Situational Awareness- Situational awareness involves being totally aware of what is happening around you. Understanding how information, events and your own actions will impact your goals and objectives. Lacking situational awareness has been identified as one of the primary factors in collisions involving human error.
Space cushion driving- Allowing space around all four sides of your vehicle. Never allow yourself to get boxed in. Always stager the position of your car within your lane, in relation with other cars in the lane next to you. This will allow you an escape path in order to avoid any hazard that happens to appear within your sight distance.
Overdriving your headlights- You cannot stop within the distance you can clearly see ahead. Your total stopping distance exceeds the area light by your headlights when you first apply the brakes. Simply put, your driving too fast at night.
Example: at 60 miles per hour, it takes 300+ feet to stop a car in a normal manner.
Your headlights only light up approximately 250 feet of the roadway ahead of you.
Degree of visibility- The widening angle of sight one can see as one approaches an intersection. As you arrive at the intersection, you can finally see down the side roads in an unobstructed manner. Therefore, you must moderate your speed, until your sight distance down the side roads widens and you can confirm that is it safe to proceed.
Safe following distances- There are two general rules to this.
First, One car length for every ten miles per hour your speed. Visualize the length of a car and multiply it by every ten miles per hour your speed, to determine your following distance.
The second is, the 2-3 second rule. Wait for the car in front of you to pass an object such as a telephone pole. Then count one thousand one, one thousand two. If you reach that same pole before the 2-3 second limit…you are following too close.
Distractions- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there are three main types of driving distractions.
- Visual - Distractions that involve taking your eyes off the road.
- Manual - Distractions that involve taking your hands off the steering wheel.
- Cognitive - Distractions that take your mind off of the task at hand, driving.
Across all ages, driver inattention is the main cause of collisions. Nearly 80% of all collisions and 65% of near collisions involved driver inattention caused by a distraction within three seconds of the event.
Force of impact- Do you know that in a collision or sudden stop, your body weight is multiplied by the speed of the vehicle? A person weighing 105 pounds (not wearing a safety belt) in an impact at 40M.P.H. will strike the vehicle’s surfaces or objects outside the vehicle with a force of 4200 pounds. Please wear your safety belts.