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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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
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.
Training drivers to have the insight to avoid emergency situations, not the skills to overcome emergency situations
Emergency situations are situations that require immediate action to regain control over the vehicle and/or that require immediate action to avoid a crash. Driver training that aims to enhance the skills to regain control in emergency situations such as skid training, evasive swerving and emergency lane changes has proven not to be effective. Moreover, there is a plenitude of evidence that crisis evasion courses can actually increase crash rates. However, driver training that aims to enhance risk-‐ awareness, self-‐awareness and the acceptance of low levels of risk can reduce the crash rates of young novice drivers. As driving is predominantly a self‐paced task, technically skilful drivers are not necessarily also safe drivers. A not too technically skilful driver (i.e. a driver who has moderate vehicle handling skills) who does not overestimate his or her capabilities and/or does not underestimate the risks, drives safer than a skilful driver who overestimates his or her capabilities and/or underestimates the risks.
The Driver Behaviour, Education, and Training Subcommittee has declared that training programs aimed at enhancing the skills to regain control in emergency situations should not be included in basic driver education or in advanced driver training programs; because, the learned skills in such training programs erode quickly, and such training programs result in more risk taking due to overconfidence. Basic driver education and advanced driver training should be aimed at improving the calibration skills of learner drivers and novice drivers. Well‐calibrated drivers can detect latent hazards in traffic situations, do not underestimate the likelihood that these hazards will cause their adverse effects (i.e. they are aware of the risks), and do not overestimate their own skills (i.e. they are aware of their own limitations).