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.) 

Courses

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Semi-autonomous Cars — An Advanced Driving Course for Chauffeurs in their Employer’s Tesla

Given that at Advanced Drivers of North America [ADoNA] we teach defensive and advanced driving, the use of assistance features which reduce the tasks and sadly also the concentration of drivers is not a key area for us.  (How new safety technology might actually be making our driving worse.)

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

A Tesla S that we used on an ADoNA advanced driving "safety and smoothness" course for chauffeurs, looking good in a color that's close to the famed "British Racing Green."
The Tesla Model S 85 used on an advanced driving “safety and smoothness” course for chauffeurs, looking good in a color that’s close to the famed “British Racing Green”. (Copyright image)

Continue reading “Semi-autonomous Cars — An Advanced Driving Course for Chauffeurs in their Employer’s Tesla”

Advanced Driving Courses in Washington State

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.

An aerial view of Seattle
A wonderful view of the city of Seattle, as I flew in on August 12, 2017, and like all cities, the sort of place we can use interesting challenges and instill a much better understanding of safe driving, especially on Advanced Drivers of North America’s “Silver” and “Gold” courses.   Copyright image.

Continue reading “Advanced Driving Courses in Washington State”

Teaching Drivers How to Get Out of a Skid or do an Evasive Swerve Can Result in More Crashes Afterwards, Not Fewer!

Research paper:

Training drivers to have the insight to avoid emergency situations, not the skills to overcome emergency situations

Executive Summary

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).

The full paper is available here as a pdf:

2014 – IRF-DBET-SC-Endorsement-Driver-Training-11-07-2013 (1)

Citation:

Vlakveld, W. & Wren, E. (2014)  Training drivers to have the insight to avoid emergency situations, not the skills to overcome emergency situations.   International Road Federation (IRF), Washington, DC.

Corresponding author: Dr Willem Vlakveld, at SWOV.

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See also: When Extra Driving Courses Are a Bad Idea (first posted in 2005)