Tag Archives: crashes

DEATH PENALTY ABOLISHED – 1976 – OR WAS IT?

As many of you know, I drove, dispatched, was Operations Manager, and Safety Manager for an airport shuttle service for a number of years. Something I noticed repeatedly over the years was the difference in collisions when the driver was alone as opposed to when passengers were being carried.

If you are aware of today’s enforcement focus on “distracted driving”, you will find many references to the use of cameras, phones, electronic devices, hands-free devices, consuming food or drink, smoking and talking to passengers. Of course, none of these things are “at-fault”. The driver is “at-fault.” This makes reasonable sense as we know that anything that takes your mind off your driving is a distraction.

According to some unknown authority, driving the QEW and the 401 are some of the busiest highways in North America, supposedly beating out California. Our drivers continually drove back and forth on those two highways, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. It didn’t take very long for our drivers to learn the regular traffic patterns of those highways. Many discussions took place among drivers as to the best lanes and routes to take at particular times of the day. Drivers often found streams of cars following behind their marked vehicles. People learned to follow them for the safest drive and to make the best time.

If memory serves me correctly, our passenger counts averaged around 1.5 million per year. That’s a lot of driving.

Yes, unfortunately, we had crashes but, we had very few passenger injuries. I contend that the reason for that was that our drivers drove differently when alone than when they had passengers on board. I believe they paid more attention to their driving, taking fewer chances when somebody was watching and they felt that responsibility.

Of course, freight drivers never get a chance to talk to passengers. Also, freight never talks back, it never gets sick on you, it never pees on your seats and it never fights with you or other passengers. As long as you drive right, the freight stays put. Ever think of that?

Taking what I’ve observed, I think distracted driving is a mental Nick-2015attitude that can be overcome. I believe if your mental attitude is tuned into your driving, you will not be distracted, even when something big and loud happens right beside you. You can train yourself to concentrate on what you are doing so that you don’t look away for any reason, including when something strikes you. Only you can take that kind of control. Sudden moves are the killers. If you can keep your vehicle steady and stable, regardless of what’s happening around you, you’re more likely to stay safe.

This is sometimes a hard lesson for winter drivers to understand. Stay off the brakes and avoid sudden, sharp, steering movements. It doesn’t matter if you are swimming, skydiving or driving, panic moves are killers. Never give up!

So, what can you take from this? When you turn that key, turn your brain on. Light it up and focus on what you are actually doing as if somebody is watching you. You still have a great responsibility to yourself, your passengers, other road users, your customers and those waiting for you at home.

Your job (paid or otherwise) is to get the trip done, the passengers off-loaded, and the load delivered safely. When that vehicle is running, you’re on the job! Pay attention to it as if you were facing the death penalty ……. because you are, every time you turn that key.

Keep your people safe.
The beauty of life is in your hands.
THINK SAFETY ……… EVERYWHERE ……….. ALL THE TIME

About the Author

Your Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions

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

TURN YOUR MIND TOWARD PREVENTION

I talk a lot about paying attention to hazards and that everybody should be aware. This is great if you can think of them when you need them, react to them and prevent an injury or other carnage.

Lets consider some things that happen in our daily lives that may seem frivolous at first. What is the most dangerous component of operating any vehicle? You, the operator, of course.  We must be competent, physically able, mentally able, without the effect of alcohol, drugs or any other stimulant. At the moment, I will not drive, not because I can’t, not because I haven’t got a licence but, because some heart doctor who knows a whole lot more than I do said so.  I’m not taking that chance. Can YOU learn anything here?

Now, I realize that all parts and pieces of vehicles need to be operating correctly in order for it to be safe but, have you ever considered what particular part(s) is the most dangerous to use? I would have to say the brakes.

Misused brakes have caused some of the most devastating heartbreaks for thousands of drivers and their families. Many happen because people react by jamming their foot on the brake when they should not be touching them at all.Many of us are capable of getting a vehicle going, winding up the speed, keeping it between the lines, and exceeding every safe driving principle that has ever been discussed.  The trouble arrives when something else comes into play and we need to stop safely.

Your vision is probably most important and then, having enough time to react to what you see. Next comes the slowing or stopping of the vehicle, considering all the facts you have such as things like, tire or other component conditions, weight of the vehicle, road conditions, weather conditions, other traffic and so on.

That’s just one of the many scenarios to living your life safely. Everything we do from getting out of bed to getting back in can have safety hazards that we have to circumvent to avoid damage or injury each day. I’ll avoid talking in-bed injuries!

So where do you begin?  In a previous article I stated: Prevent the kid from tripping over his own shoelace first and, in the worst case scenario circumstances, you may just save a life.”

Think about that for a second. Thousands of kids have run with Transforming into the Future Seminarshoelaces untied and got away with it. For the ones that didn’t, there were probably special circumstances like tripping and falling over a cliff, tripping and falling in front of a car, tripping and falling into a wood chipper. These dreamt up situations can keep getting worse and worse but, they could happen. As we can’t predict what may be coming other than, by tying up the shoelace, we can predict that the kid will not trip over it. One simple solution, if acted upon, may be all that it takes to actually save the life of your own kid. The key word there is “act”, right now.

Look at every simple thing you can find to pick out the hazards. Once you realize it’s a hazard, think about it, think what you could do to avoid or prepare for it in the future and act upon it. That carries right on up the scale to things you have to spend money on to rectify. New tires are expensive but, funerals far outweigh those costs especially, if there are several people in the crash.

If we want to stay safe and alive, then we have to be prepared to exercise the brain a bit to locate the faults that could damage us. Look at the mistakes of others to learn from them.  Look at crashes and injuries.  See if you can decipher what happened so that you can avoid it when faced with the same situation.

Sometimes, that’s the only good that comes out of horrible experiences – If you learn from it. Police reconstructionists usually respond to terrible crashes for legal purposes. To me, that’s a sick way of making lawyers wealthy. If we all could learn what not to do from these reconstructions and correct the faults for everyone before it happens again then, good may come out of it. Their reports are available but, you pay big bucks to get them.

I believe far more attention should be paid by governments to preventing future disasters than assessing blame. That’s the wrong thought process!

The millions that will be spent on the investigation and blame naming in the Humboldt Bus Crash for the benefit of legal profession could be much better spent on building a bridge over that intersection.  There are so many, cheaper things that could be done there and all other intersections that governments won’t even consider. That, to me, it is sinful. Now, there’s a place for the legal profession to shine.

Turn your mind toward prevention, utilize it and share it throughout your whole life.

Keep your people safe.

 The beauty of life is in your hands.

THINK SAFETY ……… EVERYWHERE ……….. ALL THE TIME

About the Author

Your Old Uncle Nicky’s Opinions

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

It’s your life – you need to be seen by others! by Nick Nicholson

Looking at recent TV news, I saw how three people died in a motorcycle/SUV crash. A young male driver and his female passenger on the motorcycle and the male driver of an SUV. Very tragic. Why?

Seeing the TV footage, it instantly told me that it was a “T-bone” collision. One vehicle crashes into the side of another. In this case, it was obvious to me that the motorcycle went into the driver’s door of a vehicle. It was also obvious by the amount of crush, that high speed on the part of the motorcycle was involved.

I don’t know what type of motorcycle was used but, I can almost Nick-2015guess it was one known as a “crotch rocket’ or what the medical profession refer to as a “donor cycle”. Why do they give it that name? Because nearly every person killed on one is young, healthy and have useable body parts for the medical organ donor programs. These are the people who seem attracted to this type of motorcycle. They seek excess speed and thrill. Their brains have not yet matured to the point of having a balanced fear. The old (fear-experienced) folks (not that they don’t die on motorcycles) tend to drive “cruisers” and take fewer chances.

So, let’s look at this type of collision and what may have caused it. I have no evidence, no reports, nor have I reconstructed the collision, so, this is total theory. First, this was preventable. Both drivers could have avoided it.

The SUV driver had a destination in mind for this trip. It included making a left turn at a city intersection according to the news commentator.

If the SUV driver looked before entering the intersecting pathway, how far do you suppose he looked. As human beings tend to drive by old habits rather than safety conscious thinking, the SUV driver would likely look as far one would normally (from experience) expect to see a vehicle coming that might intersect with his. Within a speed limited city, that would reasonably be around 500 feet. (150m). When no movement is detected during this two-second view, the driver automatically proceeds into the cross path. I can assume, in the best case scenario, that this is what happened. (Your defense? – look (study) as far as you can.)

On the motorcycle, the passenger normally has no control over the bike other than to scream her fear into the driver’s ear. Beyond that, hang on as tight as she could in hopes that somehow they get through every situation without touching anything. (Your defense? – if you don’t trust the driver to be sensible, stay home.)

This motorcycle driver had a serious judgment problem. For whatever reason, this driver chose to speed beyond the limits the engineer designed into that road for safety. When speeding beyond what people reasonably come to anticipate, your life’s expectancy drops dramatically. This fellow included his girlfriend and the other driver with him, taking their lives as well.

In no way am I recommending speeding but, in all scenarios with any kind of motorcycle, your visibility to others becomes paramount. Having lived in Southern Ontario for years I have made a point every Friday the 13th to watch motorcycles coming toward me on long stretches of highway. Thousands of motorcycles head to Port Dover on that date for a celebration that has become a tradition.

From the furthest distance away, the motorcycles that stand out first in any group, are those that when they get up close enough to see, have three headlights. Usually, they’re in a row across in-front-of the handlebars. From that discovery, I have always urged motorcyclists to install (at least) three headlights on their rides.

Human beings react to light and movement. As a motorcycle comes toward you, there is no sideways movement to draw your attention but a wide grouping of bright lights gives you a much better chance of seeing the bike. You notice it because it’s bright, wide and different.

There is a solution that is better. I have seen it on American bikes but not so much in Canada. Those are fluctuating or modulating headlights. The lights themselves, move up and down in a regular pattern which draws the eye because it is both light and movement at the same time. (like emergency vehicle headlights) This, to me, is the best safety precaution one could take to be seen on a motorcycle. These should be mandatory in my opinion. I have attached a link to a video of the “plug & play” modulating motorcycle light harness.

Fluctuating motorcycle lights video:

Learn more at: http://www.signaldynamics.com/plugandplay

The beauty of life is in your hands ……..
THINK ABOUT YOUR OWN SAFETY …… EVERYWHERE …… ALL THE TIME

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

Spring Seminar 2013 -Don’t Miss this Seminar.

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Spring Seminar 2013
Spring Seminar 2013