In Winter some Drivers make Extremely Dangerous Overtakes

One of the biggest contributory causes of serious-injury and fatal road crashes in the USA (and the rest of the world) is speed.

Typically, speeds in excess of the posted limit, or that are within the limit but are inappropriate for the circumstances, are factors in around 28-30 percent of collisions where people are ‘Killed or Seriously Injured’ [KSI].  In American terms, this represents about 11,000 people killed and approaching a million people injured each year  as a direct result of those who drive too fast.

A dangerous driver crazily overtaking our car, despite the terrible visibility and the very slippery road surface conditions.
From our passenger seat, I photographed this dangerous driver crazily overtaking our car, despite the terrible visibility and the very slippery road surface conditions. Copyright photo.
Photograph of huge quantities of snow being thrown up from the wheels of a pick-up truck during a potentially deadly passing maneuver.
The driver of this pick-up truck is doing a homicidal overtake, with a very poor view ahead and on a slippery, snow-covered road, and he is now cutting in dangerously close ahead. The snow coming up from his wheels is about to bury our windshield and almost entirely block our view. (See the next two photographs in the sequence for what happens next)! Copyright image.
This is what you, as a driver, need to be ready for, even when it is just rain and heavy water spray, the impact of the snow and your potential temporary loss of your entire view.
This is what you, as a driver, need to be ready for, even when it is just rain and heavy water spray: the impact of the water or snow and your potential temporary loss of your entire view.  Where’s the pick-up?  (Our view was completely lost a moment after this photo was taken.)  Copyright image.
Moments later, after we had cautiously dropped our speed and the idiot in the driver had pulled ahead of us, the two vehicles coming the other way through the severely-limited visibility came into sight. If they had been just three or four seconds earlier, there would have been bodies in hospital and perhaps in the morgue.
Moments later, after we had cautiously dropped our speed and the idiot driver in the pick-up had pulled ahead of us, the two vehicles coming the other way through the severely-limited visibility came into sight. If they had been just a couple of seconds earlier, there would have been bodies in the hospitals and perhaps in the morgue.   Copyright image.

Clearly then, excessive speed, even when below the posted limit, truly is a killer — big time — despite all of the people who emptily argue that this situation is mere propaganda and is untrue.

If excessive speed is dangerous, and it is, there is still an additional aspect that defies any logic or any excuse, and that is speeding in bad weather.  And for our purposes, bad weather extends to include any situation where visibility is reduced, either through simple low-light or darkness, and also airborne view limitations such as mist, fog, dust, smoke or falling rain and snow, together with any cause of slippery road surfaces.

We hope the photographs that accompany this article give you pause for thought.  The driver of the silver pick-up truck in this incident could very easily have caused the deaths of several people.  All it would have taken was for an oncoming vehicle to loom out of the misty murk at the wrong moment and a collision would have been inescapable.  Was he driving at a speed inappropriate for the circumstances?  You betcha!

Even without a vehicle coming the other way, the pick-up driver caused significant risk to ourselves by unnecessarily throwing a large quantity of snow up onto the windscreen of our car as he passed and then pulled directly in front of us with less than a car length between the vehicles (see more on this aspect), and that alone was unforgivable.

Please don’t ever be ‘that’ driver, and equally importantly, be prepared for the day when you will encounter somebody as incompetent and brainless as this particular pick-up driver was.  Naturally, this involves getting your wipers onto maximum speed — in advance if possible — slowing down promptly but safely (there may be another vehicle close behind, and of course the road is slippery).  Then hold a steady course as you do this and don’t allow the situation to panic you.

Last but by no means least, always, yes always, drive with low beam headlights on, day and night, sunshine or rain, and even in preference to Daytime Running Lights.

Finally, please note that these are general comments and do not amount in any way to specific advice.  Please see our Disclaimer in this context.

 

Defensive Driving Course for Chauffeurs in Las Vegas

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).

Photograph of traffic on Interstate 515 near Las Vegas.
There is much that can inevitably be taught about the safest, smoothest driving on busy highways. (Copyright image.)

At ADoNA, we work with corporate drivers and chauffeurs throughout the USA, Canada and related islands.
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Using Headlights in Bad Weather — Listen to the Truck Drivers!

Despite many years of advice and even laws to change the situation, many people apparently still don’t get it that headlights are not just to help them see where they are going!

Photo showing the serious lack of view in a truck's mirrors during rain.
The lack of view in a truck’s mirrors during rain. Photo courtesy of Ryan Douglas Dorius

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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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An Insight into the Vital Subject of Good Observations when Driving

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.

Photograph of an urban road with multiple dangers such as pedestrians, cyclists, static cars with their doors open, etc.
The speed limit sign is not the only thing that needs to be seen when you are driving! This image is from the “THINK!” campaign in Britain but applies in every country.

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Globe & Mail Article Cites Advanced Drivers of North America and We Didn’t Even Know!

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.

A photo of Advanced Drivers of North America's CEO Eddie Wren at the United Nations in New York City for their General Session on global road safety, April 2012.
Advanced Drivers of North America’s CEO Eddie Wren at the United Nations in New York for their General Session on global road safety, April 2012. (Copyright image.)

Presumably quoting from the earlier version of our now completely re-written website, the article starts:

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What To Do if Your Brakes Fail – Parking Brake Use is Risky!

I’ve been triggered into writing this by an old post on the same topic that I’ve just seen and replied to, on the Allstate Safe Driving Blog.

By no means are all “safe driving” writers always accurate enough!

With no disrespect to Allstate or the writer of the piece, it was clearly written by someone with only a reasonable knowledge of the issue himself, despite having referenced various sources.  I say this because there were a couple of inclusions which are very questionable.

The first of these was about using the “emergency brake” — a highly inappropriate name for the parking brake — to help stop the vehicle, and my response to that point is shown in my reply to Allstate, below.  Having said that, a handbrake is a dramatically safer option that a foot-operated parking brake because, with the button held in, it can be applied much more accurately and released instantaneously without extra risk.

Photo: Some foot-operated parking brakes such as this one lock in the on position when pressed and have to be pressed a second time, and harder, to release them. (Photograph: Nissan)
Some foot-operated parking brakes such as this one (left) lock in the ‘on’ position when pressed and have to be pressed a second time, and harder, to release them. (Photograph: Nissan)

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ADoNA: The Clear Leader in U.S. Driver Safety and Training – a Research Victory

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.

An excellent graphic from Brake showing the old versus new 'overall stopping distances' in which each car length represents 13 feet.
An excellent graphic from Brake showing the old versus new ‘overall stopping distances’ in which each car length represents 13 feet. (New distances shown above old distances, at each speed.)

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Michelin and the FIA Get All 50 States to Standardize Tire Safety Advice in State Drivers’ Manuals, which is No Easy Task

From Car & Driver’s blog, excellent news that “…Michelin and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile [FIA] (Foundation?) have secured commitments from all 50 U.S. states to include consistent tire-maintenance and safety information in their driver education programs.”

There are 51 booklets that can be thought of as state drivers’ manuals in the USA because, apart from the 50 actual states, DC has one, too.  And back in 2006 — dare I say “bravely!” — I read them all and then wrote a research paper on my findings.  It was published by the Society of Automotive Engineers [SAE] at their World Congress, in Detroit, in 2007.  (For the sake of perspective, I will add that to my surprise and great pleasure, my presentation of the paper to a technically very adept audience won me an SAE award for being judged to be in the top five percent of the hundreds of papers presented by their authors at the multi-day event.)

Photo of a Michelin tire
A Michelin Energy MXV4 S8 tire with very shallow tread depth (photo taken in a parking lot).  The image also clearly shows the manufacturing date of this tire:  The 0710 visible bottom left is the standard U.S. display of year (07) and week (10) that this particular batch of tires was made, and this is important to know so that you never unwittingly buy tires that are already too old.

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The Most Popular 5 Posts in the First 8 Weeks of the New ADoNA Website

To help new visitors to this Website save time by seeing just those posts that have gained the most interest, here is the first of what will be a series of periodic lists, and on this occasion these five are from the 71 topics posted so far (use the ‘Archives’ or ‘Categories’ in the right-hand sidebar to view more):

1. It’s Mirror-Signal NOT Signal-Mirror, Despite Bad Advice for 100 Years!

The car with a matched pair of rear, high-intensity fog lights will clearly remain more visible than even cars nearer the camera that have only their regular rear lights to rely upon. Copyright image.

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