Beware the 100 deadly days of driving
By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, May June 10th 2016
The 100 days of summer driving will be the most dangerous of the year.
More crashes resulting in death and serious injury occur in this time frame than any other. Here is your guide to survival.
Speed is often blamed for catastrophic crashes.
Most drivers have one technique to avoid a high-speed crash: Brake, and hope for the best.
They don’t know that doubling speed results in the need for four times more distance to stop a vehicle, not two times, as is commonly thought by drivers.
This square-proportion relationship gets even more pronounced at greater speeds. Tripling speed nets a nine-times-greater braking distance.
It’s easy to see why the rear-end collision is the most common. Most drivers have never gone to a track to practise stopping in an emergency situation.
To avoid the necessity of a panic stop, always travel in a lane that gives the best escape potential.
Steering to avoid a high-speed crash is much more effective than braking. In bridges, tunnels and other confined spaces that don’t allow space-cushion driving, always allow at least three seconds’ following distance.
The old two-second rule is no longer effective when one considers the number of extremely small cars and motorcycles on the road in the summer.
Always use the professional driver’s standard observation pattern on the highway.
Look ahead, check the rear-view mirror, look ahead and check your speed, check ahead and then both sides of the road.
Repeat the sequence before and after every intersection, curve, hill, overpass and other road feature requiring your attention.
Turn your taillights on to discourage tailgaters. Vehicles that are lit up have fewer crashes than those not displaying both front and back lights while travelling at high speed.
Try to find a “seagull,” a professional driver who will lead the way. It’s much easier to follow an excellent driver than to be the leader of the pack and have to do all the work for others following.
Take a break from driving at least every two hours and possibly sooner if you feel the slightest bit tired.
Driver fatigue is a primary cause of many high-speed crashes. Take a break from driving on long trips at sunrise or sundown.
Professionals do it. We should all do it. Animals are more likely to be on the move at these times of the day. It is often more difficult to see them at dawn and dusk.
Drivers who crash on the highway are often travelling much faster or slower than the average speed of traffic. Sticking to the average speed of highway traffic is the safest way to travel.
Passing on a two-lane highway is driving’s most dangerous manoeuvre. The head-on highspeed highway crash is the most deadly. Pass only where there is an obvious escape option.
The T-bone side-impact crash is the second most deadly. Try to go through intersections with a blocker between you and any threat coming from either side of your vehicle.
That way, you will not take the first hit in a potentially deadly side-impact crash. Buses and large vehicles make the best blockers.
Avoid left turns where possible. Turn where advance left-turn arrows govern the intersection.