Bumper cars was a ride that I first remember riding at the fair. The problem is that people drive on highways the same way that we used to drive bumper cars. I drove home on 288, during rush hour. A whole lot of traffic, with some people in an extreme hurry or who just like to drive fast. Whether 288, I-95, I-295, I-64, or Chippenham Parkway, you take your life in your own hands when you drive on these roadways. To some, the speed limit is more of a suggestion than the law. So what must we do to share the roadways with most who just want to get from Point A to Point B, while others want to endanger everyone, weaving in and out of traffic.
Full attention to driving and a focus on defensive driving are the keys to getting to your destination safely. So, let’s start with the basics. The first order of business is to know that your vehicle is ready for the road, whether it be proper fluid levels, proper tire pressure and properly operating equipment and lights. Once you know that your vehicle is ready, then your attention must be on your route and the time necessary to make it in plenty of time. Some routes will take longer at certain parts of the day than others, so you may have to give yourself more time or choose a less busier route. Good luck on that one.
Safe driving requires that you are fully awake, impaired by nothing. Everyone in the vehicle must be belted. If you have children, then they must be properly restrained in car seats or booster seats. Mirrors should be adjusted before taking off. If you are going to talk on the phone, then that should be hands-free. The more that you can do to limit distractions, the better the chance that you will be able to give driving your undivided attention. A safe distance between the vehicle in front of you and your vehicle will allow plenty of braking time, if necessary. The worse the weather is the more time, distance, and slower speeds are all necessary to hopefully arriving safely at your destination. If there is ice or snow, it may be better for you to stay home than to chance it.
If you are involved in an accident or suffer a breakdown, you must do everything possible to get yourself and your family to safety as quickly as possible. There have been many cases where a person survives an accident only to be struck and killed by a vehicle once you get out of your vehicle. You must understand that very few people will slow down, even when they know that there is an accident in front of them. A statistic that many people do not think about is the fact that many serious or fatal accidents occur within two miles of a person’s home. In other words, roadways that are extremely familiar are the places where accidents occur.
If you approach emergency vehicles operating on a roadway, you must slow down and whenever possible, you must Move Over. There are still reports of public safety personnel being struck by a vehicle, while operating at an emergency scene. You would think that people can see emergency equipment, but obviously not. If you are driving and notice an emergency vehicle approaching you from behind, you must find a safe place to pull over. If you are sitting at an intersection, you only need to move if it is safe to do so. Under no circumstance should you drive into a ditch or pull into a busy intersection trying to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle. Many times, all you need to do is stop and let the emergency apparatus do whatever is necessary to safely get around you.
The bottom line is that you need to drive safely and defensively. Driving defensively means that you are driving with others in mind. There are far too many unsafe drivers out there, who have no regard for your life,or theirs, for that matter. At one point, the leading cause of death in the young adult population was death due to motor vehicle crashes. The possibility and probability of a crash is high every time that you get behind the wheel, so you must drive accordingly.