The road you’ve driven on a thousand times on this day might be smeared with wet leaves. Or maybe a family is visiting nearby, with a child who likes to run outside.
The more comfortable a driver is on the road, the less attention he or she might pay to other drivers and road conditions. That’s another way of saying that perhaps driver education should never stop.
Taking responsibility for poor habits was among the tips about driver conditioning offered in a recent post by the National Safety Council. The council is a nonprofit that works to eliminate preventable deaths.
Breaking driver conditioning
“Driver conditioning” is defined as: “the process through which drivers become conditioned to respond to traffic patterns and road conditions that remain consistent over an undefined period of time or distance.”
The more comfortable a driver is while driving, the less attention he or she might pay to other drivers and road conditions. These drivers can be more likely to miss subtle changes in traffic patterns or road conditions, and that can put the driver and others at risk. Changing mindsets for drivers means making them focus on road conditions as they are, despite a street’s familiarity.
Ways to Take Responsibility
Three proposals to help drivers take responsibility for poor habits are:
- Required study. All drivers and not just first-timers could be required to take a test highlighting the impact of driver conditioning. Requiring an online test as part of renewing a license could highlight this safety message and keeping up with ongoing driver training could avoid future injuries -- or worse.
- Public service announcements (PSAs). Seeing and hearing a regular round of PSAs could remind drivers about the need to shed the feeling of being too comfortable on the road, and about the dangers of driver conditioning.
- Early education. Approaching parents through their children about taking responsibility for poor habits is another way to get the message out. The anti-smoking campaign used this tactic -- having children who were taught at school about smoking’s impact on health go home and confront their parents about it.
Each of the three tips alone could work to reduce road injuries and deaths. The force of them together would have the biggest impact, and would probably involve private organizations and government agencies.
How You Can Be A Better Driver
Business Insider offers these steps for taking responsibility for poor driving habits:
- Don’t mix using your phone -- whether to talk, text or look up information -- with driving. Distracted driving killed 3,166 people in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That total was down from 3,450 distracted driving deaths in 2016.
- Be aware of how you’re driving. Are you smoothly accelerating, paying attention to your speed, and braking cleanly?
- Keep your vehicle washed and vacuumed because that will help you look forward to being in it more, and less anxious while driving it.
- Develop situational awareness. For example, is there a motorcycle within sight on the roadway? If so, stay aware of that rider’s location. Motorcycle-car collisions are almost always catastrophic for the motorcyclist.
- Know and abide by all road rules. Always yield to pedestrians, for example.
Contact The Whaley Law Firm in Louisville, Kentucky, today for help with accident cases related to driver conditioning, as well as for help with other car, truck and motorcycle crashes.