How good a driver are you?

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

Whether you’re going to the grocery store or right across the continent, there are certain things you should consider before moving. On the route you intend to travel, are there any things to consider? How about the weather, construction, road conditions, visibility (including dirty windows and sunglasses), what clothing you are wearing now and what you might need coming back, special events, school zones, traffic, and the list goes on. I’m sure you’re smart enough to think up others.

Pre-planning! You know, you can’t predict what is going to happen while on your trip. If you have to step out of the vehicle in traffic, are you going to be visible to others? A tear-away safety vest shoved down a door compartment can make quite a difference but, only if you have one and use it. Do you have any kind of a safety kit you could use if it becomes necessary?

A few years ago, not so far from me, there was a tanker (tractor-trailer) that was involved in a winter multi-lane highway crash between two small towns. It burst into flames. A number of other vehicles burned with it and unfortunately, there were two deaths. There is one big danger in any crash you need to avoid. Stay inside your vehicle until all traffic has come to a complete stop.

The fire and the deaths were only a part of the problem. I was told by a number of transport drivers at the time that, for whatever reason, the police would not allow people in stopped traffic, access to anything. I did ask and I’ve never found any official who would explain it. Their response was always an embarrassing silence.

Check out the video of the crash

This is how I recall the incident:

Picture this! A four-lane major highway stopped in both directions for several km/miles (to the first exits) on either side of the collision. In each direction, approaching the scene is trapped traffic filling all lanes and, across the median is a totally empty highway. Large vehicles could not turn around. The police arranged for lunch trucks, water supplies, portable toilets, etc. to go to the collision scene to supply the first responders. They WOULD NOT allow those service vehicles to assist any members of the public trapped in their vehicles some, for over 24 hours. Local businesses delivered free pizzas, bottled water, etc, to overpasses and had to lower them down the banks because police would not allow them to go down onto the highway. Trapped people had to walk for miles to get anything at all. Meanwhile, lunch trucks kept passing on the clear side to and from the crash scene. You never know what you might be facing. Make some preparations ahead of time. (water, food, first aid, toilet, seasonal clothing, gloves, jumper cables, tow rope, and so on.)

We still haven’t moved out of the yard. 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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