While a driver can control his or her own actions behind the wheel, it is nearly impossible to control the actions of other drivers. However, drivers should be trained in defensive driving techniques to avoid a crash in spite of the driving errors of others.
Some skills used for driving defensively include:
What you see is important for defensive driving:
Although mirrors are useful, you should remember they do not show the full picture. Mirrors leave blind spots in your field of vision. Blind spots are the areas near the left and right rear corners of the vehicle that you cannot see using the mirrors from the driver's perspective. Therefore, before you make any lane changes or turns, quickly turn your head and look over your shoulder to see what is in the blind spot. Additional blind spots can be created by glaring lights, dirty windshields, vehicles parked too closely to an intersection, bushes and buildings. In these cases, slowly ease your vehicle forward until you can see clearly. Avoid driving in other drivers' blind spots where it is more difficult for them to see you. Communicating
Communicating means letting others know what you plan to do early enough to avoid a crash. Anytime you plan to slow down, stop, turn, change lanes or pull away from the curb, you should signal your intention. Be in the habit of signaling your movements even when you do not see others on the road. Before you signal, you must first see that your movement can be made safely.
Hand signals are given from the driver's window, using the left arm and hand:
Flashing light signals for turns are legal substitutes for hand signals, but there are times when they are hard to see. In late afternoon and early morning, the lenses may reflect sunlight, making it difficult to tell whether the signals are flashing. At night a flashing light signal is much easier to see than a hand signal. Use the type of signal you believe will communicate best. A good rule is to use both hand signals and flashing light signals in the daytime, especially in the late afternoon or early morning when the sun is bright and low in the sky. The flashing light signal is sufficient at night. Signal at least the last 100 feet before turning or stopping. If the speed limit is 45 mph or more, signal at least the last 200 feet before turning. The faster you are driving, the farther ahead you should signal.
Allow a margin of safety around you by staying clear of other vehicles. Make sure there is enough room ahead and behind to pass or stop safely. Use the two second rule to determine if you are far enough behind a vehicle to react if it stops suddenly.
The two-second rule says that you should allow two seconds between the time the vehicle ahead of you passes a given point and the time your vehicle reaches the same point.
Drive at a steady speed, and signal well in advance whenever you are slowing down or stopping to warn other drivers from following too closely. If another vehicle follows you too closely, move to another lane and signal for the driver to pass you. Stay in the middle of the lane and leave space on both sides of your car. Allow ample room between your car, parked cars and oncoming traffic.
In situations when you have to deal with two or more unavoidable dangers at the same time, adjust by giving the most room to the greatest or most likely danger. Suppose there are approaching cars to your left and a child on a bicycle to your right. The child is most likely to make a sudden move, so give the child more room. This may mean moving closer to the oncoming cars. If the dangers are equally hazardous, such as oncoming cars and parked cars, you should stop and allow the oncoming cars to pass safely before proceeding.
Motor vehicles accidents on the highway are the leading cause of transportation-related deaths on the job. Another area for concern is employees being struck by off-highway vehicles or other motorized equipment, particularly on construction sites or in work zones.
By taking a few minutes to follow proper procedures when operating a vehicle, a worker's life may be saved.
A spotter should always be used any time a vehicle or moving equipment with a restricted view is operating on site. The spotter's main responsibilities are to look out for himself or herself and look out for all others on the site. Some tipsfor the spotter include: