital Subject of Good Observations when Driving

The latest “THINK!” advert gives a small but important insight into the proper use of observations when driving.

Far too many drivers simply gaze ahead of their vehicle while driving  without actually noticing everything they should and being alert to all the things that potentially could go wrong.  Worse than that, many drivers literally do just gaze at the back of the vehicle they are following, reliant on the brake lights of that lead vehicle to trigger a response in themselves.  But either way, drivers who do these things are throwing away a lot of safety.

Photograph of an urban road with multiple dangers such as pedestrians, cyclists, static cars with their doors open, etc.
The speed limit sign is not the only thing that needs to be seen when you are driving! This image is from the “THINK!” campaign in Britain but applies in every country.

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The Enormous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is Happening Now in South Dakota

As many as 600,000 bikers are expected for this year’s rally.  Public safety officials are asking everyone to stay alert and reminding other motorists to  wear seat belts.

Photo of a staggered group of motorcyclists.
A small, staggered ‘platoon’ of motorcyclists.   Copyright image.

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Autonomous Vehicles? Traffic Signs can be Hacked!

According to Autoblog, university researchers “have figured out how to hack self-driving cars by putting stickers on street signs.”

Photo of a stop sign, showing digital markings designed to mislead an autonomous vehicle.
A “hacked” stop sign. Read all about this potentially dangerous development at https://www.autoblog.com/2017/08/04/self-driving-car-sign-hack-stickers/

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Lane-splitting on Motorcycles — Legal or Illegal in Washington State?

People differ on whether lane splitting on motorcycles should be legal or not, but this technique — as with, for example, permitting “right turns on red” at traffic lights — has more to do with the convenience of drivers or riders than it does with best safety standards. In any event, whatever your stance on the subject, it is NOT legal in Washington State.

Photo of two motorcyclists that are 'lane-splitting' on a highway by being between larger vehicles in adjoining lanes.
Two of the motorcyclists in this photo are participating ‘lane-splitting’ by being sandwiched between larger vehicles in adjoining  lanes — the orange bike and the one furthest from the camera.  Car and truck drivers are just as responsible for avoiding this situation as are the bike riders. This photo was taken in Greece but the principle is the same everywhere. Copyright image.

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