Cruise Control is More Important and More Useful than Most Drivers Realize

What could any experienced driver possibly need to learn about cruise control?  You would be surprised!  Most drivers who attend our courses don’t know all of its benefits, or more importantly all of its possible risks.

The switches for cruise control can look different from one automaker to another but they all cover the same functions. (Copyright image, 2018.)

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Driving Issues the USA Teaches Badly: Pulling Straight Off the Shoulder

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!

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Dangerous Passing in the Early Morning

As we were driving southwards, at the very start of the morning rush hour, this road sweeper went by in the opposite direction, kicking up a cloud of thick dust.

Photo of a pavement sweeper in a long construction zone.
A slow-moving road sweeper — perhaps doing 15-20mph — triggered some drivers to dangerously overtake it illegally, on double yellow lines.  (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.  (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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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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