A Complete Introduction to Defensive Driving For Beginners – Part 1

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The core of Defensive Driving is looking and thinking ahead. Being familiar with an area helps. This is an introductory blog to driving and is intended for beginners but others may find some value in it. It’s all in how you see the road and your surroundings.

When it comes to distracted driving, nobody drives distracted. Seriously, ask anyone you know and they will tell you that they never would drive distracted. However, the number of collisions and accidents keeps rising and many times drivers don’t even remember how the crash began.

Even with all of the latest and greatest vehicle technology that is intended to keep people safe, the number of fatal accidents keeps increasing. I would argue that some of that can be attributed to drivers now having less to think about while driving, since a lot of newer cars will check your blind spot and even keep you from driving off of the road. In my opinion, safety technology in newer cars is actually dangerous in some ways because it allows a driver to not have to think about certain aspects of driving. Fully automated vehicles are ideal for safety, but half automated vehicles (like what we have now) are deceivingly dangerous, and the numbers reflect that.

Another huge aspect of distracted driving is stress. Stress ruins everything, including driving. When someone is stressed and they are sitting at a red light waiting for it to change, they will be more likely to make a bad decision and start checking their phone, but if they weren’t stressed it is less likely that they would do that. Good decisions are made when people are not panicked or stressed.

It’s always when these unexpected or stressful moments arise that bad things happen. Most people would never drive drunk, but put them in a situation and that could easily change.

In 2015 there were 4 teens in Beaverbank who were at a house party late at night and needed a ride home. Halifax being Halifax, they couldn’t get a cab. So this situation, which the teens weren’t expecting presented itself and they had to figure out what to do at 2 a.m. while drunk in the middle of no where. This is how most of these tragic stories start out. Something unexpected presents itself.

In this case, one of the teens volunteered to drive while drunk and everyone hopped into the car. The car flipped multiple times ejecting everyone but the driver. Two people died, a third was severely injured.

But tragedies and the darkness that comes with them cut far deeper than just the victims and their families. The teen who was driving could not live with himself and eventually took his own life. This is very common and of course never reported. These teens did not want to have a tragic night, the driver did not want to kill his friends, but when they were presented with a ‘curve ball’ of a situation they made a bad decision.

Planning ahead for partying and other fun activities is essential in order to avoid getting struck out by a ‘curve ball’. Somewhat like if I am driving down the street and a hazard presents itself, if I have been looking and thinking ahead I will have already been expecting this and will be ready to react. And if I am already driving at a safe speed even before encountering the hazard that makes it easy to react to. But, if I am stressed or distracted and not thinking ahead, the curve ball or unexpected situation has a better chance of getting me.

The below video is the best video about distracted driving I have ever seen. Instead of using lame one liners or traumatizing photos, this PHD who spends his life studying distracted driving, uses science and data. This is the kind of progressive approach that is needed in order to educate and not scare new drivers into doing or not doing something.

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A Complete Introduction to Defensive Driving For Beginners – Part 2

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