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wagon r
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:05 pm 
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....2nrs, given the amount and various road deaths we have had over the last few years involving both 2nrs and family/friends of 2nrs, this thread is meant to inform and educate.

This information is free, if you choose to use it or pass it on to others, that is your choice. The life you save maybe your own or someone you love, a stranger or even a fellow 2nr.

All information is supplied by the National Safety Council and the stats are American based, but the driving requirements are the same. Additional information is also sourced from the Institute of Advanced Motorists, from the U.K. and the Advanced Motorist.



Driving Defensively

More than 41,000 people lose their lives in motor vehicle crashes each year and over two million more suffer disabling injuries, according to the National Safety Council.

The triple threat of high speeds, impaired or careless driving and not using occupant restraints threatens every driver—regardless of how careful or how skilled.

Driving defensively means not only taking responsibility for yourself and your actions but also keeping an eye on "the other guy." The National Safety Council suggests the following guidelines to help reduce your risks on the road.

1. Don't start the engine without securing each passenger in the car, including children and pets. Safety belts save thousands of lives each year! Lock all doors.

2. Remember that driving too fast or too slow can increase the likelihood of collisions.

3. Don't kid yourself. If you plan to drink, designate a driver who won't drink. Alcohol is a factor in almost half of all fatal motor vehicle crashes.

4. Be alert! If you notice that a car is straddling the center line, weaving, making wide turns, stopping abruptly or responding slowly to traffic signals, the driver may be impaired.

5. Avoid an impaired driver by turning right at the nearest corner or exiting at the nearest exit. If it appears that an oncoming car is crossing into your lane, pull over to the roadside, sound the horn and flash your lights.

6. Notify the police immediately after seeing a motorist who is driving suspiciously.

7. Follow the rules of the road. Don't contest the "right of way" or try to race another car during a merge. Be respectful of other motorists.

8. Don't follow too closely. Always use a "three-second following distance" or a "three-second plus following distance."

9. While driving, be cautious, aware and responsible.


Last edited by wagon r on Mon Jul 02, 2007 8:45 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:15 pm 
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Driving at Night

Traffic death rates are three times greater at night than during the day, according to the National Safety Council. Yet many of us are unaware of night driving's special hazards or don't know effective ways to deal with them.

Driving at night is more of a challenge than many people think. It's also more dangerous.

Why is night driving so dangerous? One obvious answer is darkness. Ninety percent of a driver's reaction depends on vision, and vision is severely limited at night. Depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision are compromised after sundown.

Older drivers have even greater difficulties seeing at night. A 50-year-old driver may need twice as much light to see as well as a 30-year old.

Another factor adding danger to night driving is fatigue. Drowsiness makes driving more difficult by dulling concentration and slowing reaction time.

Alcohol is a leading factor in fatal traffic crashes, playing a part in about half of all motor vehicle-related deaths. That makes weekend nights more dangerous. More fatal crashes take place on weekend nights than at any other time in the week.

Fortunately, you can take several effective measures to minimize these after-dark dangers by preparing your car and following special guidelines while you drive.

The National Safety Council recommends the following:

1. Prepare your car for night driving. Clean headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows (inside and out) once a week, more often if necessary.

2. Have your headlights properly aimed. Misaimed headlights blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see the road.

3. Don't drink and drive. Not only does alcohol severely impair your driving ability, it also acts as a depressant. Just one drink can induce fatigue.

4. Avoid smoking when you drive. Smoke's nicotine and carbon monoxide hamper night vision.

5. If there is any doubt, turn your headlights on. Lights will not help you see better in early twilight, but they'll make it easier for other drivers to see you. Being seen is as important as seeing.

6. Reduce your speed and increase your following distances. It is more difficult to judge other vehicle's speeds and distances at night.

7. Don't overdrive your headlights. You should be able to stop inside the illuminated area. If you're not, you are creating a blind crash area in front of your vehicle.

8. When following another vehicle, keep your headlights on low beams so you don't blind the driver ahead of you.

9. If an oncoming vehicle doesn't lower beams from high to low, avoid glare by watching the left edge of the road and using it as a steering guide.

10. Make frequent stops for light snacks and exercise. If you're too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.

11. If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible. Warn approaching traffic at once by setting up reflecting triangles near your vehicle and 300 feet behind it. Turn on flashers and the dome light. Stay off the roadway and get passengers away from the area.

12. Observe night driving safety as soon as the sun goes down. Twilight is one of the most difficult times to drive, because your eyes are constantly changing to adapt to the growing darkness.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:18 pm 
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Driving In the Rain

Losing control of your car on wet pavement is a frightening experience. Unfortunately, it can happen unless you take preventive measures.

You can prevent skids by driving slowly and carefully, especially on curves. Steer and brake with a light touch. When you need to stop or slow, do not brake hard or lock the wheels and risk a skid. Maintain mild pressure on the brake pedal.

If you do find yourself in a skid, remain calm, ease your foot off the gas, and carefully steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.

For cars without anti-lock brakes, avoid using your brakes. This procedure, known as "steering into the skid," will bring the back end of your car in line with the front.

If your car has ABS, brake firmly as you "steer into the skid."

While skids on wet pavement may be frightening, hydroplaning is completely nerve-wracking.

Hydroplaning happens when the water in front of your tires builds up faster than your car's weight can push it out of the way. The water pressure causes your car to rise up and slide on a thin layer of water between your tires and the road. At this point, your car can be completely out of contact with the road, and you are in danger of skidding or drifting out of your lane, or even off the road!

To avoid hydroplaning, keep your tires properly inflated, maintain good tread on your tires and replace them when necessary, slow down when roads are wet, and stay away from puddles. Try to drive in the tire tracks left by the cars in front of you.

If you find yourself hydroplaning, do not brake or turn suddenly. This could throw your car into a skid. Ease your foot off the gas until the car slows and you can feel the road again. If you need to brake, do it gently with light pumping actions. If your car has anti-lock brakes, then brake normally; the car's computer will mimic a pumping action, when necessary.

A defensive driver adjusts his or her speed to the wet road conditions in time to avoid having to use any of these measures!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:24 pm 
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Drowsy Driving

Just like drugs or alcohol, sleepiness slows reaction time, decreases awareness, and impairs judgment. Just like drugs or alcohol, it can be fatal when driving.

Death rates based on mileage were 2.3 times higher at night than during the day in 2003.

37% of drivers surveyed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at some point in their driving career.
8% admitted doing so in the past six months
60% admitted falling asleep while driving on an interstate- type highway with posted speeds of 55 MPH or higher.

The drivers at highest risk are: third shift workers, people that drive a substantial number of miles each day, those with unrecognized sleep disorders, and those prescribed medication with sedatives.

Recognize the symptoms of fatigue

. Eyes closing or going out of focus

. Persistent yawning

. Irritability, restlessness, and impatience

. Wandering or disconnected thoughts

. Inability to remember driving the last few miles

. Drifting between lanes or onto shoulder

. Abnormal speed, tailgating, or failure to obey traffic signs

. Back tension, burning eyes, shallow breathing or inattentiveness


Safety Tips

. Maintain a regular sleep schedule that allows adequate rest.

. When the signs of fatigue begin to show, get off the road. Take a short nap in a well-lit area. Do not simply stop on the side of the road.

. Avoid driving between 12am and 6am

When planning long trips:(esp. overseas)

. Share driving responsibilities with a companion

. Begin the trip early in the day

. Keep the temperature cool in the car

. Stop every 100 miles or 2 hours to get out of the car and walk around; exercise helps to combat fatigue

. Stop for light meals and snacks

. Drive with your head up, shoulders back and legs flexed at about a 45 degree angle


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:29 pm 
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Reduce Your Risk of Becoming A Carjacking Victim

Incidences of carjacking and other auto-related crimes have appeared regularly in news stories. Despite the danger, there are measures you can take to guard against crime when you are behind the wheel or walking to your vehicle. The National Safety Council suggests the following techniques to reduce the chances of becoming a carjacking victim.


Be alert while driving.

Before leaving, plan a route to avoid dangerous areas. If you need to drive in unfamiliar areas, try not to drive alone. Always drive with your windows up and car doors locked. Regularly check your mirrors and scan ahead for potentially dangerous situations.

Be conscious of escape routes while driving. Always leave room to maneuver out of the area when you come to a stop, keeping enough distance ahead so that you can see the rear tires of the vehicle in front of you touch the pavement.

Carjackers sometimes hit a car from behind and then pull a weapon when the victim gets out to investigate. If you think you have been bumped intentionally, don't leave your car. Motion to the other driver to follow you to the nearest police station. If confronted by a person with a weapon, give up your car.

If your vehicle breaks down, pull as far as possible away from moving traffic, tie a white handkerchief around the antenna, close the windows and lock the doors. If anyone approaches to offer assistance, open the window slightly and ask the person to call the police or towing service. Ask uniformed personnel to show identification.

Parking your vehicle.

Use caution when you enter or leave a parking lot. Park in well lit areas where you can see and be seen by others. When getting in or out of your vehicle always be aware of what is going on around you.

When returning to your vehicle, approach with caution. Have your keys ready, glance underneath the vehicle and check the front and rear floors. If someone is loitering near your car, avoid them and walk to a place of safety such as a lighted store, house or other building. Call the police.

As in every situation, the foremost concern is your personal safety. If you are confronted by a carjacker, don't resist. Hand over your keys and step back from the assailant. Remember: a car can be replaced but your life cannot.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:35 pm 
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Tips for Driving with ABS (Anti-Lock Brake Systems)

Four-wheel ABS is a safe, effective braking system when used properly. It offers an important safety advantage by preventing the wheels from locking during emergency braking situations, allowing drivers to maintain control over steering and operate vehicles more effectively. To take full advantage of the maximum safety benefits drivers must learn how to operate their anti-lock brake systems correctly. The National Safety Council shares the following recommendations from the ABS Education Alliance.

Do....

...keep your foot on the brake. Maintain firm and continuous pressure on the brake while steering to enable four-wheel ABS to work properly. Avoid pumping the brake, even if the brake pedal is pulsating. In light trucks that are equipped with rear-wheel anti-lock brakes, however, the front wheels can still lock up the same as conventional brakes. If that happens, the driver should ease up on the brake pedal with just enough pressure to allow the front wheels to roll again so you can steer.

...allow enough distance to stop. Follow three seconds or more behind vehicles when driving in good conditions. Allow more time if conditions are hazardous.

...practice driving with ABS. Become accustomed to pulsations that occur in the brake pedal when ABS is activated. Empty parking lots or other open areas are excellent places to practice emergency stops.

...consult the vehicle's owner's manual for additional driving instructions on the anti-lock brake system.

...know the difference between four-wheel and rear-wheel ABS. Four-wheel ABS is generally found on passenger cars and is designed to maintain steerability in emergency braking situations. Rear-wheel ABS, found exclusively on light trucks, is designed to maintain directional stability and prevent the vehicle from skidding sideways.

Don't...

...drive an ABS-equipped vehicle more aggressively than vehicles without ABS. Driving around curves faster, changing lanes abruptly or performing other aggressive steering maneuvers is neither appropriate nor safe with any vehicle.

...pump the brakes. In four-wheel ABS-equipped vehicles, pumping the brake turns the system on and off. ABS pumps the brakes for you automatically, at a much faster rate, and allows better steering control.

...forget to steer. Four-wheel ABS enables drivers to steer in emergency braking situations, but the system itself does not steer.

...be alarmed by mechanical noises and/or slight pedal pulsations while applying the brake in an ABS-equipped vehicle. These conditions are normal and let the driver know ABS is working.



Tips for driving with ABS

Always "brake and steer" when using four-wheel anti-lock brakes. With ABS, all you have to do is "brake and steer". With four-wheel ABS, push the brake pedal while steering normally and keep your foot firmly on the brake pedal until the car comes to a complete stop. Don't take your foot off the brake pedal or pump the brakes, because that will disengage the anti-lock system.

Remember that you can steer while you are braking with four-wheel anti-lock brake systems. Steer clear of hazards while keeping your foot firmly on the brake pedal. Be aware that your vehicle will not turn as quickly on a slippery road as it would on dry pavement.

Drive safely, because your anti-lock brakes are only as good as the driver using them. Anti-lock brakes cannot compensate for driving faster, more aggressively, or maintaining unsafe following distances. They cannot guarantee recovery from a spin or skid prior to an emergency braking situation. Avoid extreme steering maneuvers while your anti-lock brake system is engaged.

Expect noise and vibration in the brake pedal when your anti-lock brakes are in use. These sensations tell you the ABS system is working properly.

Anti-lock brake systems can stop more quickly than conventional brakes on wet paved surfaces and on icy or packed snow-covered roads. Stopping distances can be longer on loose gravel or freshly fallen snow, although drivers won't experience the lock-up of the wheels usually associated with conventional hard braking. Therefore, drivers will still have the ability to steer around objects in front of them—such as another car.

Know that there is a difference between four-wheel and rear-wheel ABS. Four-wheel ABS prevents wheel lock on all four wheels giving the driver improved control over steering. Drivers of four-wheel ABS cars should step firmly on the brake in an emergency stopping situation and keep their foot on the pedal.

In light trucks that are equipped with rear-wheel ABS, however, the front wheels can still lock up the same as with conventional brakes. If that happens, the driver should ease up on the brake pedal with just enough pressure to allow the front wheels to roll again so the driver can steer.

It's easy to find out whether your car has anti-lock brakes. To determine if your car has anti-lock brakes, look for an illuminated ABS symbol on your dashboard immediately after starting the engine, check your owner's manual, or ask your dealer.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:40 pm 
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What To Do When Your Brakes Fail

Having your brakes fail while you are driving is a dangerous and horrifying experience, especially when you are traveling on an interstate highway or other high-speed roadway.

The National Safety Council has these tips for coping with brake failure:

At the first sign of trouble, try not to panic. Instead, work your vehicle into the left lane and then toward the shoulder or, if possible, toward an exit. If it is necessary to change lanes, do so smoothly and carefully, watching your mirrors and the traffic around you very closely.

Remember to use your directional signal to indicate your intentions to other drivers. When you reach the left lane turn on your emergency hazard lights.

Let the car slow down gradually by taking your foot off the gas pedal. Simply steer as your vehicle slows and shift the car into a lower gear to let the engine help slow the car.

Once off the traveled roadway, shift into neutral and gradually apply the hand brake until the vehicle stops. If that brake has also failed, direct the car onto a soft shoulder or rub the wheel against a curb which will help you to slow down. Get the car off the roadway and to a safe place to avoid stopping traffic or being involved in a rear-end collision.

When safely off the road, put out reflective triangles beside and behind your vehicle to alert other drivers; keep your emergency flashers going.

You will need professional assistance. Raise your hood and tie something white to the radio antenna or hang it out the window so police officers or tow truck operators will know you need help. Don't stand behind or next to your vehicle; if possible, stay away from the vehicle and wait for help to arrive.

Use your cellular mobile phone to call for help.

It is inadvisable to walk on an interstate. However, if you can see a source of help and are able to reach it on foot, try the direct approach by walking but keep as far from traffic as possible.

A final caution: Do not be tempted to drive your vehicle, no matter how slowly, without brakes! Call for help to get your disabled vehicle towed and then have the brakes repaired by a qualified


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:44 pm 
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What To Do If Your Car Catches on Fire

A fire in one's car or other motor vehicle is a frightening situation which can quickly involve great personal danger to vehicle occupants and bystanders. Although every vehicle fire incident will have certain unique factors present at the time, the National Safety Council offers the following step-by-step general suggestions on what to do if your car (or other motor vehicle) catches on fire.

While you are moving on a roadway:

1. Signal your intentions and move to the left lane.

2. Get onto the shoulder or breakdown lane.

3. Stop immediately.

4. Shut off the engine.

5. Get yourself and all other persons out of the vehicle.

6. Get far away from the vehicle and stay away from it. Keep onlookers and others away.

7. Warn oncoming traffic.

8. Notify the fire department.

9. Don't attempt to try to put out the fire yourself. (The unseen danger is the possible ignition of fuel in the vehicle's tank.)


While the vehicle is stopped in traffic or parked:

1. Shut off the engine.

2. Get far away from the vehicle.

3. Warn pedestrians and other vehicles to stay away.

4. Notify the fire department.

5. (See No. 9 above).

In all vehicle fire situations, the first thing to think about is personal safety; any vehicle can be replaced—humans cannot. Think and act quickly, in the safest way possible.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:49 pm 
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What To Do If You Have a Blowout on the Highway

Having a flat tire when driving is always a problem. But experiencing a flat or blowout while traveling on an interstate highway or other high-speed roadway can present special dangers. The National Safety Council offers these tips for coping with tire trouble:

. At the first sign of tire trouble, grip the steering wheel firmly.

. Don't slam on the brakes.

. Let the car slow down gradually by taking your foot off the gas pedal.

. Work your vehicle toward the breakdown lane or, if possible, toward an exit.

. If it is necessary to change lanes, signal your intentions to drivers behind and do so smoothly and carefully, watching your mirrors and the traffic around you very closely.

. Steer as your vehicle slows down. It is better to roll the car off the roadway (when you have slowed to 30 miles per hour) and into a safe place than it is to stop in traffic and risk a rear-end or side collision from other vehicles.

. When all four wheels are off the pavement—brake lightly and cautiously until you stop.

. Turn your emergency flashers on.

. It's important to have the car well off the pavement and away from traffic before stopping, even if proceeding to a place of safety means rolling along slowly with the bad tire flapping. You can drive on a flat if you take it easy and avoid sudden moves. Don't worry about damaging the tire. It is probably ruined anyway.

. Once off the road, put out reflectorized triangles behind your vehicle to alert other drivers. Keep your emergency flashers on. If you know how to change a tire, have the equipment and can do it safely without being near traffic, change the tire as you normally would.

. Remember that being safe must take precedence over your schedule or whatever other concerns you may have. Changing a tire with traffic whizzing past can be nerve-wracking at best and dangerous at worst. Therefore, it may be best to get professional help if you have a tire problem or other breakdown on a multi-lane highway.

. Raise your hood and tie something white to the radio antenna or hang it out a window so police officers or tow truck operators will know that you need help.

. Don't stand behind or next to your vehicle. If possible, stand away from the vehicle and wait for help to arrive.

. If you have a cell phone you can call right from the roadside. It is inadvisable to walk on a multi-lane highway. However, if you can see a source of help and are able to reach it on foot, try the direct approach by walking but keeping as far from traffic as possible.


These are the most important things to remember when dealing with a flat tire on the highway:

. Don't stop in traffic.

. Get your vehicle completely away from the roadway before attempting to change a tire.

. Tackle changing a tire only if you can do so without placing yourself in danger.

. Finally, the Council recommends that you have a qualified mechanic check your vehicle after having a flat tire to be sure there is no residual damage from the bad tire or the aftermath of the flat.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 11:33 am 
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The Hidden Truth

There’s no doubt that modern cars are structurally far superior to models widely available in years gone by. But one of the recent trends in structural safety has had a possible downside in terms of driver vision – the growth of the A pillar.

The A pillar is the engineering term for that area dividing the windscreen and the windows. In recent years the A pillars have become sturdier, in a bid to improve the structure of the car as a whole. Put simply they have had to get stronger.

In response, car designers have made them thicker. But that A pillar has created a blind spot which campaigners have pointed out goes undetected by thousands of drivers. This became apparent recently when Autoglass commissioned MIRA to look at the problem.

Some models have a lack of visibility of up to 4.5m.

Manufacturers are aware of the issue; they are responding by looking at alternative designs, such as transparent pillars. Paradoxically, older cars have less of a vision restriction. Apparently a popular older model has an A pillar blind spot of 1.2m – but its modern equivalent is double that.

But what should we as drivers do about the problem in the meantime?

Firstly be aware of the potential restriction in your ability to scan the road ahead. That restriction in vision from the A pillar could make all the difference at a junction. Needless to say, it is vital to check that nothing is hidden from view by the A pillar before making a manoeuvre. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are particularily easy to “loseâ€


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 11:38 am 
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Emergency Vehicles

Deciding on what to do when you hear an emergency vehicle approaching can be a dilemma. Do you stay where you are and potentially block the progress of an emergency vehicle? Or do you move into a position that may put you or other road users at risk?

Unfortunately, some drivers over-react to emergency service vehicles travelling on “blues and twosâ€


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 11:40 am 
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Ease off the Anchors


Gentle, planned braking is something that all drivers should aspire to.

And if you don't think so, imagine being a passenger with somebody at the wheel who is doing nothing except "emergency stops". That kind of white knuckle ride may be extreme - but we all see examples daily of people who habitually leave it too late to brake for some reason (why else would there be all those skid marks on the tarmac?).

The key to good braking is anticipation. Don't rely on the brakes to get you out of trouble because you failed to plan for the hazard ahead in good time.

A good way to develop sensitive braking is to imagine that you want to bring the car to a stop without your passengers noticing.

By increasing pressure on the pedal smoothly you will "brush off" most of the speed -so at the right moment you will be able to bring your foot off the brake pedal without leaving the brakes biting to the bitter end. This is possible with a bit of practice: ease up on the brake pedal imperceptibly just as you are about to stop – the last metre or so. This allows you to roll gently to a stand-still without the vehicle’s nose dipping or a jerk.

Braking should be a single, sustained use of the pedal - with the maximum pressure applied during the middle phase.

This gentle approach gives a good indication to the person following you that you are slowing down. That in turn gives them more time to react and so reduces the chances of an inattentive driver "rear ending" your car.

As an indicator brake lights are a bit crude: when you think about it, all the other indicators are telling other road users what you intend to do but the brake lights just confirm that you are already doing it!



info sourced from Institute of Advanced Motorist.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 11:45 am 
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Food for Thought


New research claims that eating while driving can be as potentially risky as using a hand held mobile phone at the wheel.

At first glance, this seems odd. Granted, many drivers are at least aware of the problems associated with mobile phones while driving, even if they continue to ignore them. But surely a natural, everyday act such as eating an apple doesn’t need to be potentially risky – or does it?

Brunel University put 26 participants in a simulator on an urban route, once without eating and once while eating from a bag of wrapped sweets or drinking water.

The simulator would show a pedestrian suddenly stepping into the road and then measure the drivers' responses. Although participants tended to slow down while unwrapping the sweet or raising the bottle, researchers found that they were still twice as likely to hit the pedestrian.

It is probably using the brain to do something else as well as driving that causes the difficulty: tipping the bottle, trying to see around it and not spilling the contents is a complex set of judgements adding to the driver’s workload.

There is of course no legislation specifically preventing eating or drinking while driving. Yet many cars these days come equipped with cup-holders right by the driver's seat, a design presumably to make it easier to drink while driving.

Drinking a hot beverage is far worse, when you think about it. A spill that burns causes pain and could produce an involuntary action by the driver. There have been high profile cases of police prosecutions of drivers sipping from bottles or eating apples.

The IAM advice is to avoid drinking or eating while you are driving as both are needless distractions. On a long journey, it is good to take a break after two hours and you can use that rest to have a drink. The Highway Code also advises against distractions such as eating or drinking.

But as ever, common sense is the key: putting a mint in your mouth before you start driving, for example, is unlikely to cause a potential problem. But leaning over to find a packet of mints buried somewhere in your glovebox, then attempting to unwrap them with one hand is quite a different (and a potentially dangerous) scenario.



info sourced from Institute of Advanced Motorist.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 12:14 pm 
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Smooth Gears


One of the hallmarks of an advanced driver is a smooth style with manual gear changes.
A car’s gearbox is a wonderful piece of engineering, rarely casing problems during the expected lifetime of fifteen years, withstanding hundreds of thousands of shifts up and down the ratios. It’s so well developed that all you need to do is gently guide where it wants to go.

Yet “snatchingâ€


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 12:17 pm 
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Cyclists


“Fair weatherâ€


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Lines


White lines are a familiar part of the road landscape, but they all do a different job. The information they are intended to impart varies, despite the fact to the busy driver they all look the same.

As a rule of thumb, the more paint there is on the road surface, the more danger or potential danger there is at that point.

For example, do you know the difference between a short white line on the middle of the carriageway and a longer white line? The first marks the boundary of the lane, without any other information. The second also warns of a hazard: a potential danger point.

How about if there are two solid white lines running down the middle of the carriageway? This is to divide two opposing lanes of traffic and you cannot cross it except in certain specific circumstances – turning into/out of an entrance, passing a stationary vehicle or overtaking slow-moving vehicles, pedal cycles or horses. From time to time you will see a single solid white line, coupled with a dotted one, either on your side of the carriageway or the other. The line nearest your side of the road is the important one – if it is solid, the rule above applies!

One that gets forgotten sometimes is that it is an offence to park where there are double white lines in the centre of the road – even if there is room.

If you are ever uncertain of the meaning of a white line, make a point of checking the Highway Code. Things do change and it is quite important to keep up to date with new markings – or even reintroduce yourself to those you may have forgotten


info sourced from Institute of Advanced Motorist.


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Tyres & Tarmac


There used to be a bumper sticker that said “If you can read this, you are too close!â€


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Fuel Saving Tips


As petrol continues to rise in price, there has never been a better time to think about eco-driving.

Regardless of the vehicle you are driving, there are techniques you can use to save fuel and to minimise your impact on the environment. These techniques have been part of the advanced driving process, delivering eco-benefits through fuel efficiencies since the IAM was established in 1956.

1. Ask yourself: "Do I really need to drive?" It's the shortest journeys - less than two miles – which cause the most pollution and are inefficient in terms of fuel consumption. A straining cold engine will produce 60 per cent more pollution than a warm one. Yet it's these shorter journeys that are ideal for walking or cycling.

2. Plan your route . A bit of forethought can save much wear and tear - for the car,and the driver. Try to take the most direct route and go off peak if possible. Sitting in congestion means you are often doing zero miles per gallon. If you have to commute by car, think about car sharing, Park and Ride schemes or public transport.

3. Have your vehicle serviced regularly . This helps maintain efficient running and good economy. Inefficient, under-serviced engines can reduce fuel economy by ten per cent or more. Catalytic converters are environmentally friendly - but only if they are properly maintained.

4. Check your tyres . Correct tyre pressures will keep wear down and fuel economy up. Under-inflated tyres need replacing more often (itself an environmental problem) as well as being dangerous. Anybody who has cycled on under-inflated tyres will appreciate how much extra effort is involved! Make a point of checking them at least once a week.

5. Obey the speed limits . Try to "feather" the throttle as you reach your cruising speed. Doing 56mph uses 25 per cent less fuel than 70mph and a smoother driving style can bring significant fuel saving. But never coast to save fuel; vehicle control must not be compromised.

6. Reduce the drag factor by removing roof racks and carriers when not in use. Driving with the window open also increases drag and lowers fuel economy. Remove unnecessary boot luggage, avoid heavy accessories and wide tyres that add rolling resistance. Air conditioning lowers fuel economy so use the vent settings as much as possible instead.

7. Buy green fuel - and use less of it. If you get stuck in traffic, switch off the engine. Find out if you can buy low sulphur diesel (City diesel) or cleaner petrol (low sulphur/aromatics) locally.

8. Use “acceleratorâ€


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Knowing When to Horn


When was the last time you sounded your horn? Many drivers rarely sound their horn at all, because they feel that it can be interpreted as being aggressive. The danger of this is that if an emergency were to occur, they may have difficulty actually finding it. On the other hand, some drivers seldom go through the day without sounding theirs.

Typical reasons drivers have for sounding the horn include, reminding the driver in front that the traffic lights have now changed to green and they should get moving or to blast someone for pulling out in front of them. In other words, for correcting another drivers mistakes.

In fact, the whole purpose of the horn is to warn other road users of your presence. They may not have noticed you or simply cannot see you. Either way, this represents a risk. In the example above, where a driver pulls out in front of you, the horn should be sounded before the other driver pulls out (so that you can prevent it) rather than after they have pull out (as a rebuke).

Ideally you should consider sounding your horn on approach to any hazard. This does not mean of course that you actually have to use it each time, just consider it. Generally speaking, the best time to sound your horn is after you have already adjusted your position and speed for the hazard. At this point the horn serves as a warning instrument when you have already minimised the risk (you still have other options available to you if necessary). This is preferable to sounding your horn and hoping the other driver reacts correctly. If they don't, you may not have enough time or space to stop. Sometimes children, the elderly or those with a hearing disability may not hear you at all.

You should adjust the length of the horn note to suit the particular circumstances at the time. As a general rule, the closer you are to the hazard, the shorter the note to be used because you don't want to startle someone. On the other hand, if you are well back from the hazard or if there is less chance of the horn being heard because of background noise or at higher speeds, a longer note could be considered. In situations where you are not able to see other road users such on approach to blind bends or hump back bridges, a long horn note may be appropriate.

Either way, the overall principle is that the other road user should have time to hear the horn, recognise the risk and have time to react. Use your horn as you would your own voice and you won't go too far wrong.



info sourced from Institute of Advanced Motorist.


Last edited by wagon r on Thu Oct 19, 2006 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Accelerator Sense: A light right foot


Fuel consumption and the environmental benefits of advanced driving techniques go hand in hand. Key to both is “acceleration senseâ€


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Heads Up for a Safer Journey


We tend to call them headrests, but they have a proper title: head restraints.

And they have an important, if unglamorous, safety role – they protect the driver, and the passengers from a potentially nasty injury.

The problem with calling them headrests is that it makes them sound like some sort of comfort zone for drivers.

During the last 40 years a lot of work has been done to improve passive safety features in the car, from crumple zones to air bags. And if used properly, head restraints can be an important addition.

But there’s the rub: quite often they are ignored. In a recent survey just six per cent of drivers were found to check their head restraint before beginning their journey, or demonstrate that they knew the correct position.

We should take a moment before each journey to check that the top of the head restraint is level with the top of your head. Too high is as bad as too low.

Encourage your passengers to do likewise. A correctly-positioned head restraint may save you, and them, nasty injuries.

In the UK the single most common crash is the rear collision. Many rear impact accidents result in a neck or spinal injury. The head restraint plays a key role in protecting you from injuries, particularly whiplash.

You also need to remember that head restraints can impair vision to the rear, and so should make sure when manoeuvring and reversing that they are not obstructing you.

Not all head restraints are adjustable, but where they are, take care to ensure that they are placed high enough to stop the neck going backwards in the event of a collision. The head restraint should be level with the top of the head for maximum safety. Remember, it is there for your safety, not to help you nod off at the wheel!



info sourced from Institute of Advanced Motorist.


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Belt up in the Back


Plans to introduce mandatory child seats this year linked to the age of the children have served to remind us how important it is that children have the appropriate restraint.

Check that your car seat has been installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions

Then, each time the child is strapped in, check again that the seat belt securing the seat is still fastened and hasn’t been accidentally tampered with.

A comfortable child is more likely to enjoy the trip, so it is worth checking that the shoulder belt of the seat should lie across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat.

Never tuck the shoulder belt under the children’s arm or behind their back. Where you have a lap belt fitted, it should be low and snug across the thighs, not the stomach. Also try to ensure that your child is small enough to sit against the seat back with the legs bent at the knees and feet hanging down; they should be able to stay in this position comfortably throughout the trip.

Consider using a booster seat where appropriate. Small babies should be placed in an appropriate size baby seat beginning with the first ride home from the hospital. Due to the risk of serious injuries, or even death, it is essential that the rear facing car safety seat is never used in the front seat of a car that has a passenger airbag. Generally the safest place for a child to be is in the back seat.

Children should never be left alone in a car, whether they are in their car safety seats or not.

Temperatures can reach deadly levels in minutes and children have died of heat stroke while locked in the car.

Child locks on the rear doors are a good idea when the children are young and provide you with additional reassurance.



info sourced from Institute of Advanced Motorist.


Last edited by wagon r on Thu Oct 19, 2006 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A Turn for the Worst

Have you ever found yourself braking in a bend simply because it was sharper than you originally thought? If you have then you should consider how you actually go about assessing the severity of bends, because if you get it wrong, the consequences are potentially serious.

It is not just novice drivers who get caught out on the bends though in the jargon, it is here that most single vehicle accidents take place.

There are a number of clues we can take from the environment to help us. The most obvious are the road signs and markings, but there are other less obvious ones: the line of the trees, hedges, buildings, street lights or telegraph poles (although remember that sometimes telegraph poles run through fields, so dont follow them!).

The actual width of the road can be a factor because the narrower it is, the less space you have to manoeuvre. Skid marks on the road are an indication of past mistakes. The position and speed of other traffic can also provide you with valuable information. Another particularly useful way of assessing a bend is to use the limit point analysis.

The limit point is the furthest point which you can see, i.e. where the left and right hand sides of the road meet. To use this technique simply ask yourself is it getting further away? If it is and you can see further ahead, then your speed should be fine. On the other hand if it is getting closer, then you could continue to reduce speed until the limit point begins to move with you and your view opens up again.

This technique takes a bit of practice but it will help you to link your speed with your range of vision and allow you to stop in the distance seen to be clear.




info sourced from Institute of Advanced Motorist.


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Don't take on that Tailgater


Drivers who “tailgateâ€


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How not to Skid


If you are still scraping ice from your windscreen in the morning, the potential danger of ice on the road remains. Ice makes driving particularly hazardous and many drivers are still caught out at this time of year because they fail to “read the roadâ€


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Under Pressure, Don't forget Your Tyres


We all know that tyres are among the most unfashionable items on the car. But that doesn’t mean that we should ignore them.

We do so at our peril. Those few square inches of rubber that keep us in contact with the road may only be the size of a credit card. But rain or shine, that is all that comes between the car and the tarmac.

There’s an old saying: the brakes stop the wheels, but the tyres stop the car. It stands to reason that they can’t do that job properly if you ignore them. Yet a recent survey showed that is precisely what we do: seven per cent of motorists admit that they only check their tyre pressures and the tread depth once a year.*

Under-inflated tyres wear far more quickly than they should. Tyre technology means that they are far better engineered than they need be. But that also means that they are expensive things to replace and why run the risk of a blowout in the meantime?

Industry experts claim that a twenty per cent reduction in pressure can shorten a tyres useful life by up to 30 per cent. Tyre waste is a major environmental headache. And checking that the pressure is correct for the car (including the loading) can also make a considerable impact on your fuel bill over the course of the year. The extra drag of neglected tyres will mean that each fuel tank is three per cent less efficient. That wasted fuel means more CO2 in the atmosphere

Don’t be tempted to add a few pounds per square inch. Over inflated tyres can cause poor vehicle handling, reduced stability in braking, cornering and reduced grip.

The IAM recommends that you check your tyres for wear, damage and pressure at least once a month. If you pick up a nail, or damage the sidewall on a pothole or a kerb, you may be able to save the tyre before it’s ruined.



info sourced from Institute of Advanced Motorist.


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When Backwards is Best


In a car park, do you reverse into a parking space and drive out, or drive in and reverse out? The next time you are in a car park, have a look around and see how many people reverse into the space. You will probably find that most people actually drive in and reverse out. There is no doubt this may be safer/more convenient if the spaces are angled, when you have to load/unload items from the boot or if it would cause inconvenience to other road users.

On the other hand, reversing into the space provides you with several advantages. The first of these is that it is safer to reverse into somewhere you can see into (the parking space), rather than reverse out, into somewhere you can’t (the line of moving traffic). Many people find that it takes them a few minutes to settle into “driving modeâ€


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Heads Up For A Safer Journey


We tend to call them headrests, but they have a proper title: head restraints.

And they have an important, if unglamorous, safety role – they protect the driver, and the passengers from a potentially nasty injury.

The problem with calling them headrests is that it makes them sound like some sort of comfort zone for drivers.

During the last 40 years a lot of work has been done to improve passive safety features in the car, from crumple zones to air bags. And if used properly, head restraints can be an important addition.

But there’s the rub: quite often they are ignored. In a recent survey just six per cent of drivers were found to check their head restraint before beginning their journey, or demonstrate that they knew the correct position.

We should take a moment before each journey to check that the top of the head restraint is level with the top of your head. Too high is as bad as too low.

Encourage your passengers to do likewise. A correctly-positioned head restraint may save you, and them, nasty injuries.

In the UK the single most common crash is the rear collision. Many rear impact accidents result in a neck or spinal injury. The head restraint plays a key role in protecting you from injuries, particularly whiplash.

You also need to remember that head restraints can impair vision to the rear, and so should make sure when manoeuvring and reversing that they are not obstructing you.

Not all head restraints are adjustable, but where they are, take care to ensure that they are placed high enough to stop the neck going backwards in the event of a collision. The head restraint should be level with the top of the head for maximum safety. Remember, it is there for your safety, not to help you nod off at the wheel!


info sourced from Institute of Advanced Motorist.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 11:48 am 
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Proper Driving Position


If you think proper driving position means having your hands positioned at "10 and 2 o'clock" on the steering wheel (as they taught you in driver's-education class), get with the times! You see, automobiles have changed considerably in the past few years... and therefore, so should your driving habits. Relax - the changes are minor, and they can actually increase your driving safety and comfort, which will come in handy on those long road trips.

Nowadays you should:

Sit slightly reclined with your shoulders comfortably back in the seat. Sit as far back from the steering wheel as possible while still remaining in safe control of the vehicle.

The 10-2 position is the traditional favorite because, in theory, a higher grip allows a driver to keep the car running smoothly without needing to jerk the wheel suddenly if he is cut off or there is a hazard in the road.
But air bags are changing that equation. During a collision, the bag will explode out at more than 100 mph, protecting the driver's head and chest from slamming into the front of the vehicle. With the hands at 10-2 or higher on the wheel, a driver's arms can get walloped or thrown back into his face if an air bag deploys.

Hold the outside rim of the steering wheel at "9 and 3 o'clock" or slightly lower. This position will minimize the risk of injury to your arms, hands and fingers in case your airbag deploys. Your arms should be bent slightly.

In recent years, another new position has gained considerable popularity. "Mostly, the left or right hand up on the wheel and the other hand on a cell phone."

Be able to pivot your right foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal without lifting your heel from the floor.



Taken from Smart Motorist.com


Last edited by wagon r on Mon Mar 19, 2007 12:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Adjusting Your Mirrors Correctly


Don't assume that modern car door mirrors adjust themselves or you could be putting your life and others at risk. You need to adjust all three of your rear view mirrors so that you get the widest view possible while keeping your blind spots to a minimum. This is particularly important on multi-lane highways where you may have to keep tabs on lanes on both sides. Many drivers do not turn their outside mirrors out far enough and simply duplicate the same scene in all three mirrors. Rule of thumb: If you can see even a glimpse of the sides of your car in your outside mirrors they are turned too far inwards.

Before you drive away - After entering your vehicle, the very next thing on your agenda should be adjusting your seat and steering wheel, fastening your safety belt, and adjusting all three of your rearview mirrors.

Get comfortable - Adjust your seat so that you are high enough to see the road, yet can still reach all of the vehicle's controls. Many newer vehicles feature tilt and telescoping steering columns to help you get more comfortable. Some new Ford Motor Company products (Ford, Mercury, and Jaguar) offer electrically adjustable foot pedals that allow short, medium, and tall drivers a comfortable driving experience. If you don't have adjustable seats, and are still sitting too low, you should use a seat cushion, or better yet, have your mechanic raise your seat permanently. Do this before putting on your safety belt.

Interior rearview mirror - The positioning for the inside rearview mirror is fairly obvious, you should be able to see out of the rear window from the driver's seat. Be sure the day/night switch found on most rearview mirrors is in the day position during daytime operation. The night setting reduces the headlight glare from cars behind you and helps you see better.

Auto-dimming rearview mirrors - If you drive at night, you've undoubtedly experienced it - annoying and often dangerous glare from the headlamps of vehicles traveling behind you. While normal rearview mirrors are equipped with a day-night switch, automatic dimming mirrors darken to reduce glare from the headlamps of vehicles approaching from the rear. The brighter the glare, the darker the mirrors become, making nighttime driving safer. About 10% of vehicle's sold in the US are currently equipped with this valuable safety feature. Usually auto-dimming mirrors can't be ordered separately and are only available as part of expensive luxury group packages.

Be aware of the SUV glare - In addition to other hazards posed by sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and trucks, their headlights are usually mounted at the same height as most normal car's rearview mirrors. When an SUV travels behind a car, the glare from its headlights is reflected off these mirrors directly into the driver's eyes. Dr. Alan Lewis, president of the New England College of Optometry, has done extensive research on the effects of glare. He found that during nighttime driving, headlight glare from vehicles traveling behind you can temporarily blind you, increasing your reaction time by up to 1.4 seconds, even after the source of the glare is removed. The time it takes to stop your vehicle, or to avoid someone in the oncoming lane, is doubled if you succumb to temporary glare blindness.

Exterior rearview mirrors - As for the side view mirror or mirrors, most people adjust them so they can see the side of the car on the inside edge of the mirror. If you adjust your mirrors using that criteria, are you aware of the huge blind spots that you've created? (Now is the time to take another look at the animated diagram at the top of the page.) Consider the view when the side view mirrors are set up as just described. Essentially, you have created "tunnel vision" to the rear. Your side view mirrors overlap much of what your inside rearview mirrors sees and you've also created blind spots.

What in the solution to tunnel vision and blind spots? Simply adjust the side view mirrors just beyond the point where you could see the side of the car on the inside edge of the mirror. With this setup, you almost completely solve the blind spot problem. It takes a little while to get used to, but it is an improvement. Some quick tips: For the driver's side mirror: Place the side of your head against the window, then adjust the mirror until the side of your vehicle comes into view. For the passenger's side mirror: While sitting in the driver's seat, lean to the right so that your head is in the car's centerline. Adjust the mirror until the side of your vehicle comes into view.

You are now ready to begin your journey safe in the knowledge that you won't have an accident while trying to adjust them while you're driving.

Backing up - Most of us don't think twice about backing our vehicles out of a parking spot or driveway. We should, thousands of children are killed or seriously injured every year by inconsiderate drivers who "just didn't see" them. A quick walk around your vehicle before getting in and backing up is an easy way to help prevent a catastrophe. Even after a walk-around, double check all three of your mirrors before you put your vehicle in reverse. Be extra cautious in inclement weather, don't think it can't happen to you!

Using your mirrors on the road - Most drivers rely on their rear view mirrors for two things, backing up, and changing lanes on the highway. Not checking your blind spots - those areas just outside the field of vision - can have disastrous effects when merging onto the highway or changing lanes.

One of the ways you can protect yourself is to make sure your vehicle's side and rearview mirrors are positioned for maximum road view. If all three of your mirrors are aligned correctly you should be able to see a vehicle leaving your rearview mirror seamlessly transfer to one of your side view mirrors without any delay. Vehicles present that aren't visible in your mirrors are the ones you need to worry about. Drivers with good peripheral vision will see them when they check their side view mirrors.

However if you rely solely on your interior rearview mirror, you're asking for trouble. Thousands of accidents occur each year because people changing lanes fail to see a vehicle that is right next to them. Diligent use of all three of your rearview mirrors should prevent you from getting in another driver's way or cutting them off. A good guideline for deciding when to move into the passing lane or back into the traveling lane is to make sure that you can see the headlights of the vehicle you're passing in the rearview mirror.


Taken from Smart Motorist.com


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