Advanced Driving Course in Texas – Photo Gallery

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.

Great confusion was caused by two construction zone trucks displaying “move to the right” arrows, above, when they pulled over across all three lanes to the right-side shoulder and stopped, but made all of those lane changes with the arrows still flashing, so several vehicles followed them!  As always, this photo was taken from a totally safe distance, with a long lens. (Copyright image, 2018.)

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.

Despite the opening photograph, above, the weather was deceptively wonderful at the start of the course, but it went from this through heavy rain, to ice warnings, all of which added to the variety of topics and safety issues we could cover.  Best-quality driver safety training emphatically can not be adequately covered by briefly teaching just a half-dozen topics — one need only look at high-quality statistical analyses of crashes to realize this.  (Copyright image, 2018.)

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.

Approaching Dallas from the south for some driver training work in the busy, downtown area, but naturally we were focussing on the important topics of “lane discipline” and best-practise, safe highway driving in general, on the way there.  (Copyright image, 2018.)

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.

In a nearby city, all sorts of unsafe things were happening in a school zone as the kids were heading for home.  Apart from the driver of the cross-flow sedan, in the foreground clearly not having seen the young lady who was waiting to use the crosswalk, there were other teenagers on the median and jaywalking (see photo), up ahead, and several vehicles made U-turns through gaps in the median.  Insufficient crosswalks on the divided highway was a clear safety issue and something that demands a lot of all the drivers in the vicinity.  (Copyright image, 2018.)

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.

Something that many people see a few times in their life is a straight line between wet and dry on a road, literally where the edge of a rainstorm passed by, but this was the first time I had seen one where the line coincided with a bridge.  (Copyright image, 2018.)

If you would like some insight into our standards, we suggest that you check out the driver safety resume of our chief instructor and compare it to any individual at any other training supplier in the country.

The very heavy rain soon threw up some serious spray and yet still people drove far too close, despite the fact that their long-range and even medium-range vision had been obliterated and their braking and stopping distances would now be about doubled from that on a dry road.  And many were still tailgating, too!   Once again, this photograph was taken from a safe distance using a long lens.  (Copyright image, 2018.)
As grim as it may be – for which we apologize – this really is what it all boils down to.  Did you know, for example, that in less than the last 30 years alone more than one million Americans have been killed in U.S. road crashes?  Yes – more than a million in just under 30 years!  This poignant white cross was beside one of our DFW-area training routes last week… just one of countless tens of thousands of saddening roadside memorials in the USA.  (Copyright image, 2018.)
Wherever possible, at ADoNA, we incorporate rural roads into our training sessions.  There are multiple reasons for this, which we will happily discuss with potential clients, but one other key point is that more people die on rural roads in the USA than on any other type of road, despite the dramatically lower traffic flows.  (Copyright image, 2018.)
Last but not least — on a tongue-in-cheek note — don’t forget to watch out for dangerous churches…  That is a warning sign, after all!  (Copyright image, 2018.) 

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Flashback to 2003 – The Astonishing Volvo Safety Concept Car – Still Unmatched

First published in 2003

New Introduction

Back in 2003, Volvo built their utterly remarkable Safety Concept Car [SCC] as a test bed for a huge range of new safety technologies they were then testing, with a view to introducing the most effective and worthwhile into their production cars.  The SCC was demonstrated to the automotive media in the USA on just two days — one on the west coast and one on the east coast — and through our not-for-profit organisation, Drive and Stay Alive, I had the good fortune to be invited to attend the east coast day in Manhattan, to drive it.

In just the 15 years since then, we have gone from talking primarily just about increased safety to a now almost out-of-control rush to have self-driving vehicles before even the semi-autonomous prototypes can be shown to increase rather than decrease safety.

Photograph of the 2003 Volvo Safety Concept Car.
The 2003, $8 Million, Volvo Safety Concept Car [SCC] (Photo: Copyright 2003, Volvo Cars)

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The ‘Culture’ You Come From Can Radically Affect Your Safety on the Road

August 22, 2018

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.

Continue reading “The ‘Culture’ You Come From Can Radically Affect Your Safety on the Road”

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.  Please use our CONTACT US link if you would like to request a summary of the basic themes we teach, covering over 300 safety topics.  (Copyright image, 2014.)

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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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Nine Danger Signs Concerning Parked Vehicles — Do You Know Them ALL?

Every time you drive past one or more parked vehicles there are nine common safety indicators that should be monitored so that you never end up being involved in a distressing collision that could easily have been avoided.  The worst of these involve children being run over.

Photograph of a person putting something in the trunk / boot of a car, at the roadside.
To be safe drivers, people certainly need to know all of the nine dangers signs to look for when passing parked vehicles — just one of the many comprehensive safety skills taught by Advanced Drivers of North America, Inc. — Copyright image.

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A Significant Rise in On-The-Job U.S. Highway Deaths Raises Safety Concerns

According to Bloomberg News: “Roadway accidents are the leading cause of on-the-job deaths in the USA, but the safety issue remains outside the jurisdiction of the nation’s primary workplace safety agency — the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA].”

Photograph looking down on city traffic from high above.
City traffic, but this is by no means the most dangerous place for your employees to drive. We cover all major aspects of defensive driving on our ADoNA courses, not just 5 or 6, and we follow global safety research and best-practices throughout. (Copyright image.)

A particularly worrying aspect of this situation is that between 2011-2015 the number of work-related highway deaths in America increased by 15%, which was five times more than the upturn in the overall number of occupational fatalities (3%), according to Bureau of Labor [BLS] statistics.

During 2015 (i.e. the latest available statistics), according to federal figures, 1,264 workers died in highway crashes. That represents 26 percent of the year’s total work-related deaths of 4,836, and it is therefore the most common cause of worker fatalities.

One thing which is not made clear in the official figures is whether they include or exclude highway deaths which occur while the people concerned are actually commuting to or from work, which — although a very secondary concern to the tragic bereavements — still has financially very damaging overtones for the employers concerned.  However, judging the above figures against those from other developed nations, it is our opinion at Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA] that commuting deaths are definitely not included in the current U.S. data and that in this context the “real” number of deaths is very significantly higher than stated.

In our driver safety training for Fortune 500 client-companies, our training has produced multi-year reductions of 50 percent in fleet crashes and over 80 percent in injuries (based on National Safety Council collision type analysis).  If you would like us to work with your team, with the objective of creating very significant collision reductions, please get in touch via our Courses page.

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Read: Rise in on-the-Job Motor Vehicle Deaths Spurs Safety Concerns, from Bloomberg News.