Drive like a superhero
Recently I’ve been watching many of the Marvel comic movies, which include Ironman, Thor, Hulk, Spiderman and many more. Watching the movies in the prescribed order makes more sense and is a lot of fun. They’re not just heroes. They’re SUPERheroes. They help keep their communities safe. When I was recently teaching a group of novice drivers, one of the students compared a good driver to that of a superhero. Let me explain.
As a good driver, positioning your vehicle to protect yourself ALSO helps to protect other drivers. Driving beside space in a staggered positioning gives the driver next to you room to move if they get startled and swerve or if they begin to skid sideways. This positioning is easy enough in light or moderate traffic, but in heavy traffic it can become more difficult. Just like when a superhero faces a tough opponent, they have to work harder to defeat them. A driver in heavy traffic also has to work harder to create and maintain a staggered position. When you adjust speed to help you and the other drivers drive beside space, you’re saving them from a potential collision.
When multiple vehicle crashes happen, it often means one or more drivers didn’t have the proper following distance from the vehicle in front of them. Tailgating is a selfish action, which doesn’t help you reach your destination any sooner. If you’re being tailgated and can’t change lanes to avoid them, increase your following distance. You can still drive as fast as the drivers in your lane, but if the drivers ahead of you have to brake hard, you won’t have to brake as hard since you have more space in front of you. If you don’t have to brake hard, the driver behind you won’t have to brake hard either, this saves them (and you) from being involved in a read crash.
It’s a fact – red lights don’t stop vehicles. Drivers stop vehicles. So why trust a green light to know that it’s safe to enter the intersection? You can help the opposing driver who is running the red light to avoid a crash. Remember how you were taught as a kid to look both ways before crossing the street? The same can be said about before you drive across the street. If you spot a driver approaching the intersection from your left or right, compare their speed as they pass stationary items, such as fence posts, buildings, light posts, etc. If you don’t see the speed of their vehicle changing, you know they haven’t seen the red light and aren’t going to stop in time. If you begin this scan of the intersection before you get there, you’ll have time to identify the driver running the light in time to stop before you get into their path. This means you can help them stop becoming involved in an intersection.
These are just a few ways you, the driver, can help prevent other drivers from being involved in collisions. Create space and always be on the lookout for another road user who needs your help to prevent another collision. Your actions can save others…just like a superhero would do. Now you just have to think of a good superhero name. How about “Captain Good Driver” or “Wonder Driver”? I’ll keep working on it.