Not many people have the opportunity to take a
Tactical Driver's Course. I took such a course
from the US Military (USAF
SAC) before going to Vietnam in 1970. It was more like a course for stunt drivers than a driver safety course, and I attribute almost 2 million miles on the road with no accidents (and no tickets) to what I learned in that course.
If you have a
teenager who is just starting to drive, send him to the
One-Day Advanced Driver Training and Crash Avoidance Course (ADECA)
– then let him teach
what he learned. He will have a lot of fun taking the course, and
you'll have peace-of-mind that he will be safe on the road.
Everyone should take a driver's safety course periodically. The Improv Driver's Education Course is
a lot of fun, and I highly recommend it.
It isn't nearly as comprehensive as a military combat driver's
course, and you won't even have to get in your car, but you'll
benefit from the information nonetheless.
training courses have the added benefit of saving you considerable
money on your car insurance (check with your insurance company).
foremost, the Military Driver's Course I took taught me that
ALL HABITS are
any habit, such as the habit of signaling turns when there is nobody
behind you to signal to. Habits lead to assumptions; and in this case
the subconscious assumption is that the driver behind you sees your signal, is courteous enough to
let you switch lanes or make the intended turn, and you are
Habits and noisy environments like radios and simple
road noise also lead to things like leaving a turn signal engaged
well after you make the turn or lane change. For the "signal left
engaged" problem, there is a
tactic to safe driving is to be aware of your environment, and to be
prepared to react instantly if that environment changes. Proper
training and practice gives you the "muscle memory" to
Fast reflexes because of this training can be the difference between
life and death.
the road happen almost instantaneously. You will never anticipate
potential hazardous situations if your brain is engaged in tweets or
texting, or bullshitting on a cell phone. You cannot be aware
of anything that happens instantaneously (like a LP tank falling off
a motor home in front of you)if you are engaged in performing ritual habits,
or are distracted by "attention-intensive" tasks. Although
we didn't have cell phones and all the other electronic crap they
put in cars today in 1970, we did have distractions – enemy
combatants shooting at us – so we couldn't be "distracted" with
anything but the task at hand (driving), and getting out of the
Secondly, if you are a safe driver, your attitude behind the wheel should be something like this: "Everybody on the road is an Asshole but me. There are Assholes Among Us; hence the Web site of the same name. These people are unpredictable, and are likely to do something totally irrational for absolutely no reason".
People who are Assholes are not usually courteous, and
you cannot count on courtesy to take the place of your common
Thirdly, modern cars are designed to self-destruct in an
collision. Although this is supposed to protect the occupants, I feel more comfortable in a vehicle that won't disintegrate around me. Shrapnel – whether it be plastic or metal, is something I
most everyone who drives a Jeep Wrangler are friendly (and
therefore, courteous) – one has to be in order to do the "Jeep Wave"
thing. There are exceptions, but not many.
drive big cars usually own those cars because it gives them a false
sense of security to compensate for their shitty driving skills.
I like big-ass, heavy bumpers that scare the shit out of someone just looking at them. That's why I have a WARN 61853 Rock Crawler Front Bumper and a WARN 65509 Rock Crawler Rear Bumper on my Jeep. They came installed on the Jeep when I bought it. It was one of the factors that sold me on this particular Jeep. Even the late model Jeeps have flimsy, crap bumpers.
A human being would survive a crash that generates a force of 50 G's or more if he is properly belted in, and the front airbags deploy. Even without the airbags, I would rather be in my '97 Jeep Wrangler than a 2014 Cadillac
CTS in a serious collision. Cars that crumple like Bavarian accordions in a minor fender-bender cannot be safer than a sturdy vehicle that survives in one, albeit dented, piece.
At night, it
is wise to never out-drive your headlights. In other words, you
should be able to bring your vehicle to a complete stop at the point
on the road where your headlights fade into the darkness. If you
cannot, you need to slow down or get new, more powerful headlights,
or at least install Spot / Fog lamps.
with not being able to stop within your headlight viewing distance
is colliding with unseen or unanticipated obstacles such as a moose
or a deer (or even a stray dog) – not to mention the occasional
jackknifed tractor-trailer that has turned on its side blocking all
the lanes. You might not think there are such hazards where you're
driving, and so did the thousands of other drivers every year that
ended up with a thrashing animal in their front seat, or were
suddenly decapitated by driving under an 18-wheeler.
investment is a "Deer Whistle"
(typically $5 to $10). Such a device won't scare a stalled or
crashed vehicle out of the road, but it will send deer and other
animals back into the bushes and out of your way. The best part is
that drivers following you will also benefit from your foresight.
dashboard cameras would help you
in a court case where you are suing "the other guy" who is at fault
in a collision, but the flip-side is that your screw-ups will also
be recorded. Dash cams will keep you "on point" about your driving
habits. The nice part about dashboard cameras is that you can record
all those unanticipated
muddy trail mud splashes, without worrying about having a
"steady hand" to hold the camera, or a passenger to do the filming.
distractions to the driver cause more "accidents" than we are led to
believe. In point of fact, there is no such thing as an "accident" –
except for a rock falling off a cliff onto the roadway – because
every single collision could have been avoided by a vigilant driver.
keep your path clear of all other vehicles on each side, and
TAILGATE. In New Jersey, tailgating is considered reckless driving
and gets you 5 points on your license
N.J.S.A. 39:4-89) and / or a pretty hefty fine.
Driver courses say that you should "....drive like you have no
brakes". This sounds like good advice, but driving like you have no
brakes might save you money at the gas pump, but it will get you
honked at a bit more often than you would like. I would amend that
advice and tell you to "Drive as if you're sitting on the hood".
check your vehicle for potential safety problems. One of the most
commonly overlooked problems in older cars is worn out or
non-functional seat belts. This problem usually manifests itself as
a seat belt that won't fully retract when let go. If your seat belt
does not fully retract, or does not stop when pulled fast, it should
be replaced. If you replace your seat belts, consider replacing them
with a Four-Point Restraint
system, which is much more comfortable and easier to use than
standard seat belts. The nice part is, a 4-Point restraint will cost
you about 1/3 of what it would cost for a "stock" replacement.
Never text or
try to dial a cell phone while driving. If you get into a collision,
the police can pull your cell phone records, and if you've been
bullshitting on the phone, it is possible that your insurance
company will not cover you, and if you hurt or killed someone by
being distracted, they'll sue your ass
while you sit in prison for vehicular homicide.
DRIVE WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN DRINKING.
Even ONE drink can "buzz" you enough to get you arrested for "buzzed
driving" if you become what Long-Haul Truckers refer to as a "Harvey
(and drunk drivers are fortunate) that I am not the judge in DUI cases. If it were up to
FIRST OFFENSE DUI would get you LIFE IN PRISON without the
possibility of parole.
If you caused injury while DUI, you would lose your ass in my court,
and if you killed someone, I would sentence you to death by
strapping you in your car and pushing it off a cliff.
incorrigible sociopaths who don't give a rat's ass about other
people's lives get behind the wheel of a car while drunk or stoned,
and "therapy", 12-step programs, AA, and all of that other
"Mea Culpa" psycho-babble
bullshit has proven itself time and again to be entirely
ineffective. If you're drunk / stoned and driving, stay the hell out of MY
way, because if I get you on my
dashboard cameras, I will call 9-1-1, file a formal complaint with the
State Police, and have High-Definition video to prove my allegations. If I feel you
are a menace on the road and are about to kill somebody with your
car, I certainly don't have a problem with Pitt-maneuver bumping you into a
ditch.... and I have the skills and the bumpers to do it.