How good a driver are you?

So, (from my last post) you’ve considered some of the hazards other drivers present for you but, where do you start analyzing your own thinking when it comes to driving?

The very first thing that is always to be considered is YOU! Without you, whatever vehicle you’re about to drive won’t move. (As they are just beginning to be seen on TV, I’m not going to discuss “driverless’ vehicles. I have no basis on which to base an opinion.)

Before you grab the keys, stop and think what has happened to you in the last few days. Have you had an adequate sleep? Have you had a cold or the flu, any ailment where you have consumed medication to alleviate your symptoms? How long is it since you drank any alcohol? I hope you realize that the average human’s body takes approximately 1 hour for the liver to process 1 ounce of alcohol, one beer or glass of wine. If you’ve got one of those perfect “Barbie-Doll” bodies, it’s going to take longer!

Have you ever considered why police departments don’t station themselves outside the local bars at night to catch impaired drivers? It’s because it is much easier to catch people the next day when they think they’ve had a couple of hours of sleep and are ready to drive again. Numerous religious services have been disrupted when partygoers head out the morning after a festive night. From the officer’s point of view, there are far fewer fights to handle the next day when you no longer have your friends around to impress. And, oh yeah, those that specifically took (“Mom & Dad feel good”) precautions and went home in a taxi or with a designated driver are back on the road again, still impaired. A fine, points and license suspension might be your expectation. Living life in prison after killing a grandfather and three small grandchildren because you chose to drive intoxicated is heavy guilt to live with. (Recent case in our area.)

Okay! Those are some of the obvious. How about your eyesight? Have you found yourself driving with somebody in the vehicle and asking them, “What did that sign say?” That was my first clue that my eyesight was starting to fail. I was stunned by what I had been missing when I put my first pair of (old people) spectacles on. Stunned!!!

There are so many more things that I’d ask you to think about with how you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally on your own but, let’s move on to the vehicle.

Each time you approach a vehicle you intend to drive, do you look at

Nick with Awards
Nick Nicholson-Safety person 2016

the overall scene to see if something is out of place? Are all tires inflated and in good shape, is there anything hanging down, are there any puddles under it, are there any obstacles in your path, up-to-date license plates, are there any children around, and so on? Realistically, you should check under the hood. Just the other day, the lady across the street opened her hood to find a mother squirrel and her brood of babies nested right on top of the engine. It was a nice, warm, protected place for her to have her babies and it only cost the owner $625. to have the mess removed. Your own pet, chewed up by fan blades and belts when you start the engine …….. horrible! Explain that one to your child. You never have any idea what might have taken place in or around your vehicle since you last drove it.

Once inside, there are lights, (heads, parking, brakes, signals, 4-ways, dash, and interior) to check. Steering, gearing, fuel and brakes to check, heater, defroster, A/C and ventilation and of course, the one everybody forgets, your up-to-date driver’s license with you and your registration, insurance, and valid road-side assistance card, should you need it.

We haven’t even turned the key yet. What else should we consider? Again, have you been lucky, so far?

Keep your people safe.

The beauty of life is in your hands.

About the Author

Nick Nicholson, is a retired safety practitioner who spent many years researching the human behaviour factors of driver and pedestrian actions. Specifically, he spent 25 of those years devoted to highway crash investigations, regulatory compliance, the design, implementation and presentation of safety programs. Nick enjoyed many hours presenting professional driver enhancement training to adult participants.

As a long time Fleet Safety Council Member (1988) and the Founding Chair (1992-1995) of Council’s Hamilton-Niagara Chapter, he presents his opinions in hopes of improving the safety knowledge of readers. Nick is a firm believer in human advancement through positive attitudes, solution thinking and the understanding that the beauty of life is always in your hands.

Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions are his own and in no way reflect the opinions of Fleet Safety Council

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