Summertime Driving Challenges

Summer is finally here?  The kids are out of school, families begin to plan and leave on holidays and a whole new list of challenges present themselves to drivers.

What challenges does summertime driving present on and off the job?

Kids are out of school and can be anywhere…they are excited to be out in the sunshine playing and may not take care to look both ways before entering the street

Many more cyclists can be expected.  These include: those little ones just learning and wobbling around with or without training wheels, experienced cyclists touring the countryside loaded with camping gear, racers training for the next event, recreational cyclists on mountain bikes

  • Slow moving recreational vehicles driven by folks who are less than experienced in these larger vehicles
  • Tourist drivers unfamiliar with roads and possibly driving slow and lost
  • Pedestrians of every type and description
  • Tourists, if you are in an area where there are attractions, campgrounds or resorts;
  • Sightseers around landmarks or parks
  • People out for a cool evening stroll
  • Excessive heat can affect drivers in negative ways

Summertime can also create challenges for vehicles.  So if you are planning, plan to have your vehicle checked.

What are the best ways to manage these challenges?

Children

Anywhere that there may be children around, slow down and take extra care to think and look ahead.

Anticipate where children may be coming from and cover your brake if you are in doubt at all about where they may come from.

Remember, we all teach our kids to be safe around traffic, but some learn faster than others!

Cyclists

Dealing with cyclists can be frustrating, particularly if they are slow and in your lane where you don’t have room to pass.

Every cyclist has different skill levels and capabilities and a different attitude towards traffic.  When you encounter a cyclist on the road, remember to SHARE THE ROAD responsibly.  They are not permitted to ride on the sidewalks and gravel shoulders are difficult and dangerous for most road bikes; they are required to be on the roadway and it’s everyone’s responsibility to share.

Take a breath, be patient and wait till you can pass safety.  NEVER crowd a cyclist as you pass.

Recreational Vehicles

You may be in a hurry to get to your destination, but remember these motorists are on holiday!  They may be less concerned about time and speed.

The driver may not be experienced in this size vehicle.  Watch out, particularly for rentals/Motorhomes, often these drivers have no experience at all!

If you are driving in mountainous areas, you may find that many Motorhomes are underpowered, overloaded and SLOW!  Be patient with these drivers as they are likely going uphill as fast as they can!

If you are the Driver, take every opportunity to pull over if you are holding up traffic and let others pass.  This is much safer than waiting for the guy behind you to attempt an unsafe pass.

Tourists

Maintaining patience behind a lost tourist is challenging but it’s the only option.  Give them a break and time to figure out what they are doing.

When you are traveling, check your maps first and use a satenav.  Pull over if you are lost or uncertain to re-orient yourself.  Avoid last minute turns or lane changes.  It’s safer to go around the block or come back if you miss a turn.

Don’t ruin your holiday with an accident!

Pedestrians

Pay particular attention in summer for pedestrians.

Scan intersections and make sure that you should check before turning.  In heavily trafficked tourist areas, keep your speed very low.  Be aware that around lakes, beaches and parks, some of the pedestrians may have been drinking and taking chances.

Vehicle Preparation

Check your vehicle to make sure that it’s ready for summer driving.

One of the most common failures is the cooling system.  Check your coolant levels regularly and top up when needed.

If you are towing a trailer, make sure that your vehicle is rated to tow the weight and has the capability to slow and stop it on the downgrades.

Make sure that you secure camping or recreational equipment in the vehicle so that it doesn’t move around or obstruct vision.

Have a great holiday!

www.fleetdrivingsolutions.com

Choose your Attitude

Even the best of drivers can let their driving deteriorate when their attitude starts to slide.

What attitudes can turn a normally good driver into a risk-taking one?

  • A feeling that everyone is out to get me or hold me up.
  • Judgements about other driver’s actions ‘everyone else is a lousy driver‘ that leads to frustration.
  • Angry feelings that may have no connection with driving until you are behind the wheel like a fight with the boss, spouse, kids or co-worker.
  • A need to be right or ‘WIN‘ in a situation
  • Can you think of more?

These things are called personal factors and they influence our driving behaviour if we let them.

Attitudes are a combination of what we are thinking and feeling. These are things that we have control over at least to some degree. Someone, when regularly cultivates strong negative feelings and thinking including anger and blame, will often have what is called a ‘bad attitude‘ but this is just a reflection of their emotional state

What kind of driving behaviour can result from negative attitudes?

  • Aggressive driving like speeding or cutting others off.
  • Retaliation and road rage
  • Vehicle abuse
  • What others can you think of?

Taking personal responsibility for our thinking, feelings and attitudes is key to safe driving. When you are behind the wheel, it’s your responsibility to drive defensively regardless of the pressures that may invite you towards negative thinking and emotion.

If you believe yourself to be a good driver, realize that most others are not as skilled as you and give them a break!

Don’t expect perfection; in fact, expect poor driving from others and take the high road by not reacting negatively. Remind yourself about everything that you have to be grateful for in life. It sounds simplistic but if we forget that we have so much to be grateful for, and start focusing on the negatives, we can easily get caught up in an attitude slide.

  • Give the other person a break regularly and make sure that if someone gives you a break to return a friendly wave.
  • Remind yourself regularly that you are in control of your own emotional weather and that it’s your thinking that most determines if you have a sunny disposition or a stormy one!

Fleet Driving Solutions, providing fleet and advanced driving training services to companies throughout the UK. Call 0203 633 4682 or 07919 193299

 

Watch Out For Motorbikes!

As we move into summer, it’s worth talking about some of the road users that begin to appear when the weather improves. Motorcyclists are one of the most vulnerable groups to injury or fatality when involved in collisions.

When a crash happens involving a motorcycle and other vehicle, who is typically found at fault?

It’s most often the fault of the OTHER DRIVER…. SURPRISED?

In fact when it’s not a single vehicle incident involving the motorcycle, it’s usually the other driver who has made a mistake that resulted in the accident.

What is the most common place and type of collision involving a motorcycle and other vehicle?

There are certainly many places where vehicles can collide; but the most common place for another vehicle and a motorcycle to collide is at an intersection when the other driver is turning left or right and turns in front of the motorcyclist.

Why does this happen? (a driver turning in front of an oncoming motorcycle)

There are 2 primary reasons that this can happen:

  • The driver of the other vehicle simply did not see the motorcycle. Motorcycles are smaller and more difficult to see and many drivers don’t think to actually watch for them.
  • Speed: The driver of the other vehicle DOES see the motorcycle but thinks he has time to turn because he misjudges the approach speed.

Tailgating Tips:

Motorbikes are vulnerable road users; they do not have the protection that a car or Lorry has. Almost, always result in injury.

If you expect to see motorbikes, you are more likely to detect them. Often we can filter out the things we don’t expect and just not see them Always look for motorbikes especially at intersections

Motorbikes are much more lighter than other vehicles and can stop in much shorter distances. This means that when you are following a motorbike, you should leave more distance. If the rider has to make an emergency stop, the bike will stop in  a much shorter distance than your vehicle.

When you see a motorcycle approaching, realize that it’s easy to misjudge the speed because the size of the cycle and the fact that its coming towards you makes it difficult to estimate speed.

  • Keep Your Eyes Up – It’s tempting to look down and over the bonnet of the car at the centre line or the tail lights in front of you, but this can cause several problems. When your eyes are looking downward over the bonnet, steering can become choppy and require many more adjustments, and frequently you will either cut corners or run wide. It’s much more effective to keep your eyes up and this practise prepares you for the next technique.
  • Eye Lead Time – Look 12 to 15 seconds ahead of where your vehicle is at any given time. As your speed increases, so will the distance you look ahead if you always look for this time interval.
  • Move Your Eyes – This takes practice and intent. Look right, left, ahead and into the mirrors and as you look, identify potential problems so that you can decide what you will do about them. Moving your eyes is particularly important to see things to the side because your peripheral vision becomes increasingly ineffective as your speed increases.
  • See the Big Picture – By moving your eyes, you get a ‘big picture’ perspective of the traffic environment and your place in it. Pilots call this ‘situational awareness’ and it helps you to make good decisions about speed and movement such as lane changes, well in advance.
  •  Eye Contact – The only way to know if another driver sees you is to make eye contact with them. If they are looking at you and you see them making eye contact with you, you can be fairly sure (but not guaranteed) that they see you. If another driver is moving into your space and you want to establish eye contact, a light tap on the horn will attract their attention.

Practical Challenge:

For the next week, make a point of watching for motorcycles and develop a habit of identifying them as soon as you can. Be especially careful at intersections/junctions!

Fleet Driving Solutions, providing fleet driving training services to companies throughout the UK. Call 0203 633 4682