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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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At Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA], we attend important road safety conferences in various countries to help keep ourselves as well-informed as possible regarding the latest research and developments in this complex, rapidly-changing field.
Even for the countries with the world’s safest roads, such as long-term, global leaders Sweden and Britain, the Vision Zero goal of having absolutely no deaths each year is a massive challenge, but — as the old saying goes — narrowly missing a difficult target is far better than achieving an easy one.
In 2007, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published an excellent book which since then has been one of our key “go to” resources for valuable guidelines. Its title was: Improving Traffic Safety Culture in the United States — The Journey Forward [See footnote for a relevant excerpt].
There can be no doubt that geographical, political, socio-economic and — importantly — workplace aspects of culture have a major influence on road safety, and this can be seen not only from one country to another but often from region to region within a country.
Equally, there can be no doubt that traffic safety interventions which fail to consider and adapt to relevant aspects of local cultures are commonly doomed to failure.
In the latest edition of what is undoubtedly the most comprehensive international summary of global road safety each year, the mission statement for the USA is: ‘Dedicated to achieving the highest standards of excellence in motor vehicle safety and reducing deaths, injuries and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes.’ However, as the following figures and references will show, this stated goal may be true regarding the intent but actual U.S. outcomes over recent decades have been a very long way indeed from any “highest standards of excellence.”
That aspect, however, is not the theme of this write-up. Instead, I will focus on the Tesla being driven normally, with the minimum of automated features and with maximum smoothness for the chauffeur context plus, of course, maximum regard for driving safely
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).
Over the past 12 years, Advanced Drivers of North America has carried out driver safety training throughout the Pacific North West, including six cities (each for different corporate clients) in Washington, from the Tri-Cities in the south-east of the state to Bellingham in the north-west, and of course Seattle.
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.
At ADoNA, we have had the privilege of being quoted and mentioned in newspapers and on news programs around the world, and it’s always a pleasure. On this occasion, however, we have found a Canadian article from three years ago (July 2014), in Toronto’s Globe and Mail, which uses our data to open the piece, and we didn’t even know about it until now.
Presumably quoting from the earlier version of our now completely re-written website, the article starts:
For over ten years, Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA] has been teaching the important fact that official “overall stopping distances” for cars have been inaccurate and needed to be treated as being significantly longer than previously thought. Now, at last, our own calculations have been proven appropriate and extremely accurate.