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  • Bedford Driver

Being Focused While Driving

Updated: Jan 25

Ask anyone you know and they will tell you that they never would drive distracted. But the number of collisions and accidents on our roads and highways continues rising and many times drivers don’t even remember how the crash happened.

Even with all of the latest and greatest vehicle technology that is intended to keep vehicle occupants safe the number of fatal accidents keeps increasing. I would argue that some of that can be attributed to drivers now having less to think about while driving since a lot of newer cars will check your blind spot and even alert you if you begin to drift from your lane. In my opinion safety technology in newer cars is actually dangerous in some ways because it allows a driver to not have to think about certain critical aspects of driving which makes them more likely to look for something else in the vehicle to entertain themselves. Fully automated vehicles are ideal for safety but half-automated vehicles (like what we have now) are deceivingly dangerous and the numbers reflect that.

Black Friday Problems

When it comes to distracted driving you should think of a football as your cell phone. You're focused on the ball while the linebacker who is coming to ‘take your head off’ represents another car. This is what happens when you try to catch a ball (or drive distracted) while in traffic. You will end up tuning into or devoting all of your attention to the ball (the distraction) and will then become unaware of the dangers around you. The video below illustrates this well and keep in mind that these are humans hitting other humans. Cars hitting humans is a whole other level of trauma. Keep your head on a swivel a pay attention like Tom Brady would at the Superbowl.

This is what happens when you don’t shoulder check – ‘Biggest, Baddest Football Hits Ever’

Human Factors

Stress and Distraction

Stress - Another huge aspect of distracted driving is stress. Stress ruins everything. When someone is stressed while they are sitting at a red light they will be more likely to make a bad decision and start checking their phone, especially if they are stressed. But if they weren't stressed it is less likely that they would do that. Good decisions are made when people are not panicked or stressed. It’s always when these unexpected or stressful moments arise that bad things happen. Most people would never drive drunk but put them in a stressful situation and that could easily change. Stress factors such as negative mood and anger can lead to risky driving situations. Chronic stress is also a dangerous stress type that can affect a driver's behavior as it impacts the driver’s physical and mental state.

Road Rage!

  • Road Rage can lead to a suspended drivers license loss of a job and legal problems. Many drivers do not recognize when their own aggressive road rage is affecting their behavior.

  • Never brake check a tailgater – Brake checking a tailgater will sometimes make them more enraged. It’s better to let off of the accelerator pedal. They will notice your vehicle slowing and wonder what in the heck you are doing and then they will just pass you. That being said also note that many drivers follow too closely and don’t actually realize it.

Types of Road Rage!

Level 1 – Quiet Road Rage

Level 2 – Verbal Road Rage

Level 3 – Confrontational Road Rage

Level 4 – Epic Road Rage

Communicating In Traffic

A key aspect of defensive driving is to keep traffic flowing safely by communicating. Think about it, we drive in and around hundreds of vehicles everyday so it is critical for motorists to be able to communicate with each other. The unfortunate thing is our vehicles only have two built in ways to communicate. We can use our turn signal lights to alert other road users of our intentions and then we also have a horn. The problem with the horn is it has only one setting; MAD. But sometimes a driver just wants to give someone a friendly toot of the horn to say thanks. Always think twice before honking your horn. You never know who is in the vehicle you are honking at or what they might be carrying.

Nicest Car Horn Ever

The Dunning–Kruger effect

The Dunning–Kruger Effect is a hypothetical cognitive bias stating that people with low ability at a task overestimate their own ability and that people with high ability at a task under estimate their own ability.

We All Have Mental Health

The Slow Motion Effect

Why Time Slows Down During an Accident – When it is important for our survival, it helps if the outside world slows down so that we have more time to react to hazards. Because everything seems to slow down in the world we see and hear more details of what is happening around us which leads to the feeling that the event lasted longer than it actually did.

Andrew Santino discusses how time slowed down when he got into an accident

Vision types

Peripheral Vision – It detects movement masses and shapes

Field of Vision – The 180 degree view ahead of your vehicle

Depth Perception – Helps you judge distance

Joe Rogan talks about getting rear ended in his Porsche by a distracted driver

Why Distracted Driving Campaigns Often Don’t Work

“Over the past decade there have been many distracted driving campaigns that boil things down to absolutes. “War on distracting driving!” or “Put down that phone.” Distracted Driving is a serious problem that is killing thousands of people every year.”

Halifax ranks last in safe driving study

"In its ninth annual Safe Driving Study, Allstate Canada found Halifax had the highest collision frequency. Halifax has claimed the title of Canadian collision capital for the third year in a row."

Truck vs Pole accident on Larry Uteck in Halifax

The video below is the best I have seen about distracted driving. Instead of using lame one liners or traumatizing photos this PHD who spends his life studying distracted driving uses science and data to investigate the root causes of distraction. This is the kind of progressive approach that is needed in order to educate and not scare new drivers into doing or not doing something.

Distraction is literally killing us | Paul Atchley

Dangers of Texting While Driving

Cognitive Distraction - Full Video

Driving while tired is the most dangerous form of impaired driving as the injuries are always more severe.

Why Sleep Matters | Matthew Walker | Talks at Google

ADD Driving Tips & Precautions 🚘⚠️

Impaired Driving

Below is an example of people who wouldn’t normally drive drunk until they're put in a situation where they have to make a decision.

Consequences of bad decisions; The Beaverbank crash

In 2015 there were 4 teens in Beaverbank who were at a house party late at night and needed a ride home. Halifax being Halifax they couldn’t get a cab. So this situation which the teens weren’t expecting presented itself and they had to figure out what to do at 2 a.m. while drunk in the middle of no where. This is how most of these tragic stories start out. Something unexpected presents itself and that’s the key moment when a person needs to make a good decision. ‘Final Destination’ as I call it will always be one bad decision away.

In this case one of the teens volunteered to drive while drunk and everyone hopped into the car. The car was driven at a high rate of speed then it flipped multiple times ejecting everyone but the driver. Two people died and a third person was severely injured.

Planning ahead for partying and other fun activities is essential. Somewhat like if a motorist was driving down the street and a hazard presents itself. If they have been looking and thinking ahead they will have already been expecting this and will be ready to react to it. If a person is stressed or distracted and not thinking ahead, the curve ball or unexpected situation has a better chance of getting them.

How the story progressed

Cox, 22 admitted to having consumed four beer and four shots of vodka the night of the crash. He volunteered to drive his friends home from a party after they were told it would be a two-hour wait for a cab.

Danielle Hudson and Miranda MacIsaac, 19, were ejected from the vehicle. Gregory Goulding, 21 remained inside but sustained serious injuries.

Hudson and Goulding both died because of their injuries. MacIsaac suffered serious injuries.

"One of Hudson's friends, Katie Noble stood sobbing as she read her victim impact statement. She told the court that moments before the crash happened she received a text from her friend with a picture of her smiling from the back seat of the car. Noble said she initially treasured the picture but not any more."

Driving Impaired can ruin your life

Your first DUI can cost $20,000 or more, even without property damage or injuries and could reach $40,000. A DUI conviction can also lead to the loss of a job. The conviction may remain on the offender’s record for 10 years.

Body cam video shows DUI arrest of woman after friend dies jumping from her car

This video shows a young driver that has just killed her friend. The video helps give us a sense of what it's like to be arrested after making a huge mistake.

Party Safely

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms: What to do if you have alcohol overdose

Extremely dangerous “Shady 8” opioid making the rounds

"Between March 28 and April 20, Cumberland County RCMP responded to three overdoses where in each case RCMP had to administer Narcan to counteract the effects of the overdose. Each person was then taken to hospital by ambulance. In all three cases, the drug that was used is known as “Shady 8”. Shady 8 is a form of Fentanyl, a powerful opioid, which comes in the form of a white or green pill or tablet."

Opioid and Narcotics Overdose Signs and Symptoms

Human Factors Playlist


Cool Student Driver stickers now available

One of my students recently experienced a road rage incident while practicing. These stickers keep other drivers behind you chill while you're trying to learn. You would be amazed at how many drivers respond positively to these stickers and sometimes will follow even further back.

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