I recently had to take a defensive driving course as part of my employment contract with my new occupation. I thought I'd share some useful information, along with some stats that I learned. It was all interesting to me, and really made me think about driving, and driving safely. I hope a lot of you will read this, and hopefully learn something, like I did.
Did you know that in the United States in 2005 there were:
6.2 million crashes
2.7 million people hurt
and 43,443 people killed due to crashes
Around 117 people die in crashes each day - one every 12 minutes. Of those fatalities, one road departure fatality happens every 21 minutes, one intersection fatality occurs every hour and one pedestrian fatality occurs roughly every 2 hours.
How many times have you placed a container, be it a rubbermaid or a box of stuff in your car? Was it contained in the trunk? Strapped or velcroed down inside the car? It's best if it is. Even that cute stuffed beanie on you back dash can hurt you or another passenger. For instance, a collision at 50mph will cause ANY object inside that vehicle to travel at the same speed.
Did you know that drivers have to make about 100 decisions each minute? Some complex intersection have well over 100 signs and pavement parkings to process. Driving is all about making choices--preferably wise ones.
Did you know you should be checking your mirrors, both inside and out, every 3-5 seconds. Also the best method to know if you are following anotehr vehicle too closely is if you select a fixed object on the road ahead of you. When a vehicle in front of you reaches that spot start counting until you reach that spot. If you get there before you get to three, you are too close to the car in front to be able to stop safely. You should be three seconds behind the car in front of you. You should add one second each for inclement weather, night time, school buses, motorcycles and large vehicles in front of you, and poor roadway conditions.
You should signal before turning at least 100 feet beforehand when traveling at 35 mph or less, and 300 feet at speeds over 35mph.
Backing accidents are the most popular, so check for blind spots and take it slow. When you are in a heavily populated area, it is best to go a half wheel length at a time to insure there is no one in your blind spots.
It's better to be on the safe side than the dead or injured side of things, as most accidents are preventable.
Also, another thing that I was made aware of is the proper position of your hands on the steering wheel. It's no longer 10 and 2. It is now best at 5 and 7. Why? It's two less flying objects in the car when you are in an accident that deploys the airbag. If you have your hands at the top of the wheel, that air bag is going to deploy forcing your hands upward, and ultimately injuring you moreso. Air bags need to inflate very rapidly to be effective, often at speeds more than 100 mph. You should also sit with 10 inches between the center of the air bag and your breastbone to prevent serious injury or even death. Many people that die due to the air bag, die because they are sitting too close to it.