You’re Driving Insensitively and Don’t Realize It – Part 3

Check your blind spot.

You’re Driving Insensitively

You think you’re pretty good behind the wheel, right? Here’s part 3 of what you might be doing while on the road. See parts 1 & 2 in our last week’s posts.

  • Using your signal after you start changing lanes
    Check your blind spot, then hit your blinker, then change lanes.
  • Scaring cyclists
    One of the biggest gripes of cyclists is when vehicles cut them off when passing or pass them too close. Cutting off anyone is rude, but it’s downright dangerous when a cyclist is involved. Cyclists are people too, guys, with the same feelings and rights to the road as everyone else. Wait until you see them fully in your rearview mirror before you get back in front of them.
  • Moving the steering wheel when you check your blind spot
    It’s astonishing how many people do this. In the act of turning your head to check your blind spot, you move your shoulders. As a result, your arms move. And the steering wheel moves. And before you know it, you’re already turning. Keep your arms steady.

Come back this week for part 4, to see what else you may be doing without realizing it. See parts 1 & 2 in last weeks posts.

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You’re Driving Insensitively and Don’t Realize It – Part 2

Think you’re pretty good behind the wheel, right? Here’s part 2 of what you might be doing while on the road. See Part 1 in Monday’s post.

Don’t be that guy.

Driving in the left lane on the highway
Continuously driving in the left lane at all, even if you’re going at or above the speed limit, is illegal in most states. It’s for passing only, with obvious exceptions in times of heavy traffic.

It’s not a feature, it’s a necessity.

Screwing up the flow of traffic by either not using a turn signal…
Information on your turn would’ve been good to know 10 seconds ago so others aren’t waiting unnecessarily for you.

… or using it too early
By that same token, if I’m turning right, and you’re driving along with your blinker on, how are others supposed to know that you have no intention of turning?

Come back next week for part 3, to see what else you may be doing without realizing it.

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You’re Driving Insensitively and Don’t Realize It

You see that big solid white stripe? Sure, you do.

Driving Insensitively – Part 1

You think you’re pretty good behind the wheel, right? And you also probably think you’re surrounded by hordes of morons on the road. Sounds about right — a few years ago, Allstate commissioned a study where drivers rated themselves, and two-thirds said they considered themselves “very good” or “excellent” drivers, but were much less complimentary about 80% of everyone else.

What does this mean? It means you’re almost definitely driving insensitively, just like the rest of us. Here are just a few of the little things you’re probably guilty of doing at one point or another without even realizing it.

  • Stopping too far out in an intersection
    You see that big solid white stripe? Sure, you do. It’s there for a reason, which is why you should stop your car behind it. Not in front of it, not on it, not on it just a little bit. Behind it. Otherwise, you’re forcing pedestrians to walk that much closer to traffic as they go around you.
    It also blocks the view of anyone in the right lane who wants to turn right on red. If they can’t see around you, there’s no way for them to know it’s safe, and they’re more likely to take a gamble. And if you’re in the left lane, you’re putting yourself too close to the oncoming cars that are turning left from the perpendicular street.
     
  • Creeping forward at a red light
    There are two types of red-light creepers in this world. The first is the impatient fool at the front of the line who thinks edging forward is somehow going to make the light change faster. It isn’t. The second is the guy behind you who stopped weirdly far away and is now slowly edging forward and distracting you in the rear-view mirror with his intermittent scooting.

Come back Wednesday for part 2, to see what else you may be doing without realizing it.

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Proper Highway Driving

This is a touchy point with all drivers, and everyone has their own opinion on what is acceptable driving speed in the left lane.

There is proper driving etiquette everyone needs to follow

No Matter if you are an aggressive driver or a passive driver, want to drive 20 MPH over the speed limit or drive 5 MPH under the speed limit there is proper driving etiquette everyone needs to follow.  We have all seen the out of control driver that is tailgating then passing dangerously close can be just as hazardous as the vehicle driving far too slow for highway speeds.  If you are hauling a precarious load or aren’t comfortable driving at highway speed, then you need to avoid the highway all together.  Not only are you a danger to yourself but to all other drivers on the highway too.  Not following proper driving etiquette adds to traffic congestion and backups; if everyone stays aware of their surroundings, road conditions and follows the flow of traffic we all can arrive at our destinations quicker and safer.

Passing Lane Not the “Fast” Lane

This is a touchy point with all drivers, and everyone has their own opinion on what is acceptable driving speed in the left lane.  The term “fast” lane is very subjective and everyone’s definition of fast is different.  That is why the left lane is and should be referred to as the passing lane and not the “fast” lane.  This will put all confusion to rest as to what the appropriate speed to travel in the left lane is.  The left lane(s) are used for passing, so if you are not passing a vehicle then you should not be driving in the left lane.  After passing slower traffic you should return to the right lane as soon as you can safely.

Stay aware of other drivers and changing road conditions to stay safe with ever present summer road construction.  Let’s all work together to keep each other safe and moving fluidly on the highways this summer, with road construction and quickly changing Wisconsin weather already impeding us we don’t need any more obstacles.  Don’t be afraid to hit the highway this summer in your Toyota Camry and be sure to follow proper driving etiquette.

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Headlight Safety

Properly functioning and aimed headlights are always important.

Headlights should be maintained as any other vehicle system

When it comes to car maintenance, vehicle owners usually worry about the BIG things – like tire care, oil changes and brakes. But what about the seemly small things that make a huge difference for safety? Like headlights.

While properly functioning and properly aimed headlights are always important, during this season darker hours and icy conditions, they’re necessary. Driver vision is compromised at night, negatively impacting depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision – so properly functioning headlights are for your safety and the safety of other drivers.

  • Headlights should be maintained as any other vehicle system. This inexpensive maintenance routine can save your life, and the life of others on the road. Please give our car repair team a call with questions or concerns about headlight safety!
  • Restore cloudy headlights. Cloudiness in a headlight is caused by degradation from the sun, reducing and diffusing the light going through the lenses. You can restore them yourself with a DIY kit.
  • Adjust the aim. A headlight that is not adjusted properly will not project light down the road. It may also be aimed in the eyes of other drivers.
  • Always swap in pairs. Replace headlights before a burnout and in pairs. Only swapping one at a time can cause an uneven field of vision for drivers.

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Roadway Hazards

Part of your responsibility as a driver is to do your best to drive safely and avoid an accident. Under normal driving conditions, if all drivers on the road are driving carefully and obeying traffic laws, that might not be too difficult. Unfortunately, some accidents are caused by unforeseen circumstances. To help you avoid an accident while driving, we would like to offer tips for dealing with three common things you may encounter while driving.

Traffic Light Out

Most drivers will, at some point, encounter a traffic light which is not working correctly. If police officers or other authorized personnel are directing traffic, do as they tell you. If temporary stop signs have been put in place, obey those.  If neither of these things has happened, as is often the case, treat the intersection as though everyone has a stop sign. Wait your turn and proceed cautiously. This will help to prevent accidents.

Flat Tire on the Freeway

When possible, take the next exit and park your vehicle in a parking lot if you experience a flat tire while driving on the freeway. When that is not possible, steer your vehicle to the side of the road and park as far off the roadway as possible. Turn on your emergency flashers. Because traffic is going by so quickly, for your own safety, it is best to stay in your vehicle rather than try to get out and fix the tire. Call for tow truck or emergency personnel or wait for the appropriate authorities to arrive.

Debris in the Road

Debris lie on a road as Hurricane Isaac passes through New Orleans, Louisiana, August 29, 2012. Hurricane Isaac drove water over the top of a levee on the outskirts of New Orleans on Wednesday, but the multibillion-dollar barriers built to protect the city itself after the 2005 Katrina disaster were not breached, officials said. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

When safe, drive around debris in the roadway or stop to avoid hitting it. This only works if you can see the debris early enough to avoid it. Switch lanes or otherwise drive around the debris when it is safe to do so. If the option is running over the debris or hitting another vehicle, go for the debris. Slow down as much as possible and avoid puncturing your tires when possible. If you hit the debris, particularly if you think it may have damaged your vehicle, pull off the road at a safe location and check for any damage. Quora.com has even better problem faced by car drivers on the road: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-top-5-problems-faced-by-car-drivers-on-the-road

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Mature Drivers

Older drivers bring knowledge and experience to the workplace

Older drivers bring knowledge and experience to the workplace. By 2020, 25 percent of workers in the United States will be 55 or older. But this group is not without risk. According to NIOSH, motor vehicle crashes account for 32 percent of all work-related deaths among workers 55 or older.

Although not everyone ages the same way, an older worker’s ability to drive may be affected by several factors related to aging, including declining eyesight and hearing; arthritis, which can make gripping the steering wheel difficult; and decreased motor skills, memory and the ability to make quick decisions.

NIOSH urges older workers to speak to their supervisors if they are experiencing driving issues to discuss alternatives to driving, such as attending meetings via phone or video conference or changing work schedules to drive during less busy times.

Also, NIOSH recommends employers reduce the amount of driving older workers do and “set policies that allow drivers to consult with their supervisors to adjust driving hours if they have trouble seeing at night, and to stop driving if they are too tired or the weather is bad.”

As with all age groups, older employees can help keep themselves and other motorists safe by following safe driving practices, including not driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol or prescription medications; always wearing seat belts; not driving distracted; and maintaining good health by exercising regularly, eating healthy foods and getting annual health screenings.

Employers can help promote safe driving habits by creating clear policies about driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, promoting worker health through workplace wellness programs and activities, and requiring workers to take driver training. The National Institute on Aging has a page dedicated for learning all about older drivers: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/older-drivers

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Use Your Turn Signals!

Drivers neglect to use their turn signals approximately 750 billion times per year.

Perhaps it is time for a bit of empirical evidence. According to a study by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International,

  • Drivers neglect to use their turn signals approximately 750 billion times per year.
  • Drivers neglect to use their turn signal 25% of the time when making a turn.
  • Drivers neglect to use their turn signal 48% of the time while changing lanes.
  • Drivers neglect to turn off their turn signals 48% of the time after changing lanes.

When people don’t use their turn signals, they are contributing to an environment in which other drivers have less control. A turn signal isn’t just a signal, it’s a warning. The use of a turn signal allows other drivers to notice the change in their surroundings and react appropriately. And if they’re decent people, they’re likely to react in a way that benefits your own safety, perhaps by giving you adequate space to change lanes on a busy highway. 

Because of this behavior, the study concluded that the number of yearly car crashes in the U.S. that can be attributed to this issue is approximately two million, more than double the amount of crashes that are a result of distracted driving (950,000). This means that nearly 20% of all crashes in the U.S. occurred because one or more drivers failed to alert other drivers to an upcoming turn or lane change.

The BuzzFeed hammered reasons for signaling here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/turn-signals

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Insuring Your Vehicle

Insurance agent cataloging damages.

Check out the Competition

You might be familiar with a few scenarios that could make your auto insurance rates change: You bought a new car, moved, got in a car accident, or even got married or graduated from school. In all these cases, it’s important to shop around for car insurance to ensure you’re getting adequate coverage — at the right rate — to meet your needs.

Even if you’re happy with your car insurance company, simply checking out the competition on a regular basis can help keep your current rate low because it indicates to your insurance company that you’re on the lookout for better deals, and your insurer will, therefore, be motivated to keep you.

Insurance rates and policy details vary widely by insurer and by person. If you get a quote from a dozen insurance companies, many of the quotes might look quite similar, while others might show your premium varying by hundreds of dollars. Even if your rates and coverage were equal among a handful of insurance companies, we remind you: It’s not all about price.

Insurance is intended to protect you when you need it — legally, medically, financially. You want to make sure you choose the company and service that meets your needs and has your back. If you’re not getting that support, you might consider changing insurance companies. MSN has a list of 12 things your insurance agent knows that you don’t: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/autoinsurance/12-things-your-auto-insurance-agent-knows-that-you-dont/ar-BB7QdgM

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Share the Road with Motorcycles and Bicycles

Watch out for motorcycles in traffic.

Bicycles

It is important to become aware of how to share the road with bicycles. They may not be easily seen in traffic, and drivers must be alert and extra careful when approaching them. Keep these pointers in mind when driving near bicyclists:

  • Bicycles are legally entitled to use the road and should be treated as vehicles.
  • Drivers must yield to bicyclists as you would for pedestrians and other vehicles.
  • Drivers must yield the right-of-way to a bicyclist when a bicycle path or bike lane intersects a road.
  • When approaching or passing a bicyclist, slow down and allow as much space as possible.
  • If you are about to make a right turn, do not pass a bicyclist immediately before the turn, slow down and let the cyclist clear the intersection before making your turn.
  • When making turns, watch carefully for bicyclists entering your lane.
  • Be especially careful if you see children riding bikes on the sidewalk. They may come onto the road.
  • Check for bicyclists in your path before backing.
  • Be especially cautious near schools or residential areas where bicyclists may be present.
  • When parking your vehicle, check your mirrors before opening your door. Use your right hand to open the door, so you will automatically look over your left shoulder for oncoming cyclists and pedestrians.

Motorcycles

Motorcycles have the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles. Because of their size, they are also more difficult to see. Danger exists because the motorcyclist is exposed and has no protection should a collision occur.

  • Do not share a lane with a motorcycle. They have the right to use a complete traffic lane, and they need space to react to other traffic and road conditions.
  • Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots, by turning your head and looking before entering or leaving a lane of traffic, and at intersections.
  • Before turning left, be alert for motorcycles by looking carefully to the front and sides of your vehicle.
  • When following a motorcyclist, allow at least a 4 second following distance or more in wet conditions. Motorcycles can stop quickly and may have to suddenly to avoid obstacles.

Here’s a downloadable PDF file that explains more on safety for motorcycles from the NHTSA: https://icsw.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/motorcycle/ShareTheRoad/images/ShareTheRoadwithMotorcycles.pdf

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