Sometimes Road Signs Speak the Truth – 1 (humor)

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!’

Photograph of a school bus driving through floodwater.
The permanently positioned sign on the right reads ‘Water Over Roadway’ and it would seem to be telling the truth at this particular moment in time!  Clearly this is a relatively common event at this location.  (Copyright image, 2017.)

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The USA Must Stop Legislating a Mere 3-foot Gap when Passing Bicyclists

June 29, 2018

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.

Photograph of a car passing a bicycle at a bad location on a mountain curve.
Cyclists are often passed badly by reckless or unthinking drivers, and faster sections of road such as shown here, are definitely a place where passing just three feet from a cyclist, at speed, would be both dangerous and frightening.  (Copyright image, 2012).

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Don’t Hang Stuff from your Rearview Mirror (Unless you want to Cause a Crash!)

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.

Photo of a red tassel hanging from the rearview mirror in a car that is being driven by a person who is also using a hand-held cellphone.
It may *seem* trivial but even small objects like this, hanging from the rearview mirror and swinging around, can trick a driver’s eyes into not noticing a child or a cyclist who just happens to be at that angle to the vehicle (which typically means on a curve or at an intersection). Plenty people have died as a result of this type of seemingly innocent scenario so please take all hanging objects off your rearview mirror. This person is also using a hand-held cellphone while driving, thus making a dangerous incident dramatically more likely.    (Image copyright, 2017.)

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An Accurate Insight into the Danger of Tire Failure

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.

Photpgraph of the front tire on a pick-up truck.
Once a week — yes, week, not month — check the pressure in your tires against the pressures shown on the driver’s door post of your vehicle or in the handbook, NOT the *maximum* pressures shown on the sidewall of the tire itself.  Check the tread and sidewalls for any punctures or cuts, and of course enough tread depth.   (Is that white dot in the tyre tread on this photo just a bit of gravel, or is it the head of an embedded screw or nail?)   Copyright photo, 2018.

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24 Things You Didn’t Know (or Forgot) About Safe Driving on Rural Roads!

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:

Photograph of two roadside memorials, on opposite sides of a rural road, and from two separate crashes.
Not one but two memorials, for two separate crashes on either side of this road at this one location in Illinois. (Photo copyright, 2012.)

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Runaway Vehicle Fatalities Such as the Death of Actor Anton Yelchin are Frequently and Easily Avoidable

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.

Photograph of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin
Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin at The Voice Awards, 2011. (Photograph: Wikimedia Commons)

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Useful Websites in Relation to Speed, Speeding and Fast Driving

This Speed and Speeding page is the first of the resource pages we hope and plan to to develop for our readers’ interest, and each will simply be amended as new information comes available so please check back from time to time to see what’s been added.

The Dangers of Teen Speeding, from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute

Photograph of a Volkswagen car in the left lane on an Interstate highway, that is about to cut in front of our own vehicle far too quickly. The mass of spray thrown up will hit our windscreen in moments.
The bad driver in the white Volkswagen is already far too close behind the motorcycle, especially given the very wet road, and is now in a rush to get into the right-hand lane, ahead of us, in order to speed past the motorcycle on the wrong side. Our driver knew enough to get the wipers on full speed before our windscreen was hit by all the spray coming up from the back wheels of the VW. Copyright image.

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Belief that Speed Doesn’t Cause Crashes is Untrue & Deadly

Many drivers ardently believe that “speeding alone does not actually cause crashes,” but even though the over-simplification contained in that phrase is not totally inaccurate (see below), in real life-and-death terms it is both misleading and deadly…

Photograph of a car passing a 65mph speed limit sign on a highway.
Breaking speed limits in the USA is an endemic issue, something that many drivers even take to be a right — that they can go x-number of miles per hour over the speed limit without getting a ticket. (Copyright image.)

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Poor Visibility Even When Driving in Bright Sunshine (No.1)

The photo below is intended to be the first of several images, over a period, to show that even in bright sunshine, visibility for drivers and other road users can actually be very poor, therefore the best safety can be achieved by driving with low beam headlights on at all times.  (Daytime Running Lights, or DRLs, are as safe as long as they illuminate not only the front lights but also the rear lights too.  See our previous article for details on this important subject.)

Photograph of vehicles obscured from sight even on a beautifulo, sunny day, in this case by salt dust, churned up by the wheels of vehicles.
Despite the beautiful sunshine on this very cold day, visibility was significantly reduced by what can only have been the dust from pulverised road salt that was being thrown up by vehicle wheels. Coming towards the camera, on the other side of this interstate highway, are *five* cars and a semi-tractor-trailer, but cars 3, 4 and 5 — only a couple of hundred yards away and travelling around 100 feet-per-second — would be harder if not impossible to see if not for the fact that all three of those drivers are very wisely using their headlights. Well done, them! Copyright image.

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A Truly Dirty Trick by Too Many Drivers, When Overtaking!

Does any driver enjoy getting a large amount of snow,  dirty water, or — worst of all — salt-filled winter slush thrown up onto their windscreen, temporarily making it hard to see and needing large amounts of windshield washer fluid to clean it away?  It’s a silly question, isn’t it?  It’s obvious that none of us likes that experience, especially as it can at least briefly make things unsafe, through the loss of view, the distraction of rectifying the lost view, and last but by no means least, the fact that the overtaken driver has now been forced into a tailgating scenario (see more about this, below).

Photograph in torrential rain on an interstate, in which the driver ahead of ours had suddenly pulled into our lane, too close ahead and without signalling, but then braked firmly as well. His spray and proximity badly harmed our already poor view and his braking was dangerous.
The driver directly in front of us in this photo dived into our lane, without signalling and far too close for safety, which also drowned our windscreen in his spray. Then, however, he riskily braked quite firmly and forced us to do likewise. Obviously, that is not something a sensible person wishes to do in such terrible traffic conditions. Copyright image.

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