Friday, February 27, 2009

Making Right Decisions in Changing Circumstances

Dear Friends in Safety,

Prudence is a virtue. Humans have heard this since ancient times. But, what is prudence, and what does is have to do with driving behavior today?

Recently I came across a definition for prudence that can be easily adapted to our driving behavior. "Prudence is practical wisdom for making right decisions in changing circumstances."

What does this mean for us?

As drivers we are constantly bombarded with changing circumstances - weather, lane changes, congestion, stop signs, adjusting speed, behavior of other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, skateboarders, and more. In short, every venture out on the road requires prudence; that is the ability to take what we know and put it into practice through the decisions we make behind the wheel. This means:

  • Stopping at Stop Signs - Remember, STOP! TAKE 3 TO SEE™ (Come to a complete stop. Look Left, Look Right, Look Right again - and look ahead. Make sure the coast is clear of traffic, pedestrians, cyclists before you drive on).
  • Obeying Speed Limits, and adjusting our speed according to conditions - weather, presence of children playing, pedestrians, cyclists, construction, etc.
  • Practicing safe space management - the distance between our vehicle and the ones around us (front, back, and beside). Remember the 3 second rule. Fix on an object ahead. This could be a sign, bridge, or any fixed object. Notice when the vehicle in front of you passes that object, then count to see if it takes you 3 seconds or more to pass the same object. If so, you are practicing good space management (although you need to adjust to leave more time and space in bad weather). See "It's Not a Race! Create Space"
  • Buckling up every one, every trip, every time. No exceptions. Most crashes occur near home. We can be so familiar with the environment in which we travel that we don't take necessary precautions to keep ourselves and others safe. If you need convincing, just view this video - Video Evidence -Seat Belts FASTENATING!
  • Do not talk or text on a cellphone (even if you are talking on a hands-free device). Studies show that verbal tasks such as talking on a cell phone distract drivers from paying attention to all that is going on around them as they drive. The #1 priority for each of us behind the wheel is to pay attention to the task of driving above and beyond all else.

    This is just a starter list. You are invited to "be prudent" and put what you know about driving into practice each and every time you get behind the wheel.

    Happy and safe motoring!

    In safety,
    Tom Everson
    Executive Director
    KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25® - A “For Action” Organization -501(c) (3)

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