Yes, We Still Have To Share

Look Ahead!
Look Ahead!

Get Off The Road. Use The Sidewalk!  That is the voice of a driver I witnessed trying to edge a bicyclist off the road with his car.  Sadly, he did not read page 89 in the NYS Driver’s Manual and does not understand that even when we’ve outgrown the toddler stage, we must share the road if we are to arrive safely.

If we’ve  not been in their perilous position, we often under estimate the risk we drivers pose to those with whom we must share the road.  We must understand their needs if we are to share  the road safely.

If you were a bicyclist…you would not have the protection a car provides; you have only two tires and must swerve or suddenly change speed to avoid hazards, the right side of the road often contains hazards that will flatten your tire.  You are not as visible as a car.  The speed of a passing vehicle may cause you to lose control.  If you are hit by a car, your chance of serious injury is very real.

Understanding these risks can give the driver wisdom in how to reduce the risk to cyclists with whom we must share the road.  Slow down when approaching a cyclist, their life is no less valuable than yours.  What if you were on that bike?  Give them space.

Look into turns before moving into that direction, and check your blind spot on your right before making right turns.  Bicyclists are allowed to share the road with us and are also supposed to obey traffic devices.  Understand the meaning of hand signals, that is their means of communication.

Be smart.  Driving is never “all about me, baby.”  Let’s all enjoy the journey.  See you out there!

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Warning!

I am here to help...do you see why I am WARNING you?...
I am here to help…do you see why I am WARNING you?…

Did you notice all of those yellow, diamond-shaped signs posted along your journey? They are talking to you. “Warning…WARNING!,” shout those yellow signs as you pass quickly by.  They want you to know there is a change in the road ahead. Will you heed their warning?

Did you brake yet?  Failure to heed a warning can be tragic.
Did you brake yet? Failure to heed a warning can be tragic.

As you travel through life, the language may vary from place to place or country to country. Understanding the language makes the journey easier, because it sure can get confusing when you can’t communicate.

And communication is a two-way street. If you are not understanding, there could be real trouble ahead.

The roadways have their own language. Think about what could happen if we do not understand what those signs, signals, and markings are saying. If we miss the message, if we ignore or do not process the information along our journey, not only could we be headed for disaster, but we also put everyone in our car and others sharing the road, at risk. And our job is not to create risk.

A Responsible Driver will take time to understand the language of the road and make it their mission to recognize and reduce risk.

Along our life’s journey, there will be plenty of warnings. Some are loud and others may be just a whisper. If we train our minds to hear and heed those warnings, we can save ourselves from plenty of painful trouble. And life is never “all about me, baby” because every choice we make can affect those with whom we share the journey. Enjoy your journey!

Space Is Your Friend!

Tailgating. You are probably not feeling the love when vehicles behind you climb right on your backside. And you wonder, “Why do they have to get so close?”

Many of us get upset at the closeness of other vehicles and are tempted to “brake-check”. Not a wise choice, since you can get hit in the back end. “But,” you say, “then they can pay to have my car fixed. It serves them right.”

Seriously, you would want to put yourself through all that aggravation just to “teach someone a lesson”?

Do you “tailgate”? Or have you learned that giving people space is the best thing you can do for yourself?

Space is the best defensive driving technique there is. It gives you more thinking time, and it gives you the distance you need to stop before you hit something. The faster you are moving, the longer it takes to stop. It’s physics. And to accomplish that stop in optimum time and space, you also need a vehicle that is in good condition.

How much space do you need to reduce your risk in a crash? Most drivers say “a car length”. Some will recite the old driver’s education rule of “a car length per every ten miles per hour of speed.” But what is a car length? Are we talking a “smart car” or the limousine?

The easiest way to establish enough space is to watch as the vehicle directly in front of you passes a stationary object, such as a sign, telephone pole, etc. When the vehicle in front of you passes the object you selected, count “one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three.”

If you arrive at that mark before you count “three,” you are not leaving enough space between you and the vehicle ahead. The cool thing about counting to three is that it works regardless of the speed you are traveling. Simply counting to three eliminates the need to calculate car lengths. How easy is that?

Following too closely increases your risk of a crash. Responsible Drivers Recognize and Reduce Risk. Space is the Responsible Driver’s friend. It helps you reduce risk.

If you are sharing the road with larger vehicles, add more seconds. If you are behind the tractor trailer, you should have six seconds of space between you and them. Their blind spot is enormous.

Are you keeping your vehicle in good condition? Are you able to give others the space they need in order to avoid unnecessary conflict?