Driver Safety 101

11 December 2015 - By Eugene Herbert

Hi
Folks…


This,
our penultimate newsletter for 2015, is intended to give a slightly different
perspective to driving tips - so prevalent at this time of the year.
Rather see this as an opportunity to implement behavioural changes which
should stay with us long beyond the festive season


Safe Driving Tips


1.
Perform a 360-degree scan.
This scan includes looking behind as well as to the
right and left. Scanning helps to establish, if confronted by an intersection
opportunist – hijacker / smash and grab artist -   an escape route if
needed. Besides which a driver who is distracted or under the influence could
well not have seen the traffic as closed.


When
driving down a suburban street, use peripheral vision to scan door to door /
driveway to driveway. A child or pet could suddenly run out into the street.


2.
Check mirrors every 5 to 8 seconds
. When going 100 km per hour on a
highway, you travel approx.  the length of a rugby field every three
seconds.


A
split second of extra time could be what’s needed in order to avoid a
collision. Checking the mirrors can also help avoid reversing collisions, one
of the most common collisions in parking areas.


3.
Don’t depend on the ‘reversing’ camera or park distance control.
A
vehicle’s camera should be used as a supplement when driving, especially since
the camera can give a bit of a distorted view.


Rather
choose   to look over your left shoulder and look through a vehicle’s
back window. If the view is obscured, you need to use the side mirrors rather
than just relying on the camera.


4.
Hands need to be at 9 and 3 on the steering wheel
. Over the years
the “10 and 2” steering wheel rule has changed to “9 and 3.” Holding hands at a
9 and 3 position provides a better steering radius and additionally gives more
room for the airbag to deploy effectively.


When
turning, avoid reaching inside the wheel using an underhand grip. A driver’s
arm or hand could be severely injured if one gets into a collision and the
airbag deploys.


5.
When steering around something maintain a steady speed.  
Don’t
hit the accelerator or brake pedal when steering around an object. The last
thing a driver wants to do is increase speed, as the vehicle could be in an
“unbalanced” position.


Research
in the US indicates that a driver is five times more likely to avoid a
collision with something by steering around it rather than trying to stop. This
means a driver can turn to avoid an object five times faster than trying to
stop before hitting it.


6.
After going around an obstacle, get steering back to zero

To help recover your steering, it’s important to get your steering centered as
soon as possible as one wants your vehicle’s tires flat and straight on the
road surface.


7.
Don’t pump ABS enabled brakes
. A driver should avoid pumping as
the system is designed to do the braking while allowing the vehicle to be
steered. Hard, direct braking, will ensure the ABS equipped vehicle will stop
as quickly and safely as possible


8.
Avoid two-foot braking.
 Sounds cool when rally drivers talk
of doing it but don’t! This obviously applies more to auto boxes and means
the driver needs to keep their left foot on the floor board. If   the
driver has both feet up, all of the body weight can be thrown forward onto the
pedals which means the driver can’t control the brake pressure properly.


9.
Look at what’s ahead.
Instead of looking at a turn, concentrate on what’s
ahead -  look through the turn and determine what will impact on one after
the turn has been negotiated.   Remember the hands will follow the
eyes, making the follow through more controlled and natural.


Think
of when a driver looks toward an object on the road such as a guard rail, they
will start to steer toward the object with an inevitable crash to follow. This
will be avoided by looking ahead.


10.
Continue driver training courses on a regular basis
. To keep road
safety at the forefront, companies need to consistently demonstrate the
importance of safe driving. This doesn’t have to be an expensive effort to
reinforce safe driver techniques, rather consistent and applied enforcement.


Remember,
once off interventions may make a difference but, to be most effective regular
training and constant measuring same will bring about behavioural changes
resulting in improved productivity, reduced costs and safer personnel.


While
these may not be “rocket science” to many readers they do merit a second
thought and are worth sharing with fellow drivers.


Remember
- Drive Safe and be prepared to change age old habits if needed.


Eugene
Herbert



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