Rarely a day goes by that my kids and I aren’t joking around with each other. They all have a good sense of humour and always seem to follow my lead. We recently started to play a game called “How Long?” where I ask them questions and they have to answer. Most of the questions are deemed funny so their answers are often funny as well. After playing this game with my kids, I thought it was a good thing to try with drivers. So here’s the first attempt of a serious version of “How Long?”
How long… will it take drivers to realize they can’t stop as quickly as the driver ahead of them does when they tailgate them? Your brain tells your eyes where to look, your eyes gets information and sends it back to your brain and then your brain tells your foot what to do. If you’re too close to the lead driver, you’re not giving your brain, eyes and foot a chance to move in time. This may explain why the rear crash is the most commonly reported collision in North America. Keep a minimum following distance of 2 seconds on dry roads but at least double it on slippery road surfaces.
How long… will you distract yourself each time you drive? Eat your snacks, lunch or dinner at home or where you bought it and stop eating while driving. Human reaction is to look down at what you may have dropped. Those 2 or 3 seconds could make a huge difference whether you can stop or not if the driver ahead of you stops quickly. Speaking of 2 or 3 seconds, would you ever think about closing your eyes for that length of time while driving? Of course not, but looking away from the driving scene for that length of time (including while you text) can have the same results.
How long… will drivers weave in and out of traffic only to stop at red lights? Speeding throughout traffic only to reach a red light sooner than everyone else wastes precious fuel. Not only will it waste fuel, it’s hard on your brakes and tires. That’s money out of your pocket a lot sooner than it should be. Each time I have a licensed driver in my vehicle that I’m retraining who does this, I ask them why they are doing it. They don’t really answer me.
How long… will you roll through stops instead of making a full stop? Most drivers are thinking of going when they approach a stop sign instead of stopping. The problem is if someone is going ahead of you at the cross street, you aren’t thinking about stopping and a collision could easily happen. Take those extra 2 seconds to stop and check to ensure the way is clear before proceeding. And yes, it only takes 2 seconds off your travel time each time you fully stop at a stop sign instead of rolling through it.
How long… will you travel without putting your seatbelt on? Too many drivers feel the short trip to the store doesn’t require a seatbelt. If you’re involved in a collision with another vehicle, including just around the corner from your home, your vehicle will come to a sudden stop, but your body becomes a projectile and heads toward the impact area. This may mean you can hit your head on the window causing serious injury or worse. It only takes a few seconds to put on the seatbelt and less to take it off. Make it a habit.
How long… will it take you to take driving more seriously and help become part of the solution, not the problem. It’s never too late to make changes.