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Defensive Driving Awareness

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  1. DD_Intro_1
  2. Welcome to Defensive Driving Awareness
  4. DD_Intro_2
  5. Introduction
  7. DD_Intro_3
  9. Whether you drive as part of your job or just drive to and from work, you are at risk for collisions that can cause serious injury or death. About 1.3 million people around the world are killed in motor vehicle collisions every year; 20–50 million more are seriously injured.
  11. This course will teach you about defensive driving, which is a set of skills for “…driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.”
  13. The skills you will learn apply to drivers of cars, vans, and small trucks.  
  15. DD_Intro_4
  16. At the end of this course you will be able too identify unsafe driving behaviours and conditions that can lead to collisions. You will be able to explain how distractions interfere with safe driving. You’ll be able to describe a number of defensive driving techniques and list measures to take to prepare for winter driving.  You will also be able to discuss the role of preventive maintenance and pre-driving checks in defensive driving.
  18. DD_Intro_5
  19. This course has 5 modules. Module 1 presents the basics of defensive driving. Module 2 addresses driver performance. Module 3 describes specific defensive driving techniques. Module 4 discusses vehicle condition and Module 5 covers safe winter driving.    
  22. DD_M1_S1
  23. Module 1: Defensive Driving Basics
  25. DD_M1_S2
  26. Defensive driving is an effective way to recognize hazardous situations in advance in order to avoid collisions. The defensive driver understands that drivers often make mistakes and knows how to safely maneuver away from dangerous situations.    
  28. Defensive driving goes beyond simply knowing how to drive and following the rules of the road; it gives drivers ways to avoid collisions even if traveling conditions are bad and other drivers are not driving safely.  
  30. DD_M1_S3
  31. For defensive drivers to recognize hazards they need to understand the types of hazards that can cause collisions. The hazards drivers face are due to either errors in human behaviour (that is, unsafe driving) or hazardous conditions.
  33. As human beings, we all make mistakes, sometimes putting others in danger. In fact, human error is a factor in over 95 percent of vehicle collisions. Distracted driving, aggressive driving, impaired driving, driving under the influence, fatigue, and just plain bad driving are all human behaviours that are hazardous on the road. We’ll talk more about these behaviours later on in this course.
  35. DD_M1_S4
  36. Hazardous conditions that can lead to vehicle collisions include bad weather, heavy traffic, limited visibility at night, and glare. Driving is the blind spot of another vehicle is dangerous because the driver cannot see you. Road construction and roads that are in disrepair can also increase the risk for collision.  Animals and other obstacles along the roadway are dangerous, and unexpected.
  38. DD_M1_S5
  39. Driving defensively requires constant looking for possible hazards. By keeping your eyes on the horizon rather than just on the vehicle in front, you get a better picture of the overall traffic situation. The sooner you see a potential danger the more time you have to think about it, decide what to do, and take action.
  41. DD_M1_S6
  42. Scanning is very important to defensive driving. Keep your eyes moving; look ahead and to the sides. Check your mirrors frequently and expect the unexpected.
  44. DD_M1_S7
  45. You always have to look out for other drivers. You cannot safely assume that other drivers know what they are doing and will avoid hitting you. You can't even assume they see your vehicle, so stay out of their blind spots and make sure they see you.
  47. Be aware of your distance from other drivers; the closer you are the harder it will be to stop in time to avoid a collision.  And keep out of the way of vehicles that seem to be out of control.
  49. DD_M1_S8
  50. There’s a lot to think about when you're behind the wheel: road conditions, your speed and position, traffic laws, signs, blind spots, and the vehicles around you. The only way to stay safe is to stay completely focused on your driving. Stay alert, avoid distractions, and keep your hands on the wheel.
  53. DD_M1_S9
  54. Module 1 presents the basic principles of defensive driving. We started the module by talking about driving hazards caused by errors in human behaviour and unsafe conditions. You learned about the value of looking at the big picture when you are driving. And you learned about scanning the roadway, staying focused, and watching out for other drivers.
  56. Now we’ll review what you learned with a short quiz.
  58. DD_M2_S1
  59. Module 2: Driver Performance
  61. DD_M2_S2
  62. As you have learned, driving is a complex task that requires the full attention and focus of the driver. Drivers need to be able to see, hear, think, and act in order to do everything driving requires. [pause 2 seconds]
  64. DD_M2_S3
  65. Emotions can affect driving behaviour. Your feelings can interfere with your ability to see, hear, think, and act while driving. Defensive drivers learn how to manage their emotions and stay calm, even in difficult situations.
  67. DD_M2_S4
  68. In a perfect world, every driver would drive safely and road conditions would be ideal. But we don't live in a perfect world, and we can’t control other people and hazards on the roadway. When we practice defensive driving skills we can help make up for dangers caused by poor driving and bad driving conditions.
  70. Defensive drivers also have to make allowances for their own deficiencies. A driver who is hearing impaired, for example, can use his or her eyes to detect what they cannot hear. If they can’t see well at night, defensive drivers stay off the road after dark.  
  72. DD_M2_S5
  73. In module 1 you learned that many hazards of driving are the fault of human behaviour. Now we will take a closer look at some of the driver behaviours that cause problems, and how defensive drivers can handle them.
  75.  Distracted driving means driving while you are doing something else, something that takes attention away from safely driving the vehicle. Distracted driving means taking your eyes off the road, your mind off driving, or your hands off the wheel.
  77. Drivers who are distracted are less able to anticipate problems. Just a second or two of inattention can result in a collision that could easily have been prevented.
  79. DD_M2_S6
  80. Activities such as using cell phones, eating, drinking, smoking, reading, applying makeup, and shaving are all too common driving distractions.  Drivers take their attention away from driving when they use their GPS or adjust heating and radio controls.  Attending to passengers—especially people in the back seat, moving objects around while driving, and watching events outside the car can distract drivers from their most important activity—their driving.
  82. DD_M2_S7
  83. Texting while driving is fast becoming the the most dangerous electronic distraction. When drivers text, they take their eyes off the road, their mind off driving, and their hands off the wheel. If you text while driving, you are 23 times more likely to get into a crash than if you do not text while driving.
  85. DD_M2_S8
  86. When you take drugs or alcohol your body reacts more slowly and your judgment becomes impaired. Certain prescription medications, even if they are prescribed for you, can have the same effect.
  88. Defensive drivers have two roles when it comes to impaired driving: You must make sure you do not drive if you are impaired and you must protect yourself from the dangerous actions of impaired drivers.  
  90. Do not drive if you have been drinking or have taken recreational drugs or medications that can cause drowsiness.
  92. Keep your distance from vehicles that show signs of impaired driving. Call the police if you think there’s a serious danger.
  94. DD_M2_S9
  95. Signs of impaired driving include driving very slowly, driving off the road, and driving on the wrong side of the road.  Signaling that doesn’t make sense, unnecessary braking, abrupt turning and changes in speed, and drifting point to a driver who is not in control of the vehicle.
  97. DD_M2_S10
  98. Fatigue can make you less able to see hazards and respond to them, much like drugs and alcohol. Get plenty of rest before a long trip. Plan to take a 10-minute exercise break every two hours. Keeping your eyes moving can also help counter fatigue. If you find yourself yawning or closing your eyes “just for a second,” it’s time to pull over to a safe place and take a break, or even a nap.  
  101. DD_M2_S11
  102. Aggressive driving means operating a motor vehicle without regard for the safety of other users of the road; it puts people in danger.
  104. Aggressive driving may look like tailgating, speeding, hostile words or gestures, weaving in and out of traffic, leaning on the horn, or any other unsafe driving practice.
  106. DD_M2_S12
  107. Frustration and anger can turn anyone into an aggressive driver. Pay attention to your own driving behavior to make sure you are not driving aggressively. Protect yourself from aggressive drivers by getting out of their way and focusing on your own driving. Don’t provoke other drivers and don’t react to aggression. Always keep your emotions in check and stay calm. Call the police if you feel threatened.
  109. DD_M2_S13
  110. As you know, driving requires your undivided attention. Even if you are an experienced driver, there may be times when personal considerations may distract you from focusing on your driving.
  112. Defensive driving techniques will not prevent a collision if you are unfit to drive. Let someone else do the driving if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or if you are taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs that make you drowsy. Don’t drive if you are too tired, upset, or ill or if you can’t focus for any other reason.
  114. DD_M2_S14
  115. In this module you learned about qualities of good drivers and behaviours that can interfere with safe driving. You learned about distracted driving, aggressive driving,  and impaired driving. You also learned when you should not drive.
  117. Next we’ll have a short quiz to review what you learned in this module.  
  119. DD_M3_S1
  120. Module 3: Defensive Driving Techniques
  122. DD_M3_S2
  123. You can't depend on other drivers to drive safely, and you can't depend on the weather to be clear all the time. You have to depend on your own defensive driving skills to avoid collisions.  This module focuses on defensive driving techniques that go beyond the traffic laws you must obey.  
  125. DD_M3_S3
  126. Without enough space between your vehicle and the one in front you may not have enough time to react safely if something unexpected happens.
  128. Keep as much distance as you can between you and other vehicles—to the sides and rear as well as in front.
  130. The two second rule is a simple rule of thumb for estimating if you are staying far enough back from the vehicle in front of you. Here’s how it works:
  132. Look at a fixed object ahead of you, like a sign or a lamppost;
  133. Start counting when the end of the vehicle in front of you passes the object;
  134. Count “one thousand one, one thousand two” then check your position;
  135. If the front of your vehicle is in line with or in front of the object you are following at a safe distance;
  136. If you pass the sign before you finish counting you are following too close.  
  142. DD_M3_S4
  143. Failure to adjust driving to conditions is a major cause of collisions. The 2 second rule only works when conditions are ideal: the road is good, traffic is moving, and the driver is focused. If conditions are not ideal you need to increase the following distance to 4, or even 6, seconds. Adjusting to conditions may also means slowing down to a safe speed, even if it is below the speed limit, and turning on your lights if visibility is poor during the day.
  145. DD_M3_S5
  146. Look for obstacles on the road 10 seconds ahead. Be sure to look to the sides of the road as well; you never know what will decide to cross the road in front of you. Don’t spend more than 2 seconds looking in any one spot or you may miss something.
  148. DD_M3_S6
  149. Always drive in the right hand lane except when you want to pass. Before you pass, check to be certain no one is trying to pass you. If the vehicle you are trying to pass speeds up, let it go ahead; don’t get into a dangerous race that can end badly.
  151. Do not pass when the road is too narrow or when you are approaching a curse, railroad tracks, an intersection, or a crowded area. Don’t pass in bad weather or when you can’t see ahead.
  153. DD_M3_S7
  154. When bicyclists and pedestrians are using the roadway drivers need to watch out for them and be prepared for unexpected movement. Be aware that they may be in your blind spot. Give them plenty of room and use extra caution.  You may need to yield to them even if you have the right of way.
  156. DD_M3_S8
  157. There are other situations when giving up your right of way is the safe thing to do, such as:
  158. When a driver runs a stop sign or red light;
  159. When a parked car is moving into traffic;
  160. When a driver is driving unsafely;
  161. Before changing lanes when you can’t see what is ahead; or
  162. When a vehicle is taking your right of way at an intersection.
  164. DD_M3_S9
  165. Defensive driving is all about avoiding collisions. We’ve already talked about many ways to avoid collisions; here are a few more tips. In addition to slowing down, there may be times when you have to speed up to avoid hitting another vehicle. Watch for brake lights, use your horn effectively, and never drive in the blind spot of another vehicle.
  167. DD_M3_S10
  168. In this module you learned about defensive driving techniques. We talked about maintaining a safe following distance, looking for obstacles, and adjusting your driving to conditions. We also talked about passing, sharing the road, and when to give up the right of way.
  170. We’ll follow up on what you have learned with a short quiz.  
  172. DD_M4_S1
  173. Module 4: Vehicle Condition
  175. DD_M4_S2
  176. You can’t drive a car or truck safely if it is not safe to drive. Defensive drivers make sure their vehicles are in good working order before they take them out on the road. Whether you’re driving your own car or the company car, make sure it’s in good repair. You can’t avoid all car problems, but with preventive maintenance and pre-driving checks you can reduce the chances you will break down on the road.
  178. DD_M4_S3
  179. Preventive maintenance helps keep vehicles running smoothly. It should include regular tune-ups and oil changes. Brakes, fluids, and battery should also be checked.
  181. DD_M4_S4
  182. A mechanic should also check tire pressure and tread as well as belts. The exhaust system, heating and cooling system, and lights, signals, and wipers should be inspected regularly. Look in the owner’s manual for inspection schedules for your vehicle.
  184. If you are driving a company vehicle, make sure preventive maintenance is up to date.
  186. DD_M4_S5
  187. In addition to regular maintenance, you should always give your vehicle a quick visual inspection before you hit the road.
  188. Walk around the vehicle before you get in to make sure there’s nothing behind or underneath that you might run over;
  189. Take a look at the tires;
  190. Check for any leaks under the vehicle; and
  191. Make sure lights and mirrors are clean.
  193. DD_M4_S6
  194. Once you get in the vehicle make sure there are no loose items that could become airborne if you stop suddenly. Adjust the mirrors to minimize blind spots; the more you can see behind and to the sides of your vehicle the better decisions you can make about passing, changing lanes, and backing up. Make sure the windows are clean so you have full visibility. Before you buckle your seat belt adjust the position of your seat so you are comfortable and can reach all the controls.
  196. DD_M4_S7
  197.  Make sure you know how to operate a vehicle before you take it on the road. Know where the controls are – for the lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, locks, windows. Know how to operate the heating and cooling system, including the defroster. Understand what the gauges on the dashboard mean. Use the owner’s manual if you’re not sure how something works.
  199. DD_M4_S8
  200. In this module we talked about the importance of a safe vehicle. You learned about preventive maintenance and pre-driving checks. You also learned that you need to know how to operate a vehicle before you take it on the road.
  202. We’ll follow up what you learned with a short quiz.
  204. DD_M5_S1
  205. Module 5 - Winter Driving
  207. DD_M5_S2
  208. Driving in winter can be dangerous and frightening. You need all your defensive driving skills to stay safe on winter roads. This module has additional tips for safe winter driving.  
  210. DD_M5_S3
  211. Winter driving is hard on motor vehicles, and breaking down in the snow can be very dangerous. If you get your vehicle ready for winter before the cold weather hits you are less likely to have problems.
  213. Get a preventive maintenance inspection in the fall; make sure the mechanic checks the battery, ignition system, lights, brakes, and tires. Four matching winter tires that are properly inflated have the best traction on snowy roads.    
  215. DD_M5_S4
  216. Keep an emergency kit inside the vehicle with maps, a scraper and brush to remove ice and snow, a flashlight, first aid kit, and blanket.
  218. DD_M5_S5
  219. Also carry a shovel, sand or kitty litter, flares, booster cables, and water and non-perishable food. Carry antifreeze, traction mats, a fire extinguisher, reflective vest, and extra clothes and footwear.
  221. DD_M5_S6
  222. Before you set out in ice or snow check the weather and the roads. Depending on conditions you may decide to take a different route or delay your trip until the weather clears.
  224. Remove all the ice and snow from your vehicle. Clear the mirrors, windows, and lights.
  226. Make sure you are alert, well rested, and sober. That’s always important, but even more so in challenging winter conditions. Wear warm clothes, carry a fully charged cell phone, and allow extra time for the trip.
  228. DD_M5_S7
  229. On winter roads, drive for conditions, meaning slow down to a safe speed and increase your following distance. Turn the lights on; even if they don’t help you see the road they might help other drivers see you. Stay on main roads. Give yourself extra time and space for braking. You may want to use emergency flashers to communicate with other drivers and make your vehicle more visible.
  231. DD_M5_S8
  232. Skids occur when tires lose traction with the road, usually on wet or icy roads. The best way to avoid skidding is to slow down. Be extra careful when braking, passing, and changing lanes, and don’t slam on the brakes, or ‘panic brake’.  
  234. DD_M5_S9
  235. Despite your best efforts your vehicle might start to skid on a wet or icy road. The natural reflex is to hit the brakes, but that will make the skid worse. Instead, ease off the gas pedal and gradually turn the steering wheel in the direction you want the vehicle to go. Don’t turn suddenly. As you regain control slowly straighten the wheel.
  237. If you start skidding you won’t have time to think about what to do; it’s a good idea to remind yourself of this safe skid response each time you get behind the wheel in the winter.
  239. DD_M5_S10
  240. Module 5 addresses winter driving. You learned the importance of preparing your vehicle for winter and carrying an emergency kit. You learned what to do before you get in in the car or truck and how to drive safely on winter roads. You also learned how to avoid and respond to skids.
  242. Now we’ll review what you learned with a short quiz.
  244. DD_Summary_1
  245. Course Summary
  248. DD_Summary_2
  249. In this course you learned the basic principles of defensive driving. You also learned about the role of driver behaviour and vehicle condition in safe driving. And you learned defensive techniques and tips for safe winter driving.
  251. DD_Summary_3
  252. Congratulations on completing this course. We hope you will use what you learned to drive safely.
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