The Institute 4 Traffic Safety

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    Introduction to the "American Drivers Team" from AD4S

    Content Sample from: ” Strategic Driving 4 Seniors: Survival Skills, Strategies and Knowledge.”

    Welcome to the “American Drivers Team”

    Whether you realize it or not, every time you sit behind the steering wheel and roll onto the roadway, you become part of a team, the “American Drivers Team”. In college, my professors and textbooks called this organization of drivers/vehicles/roadways the “Highway Transportation System”; how boring! So, to make it relevant to you readers, who typically have an interest in sports, I created an appropriate driving/sporting name. One that all drivers will (eventually) recognize and behave as proud, responsible members; the American Drivers Team! As individual members, we care both about ourselves and the overall team goal of safe, efficient movement of goods and services. And there’s room for personal improvement as you’ll discover reading forward. The placement and control of your vehicle affects others. You want to stay out of their way, just as you want others not to slow your travels. Each individual on the team contributes to the safety enjoyment and efficiency while traveling to and from destinations. The “golden rule” is to treat others as you want to be treated. This is done whenever you make adjustments that make driving easier and safer for others. Others depend on you, and you depend on them. Throughout these chapters ideas on becoming a skilled member of the team will be presented. Let’s talk about how this works in the real world.

    Is Good Driving Difficult?

    Perhaps, but whether it’s hard, or easy, you’re right. Fortunately, it is absolutely attainable by almost everyone who desires improvement. I don’t believe it is particularly hard to be a good driver. It can be learned and performed by virtually anyone who works at it. These skills and abilities will be discussed in upcoming chapters. Some will find learning these skills and abilities easier than others. Presented herein is information to develop attitudes, knowledge and techniques to master many of the challenges and specific situations faced on today’s roadways. Driving is both a physical and mental activity. The physical aspects of street driving do not require any significant athletic ability, merely the use of arms and legs to operate the vehicle controls. For others, mechanical and/or prosthetic devices may be required. Mental aspects require maximum attentiveness to the environment and situation ahead, as well as (to a lesser degree) the side and rear-view mirrors, proximity sensors and/or camera display(s). Some useful ideas, tips and skills will be suggested. With practice, they will become more natural and integrated into your driving behaviors, requiring less mental energy for routine use. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. Laws provide some encouragement for good behavior, but an internal desire to learn and take personal pride is the aspect which primarily determines how any individual controls their vehicle.

    Advantageous Driving 4 Seniors

    3

    Awareness Brings Responsibilities

    As a team member, seek to be conscientious and continually attempt to make life easier and safer for other road users. This starts with courtesy and communication. Signal every lateral (sideways) move. Also, always move far sideways out of traffic when preparing for your turn; whether into the center median (yes, across painted lines) or onto the shoulder. Such behavior will make space available for others to continue moving easily, while you complete your turn. It is especially helpful to everyone during low traction conditions! When you communicate your intentions on the road, others can help you and will appreciate your respect for them. Since our roads are made for everyone’s use, we need to be attentive while traveling to our destination. Naturally, communication is one side of the situation, but we need to help in other ways with courteous actions to best accomplish everyone’s goals. For example, adjusting speed or lane position can provide space for a team member’s escape from their ending lane. Also, when another driver helps you, wave your hand in appreciation! Don’t let any good deed go unrecognized. When someone provides a break between vehicles, always give them a pleasant acknowledgement for their good behavior. Or, sometimes you’ll notice a vehicle with a burned out brake light. If you manage to stop next to them at a traffic light lower your window, tap the horn to get their attention, and advise them of their bulb problem. Invariably they’ll thank you.

    Incremental Skill Improvements

    You’ve already got a lot of experience, so this information cannot, and probably should not, radically change your behavior. However, by carefully reading, and thinking about some of these ideas, you can add an incremental improvement, or two. Typical driving is made up of thousands of such decisions. I hope you’ll find a few new meaningful, relevant ideas and, integrate them while progressing down your roadways.

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