Advanced Driving Course in Texas – Photo Gallery

A three-day ‘Bronze Advanced Driving Course’ for a Fortune-100 corporation in Texas, last week, turned up an excellent variety of roads and circumstances to help us discuss many of the 300-plus safety topics we cover at Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA], in our enhanced-safety curriculum for corporate and professional drivers.

Great confusion was caused by two construction zone trucks displaying “move to the right” arrows, above, when they pulled over across all three lanes to the right-side shoulder and stopped, but made all of those lane changes with the arrows still flashing, so several vehicles followed them!  As always, this photo was taken from a totally safe distance, with a long lens. (Copyright image, 2018.)

All of the safety topics touched upon in this post are things which we discuss in detail with existing and prospective clients, initially in respect of fourteen key areas and later in much greater detail.

Despite the opening photograph, above, the weather was deceptively wonderful at the start of the course, but it went from this through heavy rain, to ice warnings, all of which added to the variety of topics and safety issues we could cover.  Best-quality driver safety training emphatically can not be adequately covered by briefly teaching just a half-dozen topics — one need only look at high-quality statistical analyses of crashes to realize this.  (Copyright image, 2018.)

Pedestrian safety — along with the well-being of all other “vulnerable road users” [VRU] — always features strongly in our various courses, not only because at present a grossly-excessive 6,000 pedestrians are being killed each year on the roads of the USA, often due in part to inadequate safety facilities, but also because as with any at-fault crash, a corporate driver hitting and killing or badly injuring a pedestrian can result in a lawsuit and major financial losses for the corporation, especially if drivers have not been adequately trained for safety.

Approaching Dallas from the south for some driver training work in the busy, downtown area, but naturally we were focussing on the important topics of “lane discipline” and best-practise, safe highway driving in general, on the way there.  (Copyright image, 2018.)

One of the most important features in any driver safety training regime is, of course, the depth of training of its instructors.  This is something we take very seriously indeed at Advanced Drivers of North America, although we know of competitors who train their instructors for only five days, or even just two days, and that’s from scratch — people who up until that point know nothing about truly safe driving other than what they learned while taking their own driving test, often decades previously.

In a nearby city, all sorts of unsafe things were happening in a school zone as the kids were heading for home.  Apart from the driver of the cross-flow sedan, in the foreground clearly not having seen the young lady who was waiting to use the crosswalk, there were other teenagers on the median and jaywalking (see photo), up ahead, and several vehicles made U-turns through gaps in the median.  Insufficient crosswalks on the divided highway was a clear safety issue and something that demands a lot of all the drivers in the vicinity.  (Copyright image, 2018.)

At ADoNA, even our most experienced instructors are never allowed to guess what the answer to any question might be.  Everything we do is research-based whenever that is possible, and failing that it is a combination of global best practices blended appropriately with U.S. safety culture.  Neither of those features work well in isolation.

Something that many people see a few times in their life is a straight line between wet and dry on a road, literally where the edge of a rainstorm passed by, but this was the first time I had seen one where the line coincided with a bridge.  (Copyright image, 2018.)

If you would like some insight into our standards, we suggest that you check out the driver safety resume of our chief instructor and compare it to any individual at any other training supplier in the country.

The very heavy rain soon threw up some serious spray and yet still people drove far too close, despite the fact that their long-range and even medium-range vision had been obliterated and their braking and stopping distances would now be about doubled from that on a dry road.  And many were still tailgating, too!   Once again, this photograph was taken from a safe distance using a long lens.  (Copyright image, 2018.)
As grim as it may be – for which we apologize – this really is what it all boils down to.  Did you know, for example, that in less than the last 30 years alone more than one million Americans have been killed in U.S. road crashes?  Yes – more than a million in just under 30 years!  This poignant white cross was beside one of our DFW-area training routes last week… just one of countless tens of thousands of saddening roadside memorials in the USA.  (Copyright image, 2018.)
Wherever possible, at ADoNA, we incorporate rural roads into our training sessions.  There are multiple reasons for this, which we will happily discuss with potential clients, but one other key point is that more people die on rural roads in the USA than on any other type of road, despite the dramatically lower traffic flows.  (Copyright image, 2018.)
Last but not least — on a tongue-in-cheek note — don’t forget to watch out for dangerous churches…  That is a warning sign, after all!  (Copyright image, 2018.) 

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Safe Driving Courses for People from Other Countries Working in the USA

At Advanced Drivers of North America, we specialize in courses for employees from other countries who are now working in the USA.

Photograph of a moving block / platoon of heavy traffic moving at 35-40mph.
People from other countries often envision this as typical of driving in the USA but that’s not usually the case. (Copyright image, 2018.)

Indeed, some of our instructors, over the years, are immigrants from Europe themselves and we have particular expertise in working with people from drive-on-the-left countries.

Something that has to be remembered about North America, in this context, is that it is vast, with over 4.1 million miles of road – including more than 1.2 million miles that are unpaved ‘gravel roads’ – so those people who drive widely can expect to encounter extremely varied conditions.

One of the things that confuses visitors from overseas when driving in the USA is centre, left-turn-only lanes, and these are also often misused by Americans so they are the scene of a lot of usually minor, damage-only collisions.  They are for use not only by vehicles that are turning left, off a main road but also by vehicles that are turning left from side streets onto a main road.

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Defensive and Advanced Driving Courses in Montreal, Canada

Whether it is due perhaps to long-term rigorous traffic enforcement, to the mandatory driver training for all young drivers, or to a good safety culture in general, drivers in Montreal certainly appear to have a better-than-average attitude towards Vulnerable Road Users [VRU], and in turn, this makes the city a pleasant place for training (or learning) defensive and advanced driving.

Cars in Montreal typically stop well before the stop line at crosswalks, creating greater safety for pedestrians.
As is common in Montreal, the cars in this photograph have stopped well before the crosswalk ‘stop’ line (rather than on it or even after it) which makes things much safer for pedestrians.  (Copyright image, 2018.)

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Work-Related Defensive and Advanced Driving Courses in Cities in the USA and Canada

Most of our requests for the provision of safety training for drivers, whether at defensive or advanced driving levels, relate to city locations throughout the USA and Canada.  This short article is intended to provide some guidance for our corporate clients on how to get the best return from your investment in connection with city-based courses.

Photograph of relatively light traffic on a major road in Seattle, WA.
Relatively light traffic — in this case in Seattle — is naturally easier to deal with for drivers, but average speeds can be higher in these conditions so potential dangers can be a bit different, too. Uniquely,  at ADoNA,  we teach a fully time- and research-proven *system* of driving which allows the widest-possible range of dangers to be safely negotiated,  not just five or six of them.  Please use our CONTACT US link if you would like to request a summary of the basic themes we teach, covering over 300 safety topics.  (Copyright image, 2014.)

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Defensive Driving Courses in Denver and Boulder, Colorado, and the Benefits

Two important things about safe, defensive or advanced driving courses from Advanced Drivers of North America are that (a) we will work anywhere in the USA and Canada, as well the islands on either side of the continent, and (b) you will always get highly-trained instructors, not — to be frank — somebody who has received only a few days of severely inadequate training, themselves.  (And yes, that really does happen.)

Photograph of the gear selector in an automatic car which also facilitates a manual shift approach.
At training locations where we can use hills (the steeper the better) ADoNA will teach your employees how to utilize the gears on either a stick shift or, as in this photo, an automatic vehicle that permits manual ‘lock-down’ into any of the lower gears. At the very least, this approach reduces hard wear and tear on your vehicles and at best it makes going down steep hills in slippery winter conditions much safer. But it has to be done correctly because doing it poorly can actually increase crash risk. (Copyright image, 2018)

All of our behind-the-wheel training, except for any brief but necessary corrections to unsafe steering technique, is done on active roads — the only place where comprehensive training can take place, and where a very wide range of random risk scenarios can be encountered to facilitate an upgrade to relevant techniques for trainees’ future use.

Denver and Boulder are cities in which we have worked many times for several major clients and they are firmly among our favorite cities at which to run courses.  This is for the simple reason that the area offers just about every conceivable type of road challenge, on which we can teach a very wide range of safety considerations and techniques.  This type of variety is most important in developing drivers with a much broader and more effective defense against bad things happening.

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A Defensive Driving Course we Held on Rural Roads in Virginia

Sadly, most Americans have no idea that rural roads are, by a very big margin, the most dangerous roads in the country!

Photo of a semi-tractor-trailer and an agricultural tractor passing each other at a crossroads on a rural road.
‘Rush-hour’ on a rural road!  Well, alright… not quite, but would you expect to meet a semi-tractor-trailer and an agricultural tractor passing each other at a middle-of-nowhere crossroads, on a curve?  (Copyright image, 2018.)

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Good Observations for Safe Driving (with Photographs)

The photographs in this article were taken around a Bronze Advanced Driving course, with Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA], in south east Massachusetts.   They each show typical driving scenes but give only a very small insight into the discussions about the standards of the observations that are essential to effective driver training and to all safe driving.

Photograph taken from a vehicle driving through a small Massacusetts town, showing various potentially hazardous scenarios.
A typical driving scenario in beautiful, small-town America, showing many potential hazards that most drivers sadly get away with ignoring, but each of which, when ignored, can at the very least result in damaged vehicles or something much worse.   Copyright image.

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15th Annual Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws – 2018

The following is the introduction to this important document from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a document which highlights that various state governments around the USA are unacceptably lax in creating laws which could save many thousands of American lives each year :

We Don’t Have to Wait for Fully Autonomous Cars to Stop Needless Deaths and Injuries
Effective and Available Countermeasures Must Be Adopted Now

The 2018 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws marks the 15th annual publication by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates). This report serves as a navigational tool giving guidance on successful measures to reduce preventable motor vehicle deaths, injuries and crash costs. Each day on average, approximately 100 people are killed and 6,500 more are injured on our roadways across the country. Yet, solutions continue to languish or be ignored in state capitals, Congress and at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Photograph of rush-hour highway traffic, Washington D.C.
Rush-hour traffic, Washington D.C. (Copyright image.)

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Defensive Driving Course for Chauffeurs in Las Vegas

Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA] safe driving courses for chauffeurs are designed not only to maximize the safety of these specialist drivers, for the obvious benefit of  their employers or clients, but also to significantly enhance smoothness and finesse (to an extent that always surprises and delights the chauffeurs concerned).

Photograph of traffic on Interstate 515 near Las Vegas.
There is much that can inevitably be taught about the safest, smoothest driving on busy highways. (Copyright image.)

At ADoNA, we work with corporate drivers and chauffeurs throughout the USA, Canada and related islands.
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Nine Danger Signs Concerning Parked Vehicles — Do You Know Them ALL?

Every time you drive past one or more parked vehicles there are nine common safety indicators that should be monitored so that you never end up being involved in a distressing collision that could easily have been avoided.  The worst of these involve children being run over.

Photograph of a person putting something in the trunk / boot of a car, at the roadside.
To be safe drivers, people certainly need to know all of the nine dangers signs to look for when passing parked vehicles — just one of the many comprehensive safety skills taught by Advanced Drivers of North America, Inc. — Copyright image.

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