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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Puzzling or Inaccurate Road Signs: No.1

Unclear or inaccurate traffic signs, road signs, pavement markings or road markings — call them what you prefer — can cause confusion or even danger.

Here’s one from Colorado, photographed in May 2018, but what exactly does it mean?

Photograph of a road sign that reads: "In case of flood climb to safety."
Confusing traffic signs: What exactly does this mean? Climb onto the roof of your car? Somehow try to get to a tree and assuming you are young, strong and nimble, climb that? Swim for the nearest hillside? The ONLY safe message in relation to road vehicles is do not drive into water that is covering the road and is either flowing or may be deeper than it looks. (Copyright image, 2018.)

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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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Around 3,000 Americans are Killed by Vehicles Each Year just on Parking Lots, Driveways and Private Roads

According to the National Safety Council [NSC], the number of people killed in the USA during 2017 in road accidents once again exceeded 40,000, following major increases in such deaths during the years since the end of the financial recession.

Aerial view of cars and pedestrians in a parking lot.
People innocently walking across a parking lot, oblivious to risk, yet several vehicles are unsafely parked — nose inwards, rather than backing into the slot and parking nose-outwards — just one thing that increases the risk, especially when children are around. (Copyright image.)

A year ago, the NSC estimated that the 2016 death toll was about 3,000 fatalities more than the eventual official figure of 37,461 which was subsequently issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA], however the NSC explain this apparent discrepancy with the fact that ‘the government counts only deaths on public roads, while the council includes parking lots, driveways and private roads.’

In other words, about 3,000 “additional” people — an average of eight per day — are killed each year in vehicular crashes but do not qualify for inclusion in the official statistics, yet this is an additional eight percent and a lot of those killed in such circumstances are children.  The fact that these incidents involve deaths on parking lots and private driveways serves to illustrate the true level of dangers in places than many people unthinkingly tend to dismiss as being low-risk locations, but that is clearly not the case.

As always, our ADoNA defensive and advanced safe driving courses include research-based, best-practise methods to help your corporate drivers or chauffeurs stay safe and protect other people in relevant locations.

You can read the full article, from USA Today, regarding the NSC estimate for 2017 road deaths.

Motorcyclists Drive Distracted, Too!

Don’t assume that drivers and some pedestrians are the only ones who dangerously use cell phones on the roads.  As you can see, this young rider has his left hand off the handlebars and although this bit can’t be see from the angle of the photograph, it did very much look like he had a cell phone in his hand as he went past.  And that’s not as unusual as you might think.

Photo of a motorcyclist with one hand off the handlebars, apparently holding a cell phone in a viewable position, in that hand.
A young motorcyclist, possibly tired of life, who appeared to have a cell phone in his left hand as he rode past us at speed, on our right hand side. Photo taken from the passenger seat. (Copyright image.)

Save crash-related costs by getting your employees properly trained on how best to protect themselves from other people driving badly (and from their own, potentially unrecognized errors, too).  Get details of our corporate defensive and advanced safe driving courses, then contact us from that page with any questions you might have.

Driving Dangers on Big Bridges

On sunny days, or at dawn & sunset, big road bridges can often look very attractive, but when the weather takes a turn for the worse, they can create significant dangers for the unwary driver.

News has just been published today that a truck driver has been killed after high winds apparently pushed his vehicle through the safety fence on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Tragically the driver lost his life.

This is particularly saddening for me as I went over that bridge, in mildly bad but contrarily beautiful weather, just a few weeks ago while instructing on an advanced driving course in Maryland and Delaware.

Thin fog as we drove eastwards across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
The relatively thin morning fog that we met when driving eastwards over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was misleading. It had been much thicker and potentially more dangerous only a few minutes earlier. (Copyright image.)

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Additional Photos, Bronze Advanced Driving Course, MA, USA

This page is a continuation of the images from Good Observations for Safe Driving (with Photographs)

There’s clearly a constant need to be ready for the actions of a reckless or thoughtless driver making an incursion onto the wrong side of the road.   Copyright image.
The situation from the photograph above this one, can swiftly develop into a potentially dangerous scenario.   Copyright image.
When sightlines are restricted, extra care is needed in looking for Vulnerable Road Users [VRU] such as cyclists or pedestrians who can easily be obscured by vehicles, structures or even other, nearby pedestrians who are standing in a line-of-sight.   Copyright image.
This bicyclist is sensible enough to be wearing suitable, bright clothing and a helmet but could still easily be obscured from view at a critical moment, behind a vehicle.   Copyright image.
Jay-walkers don’t make life any easier, either!   Copyright image.
And speaking of large vehicles (two photographs up), when buying a new vehicle please do have a think about how “friendly” it would be to any Vulnerable Road Users [VRU] who might be hit by it. Vehicles that are built like battering rams are very “unfriendly” towards VRUs. It is, however, now possible to find vehicles that take this aspect of other people’s vulnerability into account in their design. Copyright image.
Something that still worries many American drivers — because, to put it simply, the official advice they’ve been given so far is terrible, to say the least — roundabouts remain an issue. However, on ADoNA courses your people will be taught global best-practise techniques that have been developed over almost 60 years, to give greater safety and confidence.   Copyright image.
And, as always, we teach the most reliable observations and systematic approach for all situations, whether routine or less usual, such as the imminent intersection depicted by this sign (and, of course, driving straight through it without taking any safety precautions might be the common failure of many drivers but is emphatically not the safest option).   Copyright image.

If you have any questions or wish to book safe driver training for your team, please contact us via our Courses page.

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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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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