Vehicles can even cause harm if left on totally flat ground without a parking brake in use, if they are hit by another vehicle. Think of billiard balls. Your car’s “P” setting will be smashed by any hard impact and your car will careen away until it runs out of momentum or it hits something or somebody.
The humble parking brake is one of the most misunderstood and most abused safety controls found in modern vehicles, and this failure to understand and the resultant failure to actually use parking brakes leads to many pointless and preventable crashes, some of which cost lives.
Do not drive on the shoulder! It’s a state law in many states but we have yet to encounter any Federal agency or state government in America that actually teaches this subject well… meaning for best safety!
Sometimes, permanent traffic signs almost seem to be designed to be ignored (and therefore lose much of their safety value at relevant times). One classic example of this, in the lower 48 states of the USA, might be the very common signs stating ‘Road Subject to Ice,’ but in a late July heatwave it’s a pretty safe bet they don’t mean ‘right now!’
Despite recent new laws in several American states, which stipulate a three-foot gap as being enough space when passing cyclists, there are multiple circumstances in which passing that closely is both inadequate and dangerous.
It is too easy for so-called experts to claim that only four or five key problems cause the majority of road crashes. That claim is indeed true — and of course we teach trainees all about those issues — but to act as though these are the only dangers that drivers will ever face is incompetent and is asking for trouble. There are many seemingly minor problems that collectively still cause hundreds of thousands of crashes and far too many deaths and injuries in the USA every year. In whatever training time we have available to us, we teach our trainees how to comprehend and deal with many of these additional dangers, too.
In our fifteen years of operating in the field of safe driving, here in the USA, we have never seen any significant data on the dangers caused by tire failures or blow-outs, and yet there can be no doubt that, every year, many Americans are killed or severely injured by these events.
In developed countries around the world, it has long been known that rural roads are the location for far more deaths, measured against the total miles driven, than any other type of road or highway. And this is equally true in the U.S.A.
“Twenty-five percent of America’s road miles are driven on rural roads but this results, very disproportionately, in around fifty percent of all U.S. roadway fatalities.” — Eddie Wren, ADoNA.
There are several contributory reasons for this very serious situation:
A law suit was settled last week in death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin, who was crushed when his own SUV rolled on a slope and pinned him against the mailbox he was checking.
Sadly, however, deaths like this where a vehicle rolls away despite having ostensibly been left in ‘Park’ are all too common and actually have a lot to do with the endemic incompetence of the majority of people who write state drivers manuals throughout the USA and yet have little-to-zero expertise in the subject of best-practise safe driving.
The incidents which generations of people have grown up calling “road accidents” or “highway accidents” are wrongly named — they need to be referred to as crashes or collisions — but if this sounds like nothing more than silly word-play and semantics to you, read on, because there is a very important reason behind it.