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  1. 1. Student GuideUNIT 2: The Driver ReviewReview topics covered in Unit Two:Unit 2. The Driver2.1 Driver Readiness 2.1.1 Know Your Destination 2.1.2 Physical Readiness 2.1.3 Mental Readiness 2.1.4 Proper Seat Position 2.1.5 Preparation for a CrashEven though you are a good driver, you cant be sure a crash wont happen to you. Driving presents acontinuous series of unexpected scenarios that you have to anticipate, make decisions and react to.Each time you drive, assume that you will be in a crash. There are important things to do to preparefor the crash and lower your risk of being hurt.Just like any other job or task there is a list of things that need to be complete before getting behindthe wheel. Before starting the engine, be sure YOU, the DRIVER are ready!Before getting behind the wheel, it is important to know where you are going and the best route to getthere. Being in control of a vehicle requires physical and mental well being. Safe driving also requiresyou to be in the correct seating position to be able to see, steer, accelerate and brake efficiently.Know Your Destination and RouteDrivers can avoid getting lost, wasting gas and arriving late by knowing the destination and safestroute before driving. Plan your route and departure times to avoid construction, hazards, and heavytraffic. Try to avoid high pedestrian areas and rush hour when other drivers are distracted and in ahurry. It is also a good idea to have an alternative route if you encounter a road closure or heavycongestion.If you have never driven to your destination, reference a map and know your directions before gettingbehind the wheel. Also, leave in plenty of time to allow for delays.Check the weather report before driving.Prepare for wet weather or driving in ice and snow. If the weather is extreme, use an alternative routeif available and/or departure time.Physical ReadinessWhen you drive, you get information from all your senses. You see, hear, smell and feel the motion ofthe vehicle - all this input helps you to be aware of your driving environment, predict what mighthappen, assess what to do and react.Most of the information you process while driving is visual. Your ability to see well is critical.Copyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 1 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved
  2. 2. VisionDont drive where you cant see! Before driving be sure you can focus on things near and far away. Ifvision is impaired by such things as allergies or an eye exam, have someone else drive.HearingWhile driving, your hearing gives you information about your driving situation that you might not beable to see.Screeching brakes warn you of an emergency that might involve your vehicle. Sirens from emergencyvehicles, honking horns, train whistles, and mechanical noises from your vehicle provide importantinformation that lead to driving decisions.SmellYour sense of smell can tell you if your engine is hot or your vehicle is leaking gas. Smell can also warnyou of the presence of exhaust fumes - all of these sensory warnings tell you there is an emergencyyou have to deal with.Dont drive hurt!In order to react quickly and operate your steering wheel, brake and accelerator, all the muscles andparts of your body that are used to move, push and pull these controls must be responsive and strongenough to safely make these maneuvers.Mental ReadinessMental readiness is hard to assess but train yourself to do it. Be aware of your mental and emotionalwell being. Extreme emotions such as anger, depression, sorrow, and anxiety can affect your ability tostay focused on the driving task. Excitement and happiness can also interfere with your ability to focuson driving. After an emotional event, such as a close football game, calm down and control strongemotions before getting behind the wheel.Proper Seat PositionYour vehicles passenger compartment and seat is designed for you to be in a specific position to "fit"and operate your primary controls: • Accelerator • Steering wheel • BrakeFor best control and comfort, driver readiness includes positioning yourself in the proper seatedposition and secured in that position with the vehicle seat restraint system. The seat position is easy topractice and remember if you make it a habit. The correct seating position relative to your controls iscritical.Copyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 2 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved
  3. 3. You need to reach the controls without stretching or being cramped. Dont sit too close or to far fromthe steering wheel. Improper position can impair your ability to control the vehicle and will increasefatigue on an extended drive.Guidelines for proper seat position: 1. Sit directly behind the steering wheel. Sit straight and all the way back in the seat. Your lower back should be firm against the seat back. 2. Dont sit any closer than 10 - 12 inches from the steering wheel. In a crash, airbags explode within this zone and could cause neck, arm or facial injury. When your hands are on the wheel, your elbows should rest comfortably at your side. 3. Position your seat so your right heel rests on the floorboard and you can easily pivot your foot to operate the accelerator, brake and clutch pedals. Position the height of the seat so you can see the roadway without obstruction. 4. Adjust your head restraint so it is even or above the top of your ears. 5. Lock yourself in this position using your safetybelt. This system is designed to keep you in place for optimal control during a driving emergency. Fasten your safetybelt!Prepare for Your CrashOther drivers surround you that are sick, inattentive and distracted. You can not predict if or when youwill be in a crash. Prepare yourself for a crash before you put your vehicle in motion.Secure yourself and everything else in your vehicle. Fasten your safetybelt and have all passengersbuckle up. Place all loose objects in the trunk or secure them in the cargo carrier.Before starting the engine, ensure you have no unnecessary diversions such as tuning the radio,loading CDs, eating or drinking.Driver readiness means you are physically fit and mentally focused on the task of driving.2.2 Occupant Protection 2.2.1 Vehicle Protection 2.2.2 Safety belts 2.2.3 Airbags 2.2.4 Head Restraints 2.2.5 Child Passenger RestraintsHave you ever asked yourself why so much emphasis is put on wearing a seatbelt?During a crash, three, count them, three collisions occur: 1. The vehicle hitting an object (other car, tree, brick wall). 2. The occupant hitting the inside of the vehicle (driver thrown against windshield, passenger thrown from back to front seat). 3. The inside organs and tissue of the occupants hitting his/her skeletal structure (brain moving forward until it hits the skull, heart ripped from arteries until hitting the ribcage).Copyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 3 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved
  4. 4. Whenever an object is in motion, it will continue to travel forward until it is stopped. Automotiveengineers designed your vehicle to help reduce injuries and fatalities resulting from crashes.There are several impact and restraint systems installed in your vehicle to absorb the energy of a crashand act as a buffer so your occupants injuries are reduced.After a crash, always have your impact and restraint systems checked and reinstalled (if necessary) bycertified professionals.Your vehicle is designed to be a "bumper-to-bumper" energy sponge. The systems in place to protectyou from the force of impact in a collision #1 include: 1. The vehicles frame(designed to crumple) 2. The body (designed to crumple) 3. Passenger cage (steel enclosure designed not to crumple), seatbelts, airbags and head restraints (designed to absorb energy and reduce injury)Safetybelts, airbags and head restraints are designed to work together and protect you and yourpassengers from collision #2 (occupant hitting the inside of the passenger cage).As the driver, it is your responsibility to ensure you and all of your passengers are in position andproperly restrained.SafetybeltsSafetybelts are designed to keep adult bodies secured while traveling in the vehicle. Safetybelts shouldbe worn at all times to keep the driver in proper position to control the vehicle.The combination lap/shoulder belt is most effective and has one buckling action. Make safetybelt use ahabit. Use it every time the vehicle moves. The reason why wearing your safetybelt has to become ahabit is because you never know when you are going to need it.Proper Safetybelt placement: 1. Sit in the proper position on your seat when you attach your safetybelt. There should be no space between your back and the seat. Depending on your size and the vehicle, if possible, position the shoulder strap even with your shoulder. 2. Connect the buckle. 3. Adjust the lap belt so that it is snug to your lap, positioned across your hip bones. You want the impact of a crash to be absorbed by big bones rather than smaller bones. Adjust the shoulder belt to be loose enough to place your fist between it and your chest. It is designed to tighten up during a crash.AirbagsThe purpose of the airbag is to absorb energy. As the airbag deflates, it absorbs energy from the objectthat strikes it. Airbag deployment is an explosive event. Thats why it is so critical to BE IN POSITIONfor the impact. (Air bags inflate at the rate equivalent to 100+ mph).As your body moves forward in a crash, the dashboard and steering wheel airbags are designed tomeet you and prevent injury caused by forward momentum. If you are not in position, the inflation ofthe airbag is a potentially deadly event.Copyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 4 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved
  5. 5. Head RestraintsThe head restraint is designed to control head movement during a crash; it is not a head "rest". It isdesigned to absorb energy from your head as it is thrown back after impact.Position the head restraint so the center back of your head restraint is even with the top of your earsand in contact with the back of your head. If the head restraint is too low during a crash, it can cause"whiplash" or soft tissue damage to your neck.Child Passenger RestraintsChild passenger restraint systems are designed to supplement the vehicle restraint systems to fitinfants and children. Their purpose is the same as the other passenger restraint systems - to ABSORBenergy in a crash and prevent damage to a child or infant.Every childs body is different - the proper fit and use of the child passenger safety system isdependent upon the childs SIZE.State laws specify age because age is easy to determine, but the true effectiveness depends upon thechilds height and weight. You must "fit" the occupant to the vehicle.Guidelines and Rules: 1. Rear-facing position of the child passenger safety seat is for infants and should NEVER be used in the front seat with a passenger-side airbag present. If the vehicle does not have a backseat, use the airbag shut-off switch to disable the system. 2. The Child Passenger Safety (CPS) system is only of value if the childs body is properly positioned in the systems seat and the system itself is properly positioned and SECURED inside of the vehicle. 3. Follow both the system and vehicle manufactures guidelines for installation and use. The weight and age of the child will determine the type of seat and its position. Some child passenger seats are difficult to install correctly. Seek professional help if necessary. 4. Backseats of vehicles provide the MOST protection during a crash. Passengers under the age of 13 should be located and restrained in the backseat. The back is where its at! 5. Anytime a restraint system is deployed, or endures a crash, even though there may not be any apparent damage, it NEEDS TO BE REPLACED.Copyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 5 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved
  6. 6. 2.3 Fatigue 2.3.1 What is Fatigue? 2.3.2 Circadian Rhythm 2.3.3 Physical and Mental Effects of Fatigue 2.3.4 Micro Sleep 2.3.5 Driving On Long TripsWhat is Fatigue?There are two types of fatigue: 1. Physical - A tendency toward inactivity brought on by physical exhaustion. 2. Mental - A tendency toward inactivity brought on by mental or emotional stress.Your body and mind both get tired. Learn to recognize mental and physical fatigue so that you can besure you never get in a vehicle when your body wants to capture the sleep it needs.Dont drive tired and dont ride with tired drivers... If they fall asleep you have no control over thesituation!Circadian RhythmThere is a rhythm built into the human body to seek rest for itself. This rhythm is called the circadianrhythm, and it is on a 24-hour cycle. The body naturally relaxes between 12-1:00 a.m. and 4-5:00a.m. - thats why we sleep at night. Another time the body naturally seeks rest is in the afternoon,between 1-4:00 p.m.Why is this important? You need to recognize your body rhythm. There are times when you are morelikely to zone out, blank out or experience micro sleeps at the wheel. This is what you need to avoid atall cost when driving! This is when single vehicle off-road rollovers most often occur during these hours.Avoid driving during your afternoon "low-time" and during your early morning downtime. If you work alate shift or stay up all night doing homework, be aware that fatigue affects your body and your mind.It also affects your senses, especially vision.It is not safe to drive if you have stayed awake during your natural sleep time.Physical and Mental Affects of FatigueFatigue affects your body and your mind. You are not as alert as you should be and your senses aredulled. Your vision is affected because your eye muscles are tired along with the rest of your body andfocusing becomes difficult, and your peripheral vision shrinks. Your ability to search also slows,delaying hazard recognition.You may miss critical information such as road signs and traffic signals. Or worse, you may not see ananimal or pedestrian approaching from the side.When you are tired, your body is relaxed and it is less responsive to steering, braking and reactingquickly. Your brain is slowing down.Copyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 6 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved
  7. 7. Lack of sleep is one of the leading causes of traffic fatalities. Fatigue has many of the same dangerouseffects as drinking alcohol.12 hours awake = same effect as .032 blood alcohol content18 hours awake = same effect as .07 blood alcohol content24 hours awake = same effect as .1 blood alcohol contentDont drive tired or after drinking... and NEVER risk the combination!Micro SleepMicro sleep is a term used for sudden unexpected moments of sleep that are stolen from your brain -micro sleeps last 4-5 seconds.In 4-5 seconds, traveling 50 miles per hour, your vehicle can travel the length of a football field. Closeyour eyes and count to five - imagine what can happen when you are asleep even for a few seconds atthe wheel.Warning Signs/Symptoms: 1. Discomfort - heavy arms and legs 2. Tense muscles 3. Heavy eyes 4. Yawning 5. Leaning forward while driving 6. Tired feeling 7. HeadacheWhen you notice these warning signs, get off the road. You CANT predict when you will fall asleep atthe wheel. If you experience micro sleep, pull off where it is safe and you can rest. Prevent micro sleepby: 1. Drive rested. 2. Dont drive during your circadian rhythm "low-times". 3. Maintain a routine sleep schedule. 4. Dont push yourself mentally or physically before driving.NOTHING compensates for fatigue but rest, which may require a lifestyle modification to incorporatemore sleep.Driving on Long TripsTips for preventing fatigue when driving on long trips include: 1. Get plenty of sleep before you depart. 2. Provide for good air circulation. 3. Wear your seatbelt - it "holds" you in your seat and your muscles dont tire so quickly. 4. Schedule and plan to stop every two hours, get out, and walk around. 5. Lodging is inexpensive insurance to prevent a fatigue related crash.Copyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 7 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved
  8. 8. 2.4 Alcohol Impaired Driving 2.4.1 Alcohol the Drug 2.4.2 Reasons for Drinking 2.4.3 Blood Alcohol Concentration 2.4.4 Eliminating Alcohol 2.4.5 The Effects of AlcoholAlcohol is the number one drug used by teens and poses the greatest threat to your life and the lives ofyour friends. On average in the US, one friend, parent or family member dies every thirty minutes inalcohol related crashes.Alcohol the DrugAlcohol is classified as a depressant drug because it slows down the central nervous system, causing adecrease in motor coordination, reaction time and judgment. At high doses, the respiratory systemslows down drastically and can cause a coma or death.Alcohol arrives in the brain very fast because the brain contains 20% of the bodies blood supply. As aresult, alcohol begins to alter judgment moments after it enters the body. The result is intoxication, aphysiological state produced by a poison or other toxic substance.Reasons for DrinkingThere are three major reasons for drinking alcohol: • Experimentation: drinking out of curiosity and because of peer pressure. • Recreational drinking: Drinking for "fun". • Alcohol abuse: The use of alcohol for the side effects. Alcohol abusers drink to excess or drink very frequently.Regardless of the reason, the effects of alcohol are unpredictable! Once all of the negative effects ofalcohol are discovered, recreational drinking is often replaced by other forms of recreation that do notcarry such serious health and social risks.Blood Alcohol ConcentrationThe amount of alcohol present in the bloodstream is called blood alcohol concentration, or (BAC). It isalso the measurement law enforcement uses to determine sobriety or if a driver is illegally operating avehicle under the influence.Many factors can affect an individuals BAC - such as gender, size and weight. Also, the more a persondrinks, the higher the BAC.The BAC level does go down after the body begins to eliminate alcohol from the system - but this is avery slow process that does not occur at the same pace for everyone.Copyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 8 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved
  9. 9. Eliminating AlcoholAlcohol is metabolized by the liver, where dehydrogenase enzymes break down the alcohol. Males havehigher amounts of the dehydrogenase enzyme, so males can eliminate alcohol faster.Men also have more water in their bodies than women - they can dilute alcohol faster.Females take longer to dilute and eliminate alcohol than males - even though they might be the sameweight.Elapsed time is also a factor. In general, for males the liver can process approximately one drink - orone ounce of liquor, per hour - typically for females it takes longer.One drink equals one 12 ounce beer, a 5 ounce glass of wine, or one shot, (1.5 ounces) of hard liquor,or spirits. No matter what you have heard, there is no way to disguise BAC or speed up the liverselimination process. State laws are changing each year related to BAC and impaired driving, but onelaw is true for all states:If you are underage, there is zero percent tolerance.The Effect of AlcoholAlcohol impairment also affects driver muscular capabilities, including delayed braking anduncoordinated steering. Alcohol affects reaction time as well. With a BAC of just .04%, it takes longerto see, decide, react, and further to stop. These mistakes cause crashes.Two people that drink the same amount may experience different effects. In addition, expectations,mood, fatigue and the combination of alcohol with other drugs can have a synergistic effect and alter orincrease the effect of alcohol. If a person believes on kind of alcoholic beverage will produce a greatereffect than another, it probably will, even if the BAC is the same. Anger, depression and excitementcombined with alcohol increases risk and can be unpredictable.Review your states DMV handbook to become knowledgeable about the laws in your state. Rememberinexperienced drivers combining alcohol have much higher death rates!2.5 Drug Impaired Driving 2.5.1 Types of Drugs 2.5.2 Physiological Effects of Drugs 2.5.3 Dangers of Combining Drugs 2.5.4 Drug Impaired Driving 2.5.5 Avoiding Drug Impaired DriversAlmost everyone is a drug user. The majority of drug users are under the influence of legal drugs suchas medicine for allergies, headache, muscle or joint pain.Drugs are designed to alter specific body functions and consequently can alter the ability to perceive,make sound judgments and react quickly.Copyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 9 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved
  10. 10. Every Body is DifferentThe categories or types of drugs include: • Depressants • Stimulates • Narcotics • HallucinogensDepressants affect the central nervous system by slowing down or “depressing” reflexes andcoordination.Stimulants "stimulate" or speed-up the central nervous system. They increase heart rate and generatea false sense of alertness and well being.Narcotics are strong depressants that are often prescribed for severe pain. They act to shut down thecentral nervous system.Hallucinogens alter the mind. They change the way the mind perceives, processes information, andreacts.The list of drug related side effects is endless and can vary depending on the individual. Never assumeyou will react differently or will not be adversely affected after taking some type of drug.The ability to see clearly, process information, make decisions, and send signals to react can beimpaired by drugs and create a high-risk situation. As a driver, if you take medication, read the labeland know what is in your system. Before driving, conduct an inventory of how you are thinking andfeeling. If you are experiencing any reactions, don’t drive.Combining different drugs and alcohol may cause a more intense effect than if you only take one drugat a time. This effect is called synergism and is unpredictable and extremely dangerous. Never combinedrugs and use legal drugs only as recommended.Avoiding Drug Impaired DriversWatch for indications that other drivers might be impaired: • Erratic speed • Weaving from side to side • Traveling in the wrong lane • Running stop signs and lightsDistance yourself from the impaired driver by increasing the amount of space between you and theother vehicle.If possible, alert the police of your observation and suspicion.Copyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 10 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved
  11. 11. 2.6 Inattention and Distraction 2.6.1 Why it is Important to Stay Focused While Driving 2.6.2 Definition: Inattention 2.6.3 Definition: Distraction 2.6.4 Identify Distractions You Can Control 2.6.5 Managing DistractionDistractions are everywhere. Other drivers that are distracted or not paying attention surround you.Inattention and distractions are dangerous because they take YOUR MIND off of driving.You have to stay focused because in just one split second an unexpected event can occur, and youhave to be ready!Recognize why it is important to stay focused on the task of drivingYou need both eyes on the road ahead and both hands on the wheel to be capable of reacting quicklyand control your vehicle.Split level attention or distractions cause your peripheral vision to shrink and you may experience adelay in hazard recognition.To be able to steer effectively and quickly react while driving you need to be focused on driving with: • Your eyes and mind on the driving environment. • Both hands on the wheel, prepared to react to the unexpected.Most distractions are outside of the vehicle, and you cannot control them, but you CAN control the urgeto look and stare. Don’t take your eyes off the road ahead and keep both hands on the wheel so youcan CONTROL your vehicle. • Control your passengers – while you are driving, you are responsible for their lives. • If you need directions, stop your vehicle and then read the map. • Groom yourself before your vehicle is in motion. • If you have to eat or drink, buy "car-friendly" food and get it ready before you are in motion. • Load your CDs and set your radio stations before driving. Keep the volume down so you do not become a distraction to other drivers.Manage your distractions and watch out for other drivers who are not paying attention... they surroundyou on the road!Copyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 11 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved
  12. 12. 2.7 Emotional Impaired Driving 2.7.1 Emotional impairment 2.7.2 Why driving makes people angry 2.7.3 Aggressive driving 2.7.4 Recognizing aggression within 2.7.5 Managing your emotionsEmotions affect the body physically and mentally. Emotional stress can also make you very tired. As adriver, when you are physically and mentally off balance you need to recognize the warning signs andtake control of your emotions. Stress is something we all experience as a part of our daily lives. Atextreme levels, stress causes an increase in your heart rate, an increase in your breathing rate, muscletension, headaches and fatigue. All of these reactions impair your ability to operate a vehicle.Learn the warning signs. Recognize why and when your ability to make good decisions is affected byemotions.One of the ways to manage emotions, especially anger, is to leave in plenty of enough time to get frompoint A to point B. This reduces the need to speed, and allows one to become much more patient andcourteous as a driver. Adjusting your attitude isnt easy, especially when someone cuts in front of you.Realize it isnt the end of the world and "just let go".Emotional ImpairmentDriving requires interaction between your body and mental processes. Drivers routinely drive in mentalstates that interfere with the ability to perceive risk and react quickly. You are impaired when yourability to operate a vehicle is limited or hampered.Emotional impairment factors are hard to manage because they often arise suddenly, without warning.The most common factors that create an emotionally impaired driver include: • Stress • Anger or rage • Fear, anxiety or panic accompanied by irrational thoughts • Depression • Speed addiction • Risk addiction • Habitual disrespect for the law • Negativity that condones hostility on the highway • Denial of ones own driving mistakesDrivers who drive recklessly while experiencing these emotions are characterized as unwilling toexercise self-control because of fear, fun, vengeance, prejudice or disrespect for others.Avoiding collisions requires complex decisions and skilled responses. Other drivers depend on you to berational and predictable.Copyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 12 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved
  13. 13. Why Driving Makes People AngryDriving is a dramatic and dynamic activity that involves high-risk incidents and interaction withthousands of unpredictable drivers. Routine events are mixed with incidents that are not routine suchas being cut off, tailgated or having to follow a very slow moving vehicle.The following is a list of emotional challenges that are common reasons why drivers get angry, hostileand exhibit aggressive behavior: • Restriction. In a traffic jam, when drivers cant get where they are going on time or at the expected speed of travel, anxiety builds up to "escape" the confinement of congested traffic. This anxiety causes drivers to perform aggressive maneuvers to get away or get ahead of others. • Being confronted with danger. Congested traffic filled with impatient drivers and making unpredictable moves causes close calls and near collisions. Being confronted with dangerous situations increases stress, fear, resentment and rage. • Regulation. Government regulation and all of the rules associated with driving angers some people because they feel like it is an imposition, prompting them to disregard the rules because they do not agree with them or they are just rebellious. • Lack of control over the situation. When drivers have no control over their driving environment and are stuck in traffic, the lack of control over the traffic event is frustrating and often leads to anger vented towards a nearby driver. It is the application of the old adage, "frustration leads to aggression."Aggressive DrivingThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as "theoperation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property".Examples of aggressive driving behavior include: • Improper passing. • Speeding. • Improper lane changing. • Failure to obey traffic controls. • Reckless, careless or inattentive driving. • Making illegal turns. • Tailgating. • Failure to signal lane changes. • Shouting, swearing, name calling. • Honking to protest another drivers actions. • Shining high beam headlights in retaliation. • Using the vehicle to cut off other drivers. • Chasing other vehicles in pursuit. • Physical fighting. • GesturesCopyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 13 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved
  14. 14. When you think of an aggressive driver what image comes to mind?Aggressive driving has several levels and an assortment of penalties – all of which can be avoided ifyou can learn how to mange your aggressive tendencies when driving.Law enforcement agencies categorize observable aggressive drivingbehavior as: • Failure to yield the right-of-way. • Cutting drivers off when passing. • Not allowing someone to pass safely. • Incorrectly yielding when entering traffic. • Making unsafe U-turns. • Not signaling before slowing for a turn. • Driving across highway dividers. • Passing in no-passing zones. • Passing stopped school buses when warning lights are flashing. • Speeding in marked construction areas. • Throwing an object from the vehicle.The list goes on, but it is important to recognize that these behaviors are considered "aggressive" bylaw enforcement because they demonstrate a disregard for the law.The aggressive driver typically denies that these accident-causing behaviors are aggressive. But it isclear that drivers that put others in danger by the way they choose to drive are hostile, dangerous andselfish. They want to force others out of their way. These drivers feel justified in dominating others andthat’s what labels this type of behavior "aggressive driving".Aggressive drivers kill two to four times more people than drunk drivers.Recognize Aggression WithinNegative emotions encourage negative, judgmental and self-serving thoughts. Negative thoughts oftensurface in the form of hostile verbal expression.While driving, have you ever said nasty things about or to other drivers? Have you ever beencompetitive with other drivers? Have you ever been late for work and stuck in slow traffic? Did you getangry?Learn to recognize the effects of emotions on your personality. Watch for anger caused by the need forrevenge or retaliation: • Do you slow down if someone is tailgating you? • Do you want to ram a vehicle that cuts you off or takes the space directly in front of your vehicle? • When bicyclists are in your lane do you want to get right behind them and honk the horn?Copyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 14 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved
  15. 15. Recognize your competitive nature: • In heavy traffic do you want to weave in and out to get ahead? • When you are running late, do you tailgate slow moving vehicles? • When a vehicle pulls in front of you do you speed up and try to get around it, even though it is risky?Are you an impulsive or reckless driver? • Do you drive as fast as you want when the road is clear and you dont think you will get caught? • Do you play your music so loud you cant hear anything else? And so loud other drivers cant hear anything else either? • Do you enjoy screeching your tires? • Do you run yellow lights? • Do you drive when you are tired? • Do you drink and drive?Managing Your EmotionsWhen you detect your emotions dominating your judgment and actions, practice a technique calledself-regulation. Postpone the gratification of getting even or engaging in a hostile act. Short-circuit thebuildup of rage. • Dont be competitive. Driving is not a contest. • Dont take the aggressive actions of other drivers personally. Try not to be judgmental. Dont jump to conclusions about their behavior or actions. Put yourself in the other drivers shoes. Perhaps they are dealing with an emergency. • Listen to soothing music • Cool off when you are angry or frustrated. • Go with the flow of traffic. Do not try to beat it or fight it. • Give yourself more time then you think you will need to complete your trip. Leave early. • Stay focused on the driving task. • Demonstrate the kind of courtesy you would like to receive from others. • Adjust the air conditioner to keep yourself cool and calm.Turn a negative driving situation into a positive scenario. Concentrate on the safety of your vehicle,yourself and your passengers. If you select courteous behavior, you and society in general will benefitfrom your decision.Enjoy your driving experience.Copyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 15 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved
  16. 16. 2.8 Personal Safety 2.8.1 Safe Parking Practices 2.8.2 Dealing with Road Rage Against You 2.8.3 Breakdowns 2.8.4 Car Jacking 2.8.5 Being Stopped by PoliceA vehicle is for traveling, convenience and recreation and it also takes you through many differentenvironments. Your vehicle offers you secure and mobile protection from bad elements or threateningsituations.While driving, you need to be acutely aware of your surroundings and safety at all times. Thingshappen that you do not expect, and you can eliminate some threats by using good judgment and safepractices.Keep your doors locked at all times and if you have a cell phone, keep the phone programmed to 911and keep it in an easy to reach location.Safe Parking PracticesPark your vehicle in a well lit, populated area of the parking lot. If possible, back your vehicle into theparking space so you can drive out of the lot quickly. Walk where you can be seen by others.Dealing with Road RageVehicle position is the best indication that another motorist is being overtly aggressive towards you. Beaware of signs such as being cut off, sudden reduction in speed in front of you, tailgating, continuousflashing of high to low beam lights, excessive horn use or inappropriate hand signals.If you are being raged against, avoid eye contact, avoid stopping and position your vehicle as far awayas you can from the aggressive driver. Change lanes and slow down. Drive to a location where you willhave witnesses. Do not exit your vehicle. Do not engage, do not confront. Ensure you have an exitroute until police arrive.Be courteous and conscious of your driving behavior. Avoid tailgating, cutting other drivers off,changing lanes without signaling, obscene gestures, blasting your horn, and driving too slow in fastlanes.BreakdownsIf you experience vehicle failure while driving, pull off the road as far as possible, turn on your hazardlights and call 911 or your local roadside assistance provider.Copyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 16 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved
  17. 17. CarjackingCarjacking is a crime of opportunity for a thief searching for vulnerable prey. For some gang members,it may be a rite of passage, a status symbol, or just a thrill. Cars provide quick cash for drug users andother criminals.Dont set yourself up to be a victim.Try not to drive alone and always lock your doors and keep the windows up. Avoid high crime areas. Ifyou have a cellular phone, make sure the batteries are charged and take it with you. Always have yourkeys or remote ready to unlock your vehicle and/or push the panic/alarm button.As you approach your vehicle, pay close attention to your surroundings. If you see suspicious personsor vehicles, do not go to your vehicle. Instead walk to a safe place and call the police. Dont confrontsuspicious persons or vehicles, let the police do it for you.Always drive with your doors locked and window up. Avoid driving in the far right lane. This lane ismost vulnerable to carjacking. Position your vehicle with "an out". Always leave room between yourvehicle and the car in front of you.If you are carjacked, save yourself, not your car. Dont resist, immediately abandon your vehicle, run,and call 9-1-1.Being Stopped by the PoliceIf an authorized police vehicle is approaching you, with its lights on, it is your responsibility to yield theright of way and immediately drive to the right-hand edge of the roadway, clear the intersection andstop.Police vehicles have colored flashing lights and police signage. If you are not comfortable that theencounter is official, continue cautiously driving and proceed to a populated location. Turn on yourhazard lights to communicate that you recognize their presence and are attempting to locate a safelocation. Dial 911 and notify the dispatcher you are being followed and are concerned about yoursafety.Copyright IDriveSafely 2006 Page 17 of 17 Student Handout UNIT 2All Rights Reserved