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  • Bedford Driver

Thinking Ahead and Driving Around Wildlife



One of the key aspects of defensive driving is looking ahead. When a driver is familiar with a particular area they will be able to look and think ahead more as they already have a mental image of the area built in their mind. This frees up more mental bandwidth for the driver to scan the roadway for hazards and focus on controlling the vehicle.





Spotting Hazards




The best way to become familiar with an area is by travelling the area as much as possible using the exact same roads every time. After a while you will have an image built in your mind and will likely even remember smaller details of the area such as trees and buildings. Then what you do is begin to explore and expand that area a little bit at a time.


I take talented drivers into downtown Halifax regularly and most of them will always make mistakes. This is because they are unfamiliar with the area and must dedicate most of their mental bandwidth to analyzing the driving environment. These same drivers have zero issues when around their local communities.




Yellow lights are hard to judge at first but a good practice is to imagine any stale green light you approach is going to turn yellow. Anticipate the change and ask yourself where you think the point of no return is. There are many tricks you can use to read the traffic lights at intersections. Look at the photo below. It shows an orange hand signal which indicates to pedestrians not to cross because the lights will soon change. This pedestrian signal light will sometimes have a countdown displayed on it to let you know when you'll get the yellow light. Also note that if there are no pedestrians or vehicles waiting at the lights then they won't change. If I approach an intersection and notice that there is no orange hand but I see the white pedestrian symbol on the light then I know that the light is not changing anytime soon because the countdown still has to take place.




Judging Yellow Lights




Twisty turns in a BMW 430i Gran Coupe on Highway 14 – Nova Scotia


The key to driving on those twisty roads with sharp curves is to think ahead and reduce your speed slightly before entering the curve.




A following distance of 3 seconds is like an insurance plan. Two seconds was the old way but now three seconds is the normal distance and that’s because so many people are distracted and stressed. A safe following distance will save you all kinds of trouble and it also allows you to see potential hazards that the driver in front of you may encounter which will help you react to them ahead of time.


How To Set & Maintain A Safe Following Distance When Driving – The 3 Second Rule Saves Lives




Examples of not thinking ahead


Albert Walker Drive 2020. The driver of the car was within inches of being crushed but walked away without a scratch. It’s extra important for truck drivers to think ahead as they have much more weight to slow down than a regular vehicle. The driver of the car was within inches of being crushed but walked away without a scratch.



Cement Truck Flips – July 2020




There is no worse feeling in the world than going into a turn with too much speed. Just ask any one of the multiple truckers that approached the Burnside ‘S-Turns’ with too much speed. At that point it’s too late.




18 – Wheeler flipped at Exit 4 on Highway 102 – September 2021




Check Yourself Before You Make Your Move




In this video Ken Block is able to rip through the curves and corners because he (sort of) sees ahead. His co-pilot is actually seeing ahead and telling him what is around the next corner and he knows the track inside out. This helps Ken focus on controlling the car.


Ken Block’s All-GoPro Cossie V2 Raw Onboard Footage




Braking





Wildlife


I love animals of all types. They are always happy and are exciting to see when I'm out and about. When it comes to driving around animals and wildlife there are a few things we have to consider. Most of all we have to remember that at highway speeds we cannot react suddenly to a hazard that appears out of the blue like a deer running out in front of us. Because at highway speeds you will end up rolling your car or worse. Every movement you make in a car will become more amplified and exaggerated as your speed increases and that's why you never ever want to do anything sudden with the steering wheel or pedals.



Kingswood deer


Kingswood deer

Deer Rescue On Lakeshore Drive In Hammonds Plains




When driving in an area with a lower speed limit such as a neighborhood or even a school area we are already driving at a speed that would allow us to safely react to an animal running out onto the road in front of us.


Sackville deer


The geese at Sullivans Pond in Dartmouth always use the crosswalk, literally.




Two examples of why we shouldn't react suddenly on the highway for wildlife are; a person was driving on Highway 102 last December when they saw a deer. They jammed their brakes on and were rear ended by 6 cars. Another example would be from one of my student’s parents who just a few weeks ago rolled their car to avoid a deer which didn’t even end up crossing their path. We can’t swerve or brake suddenly at high speeds unless it is an absolute life or death situation for us or another motorist.



Almost Hit A Deer On The Highway




Never stop on the side of the highway or like in this case, never stop on the highway.


Women trying to save ducks charged for causing fatal accident




Deer season means animal strike season on the roads


Do deer whistles work? Well it depends who you ask. How do deer respond to the sonic and ultrasonic sound waves or do they even react at all? The studies that are published can’t seem to determine anything other than more studies are needed. Deer are most active in the early morning and early evenings so expect to see them at those times.


One time while I was riding my Yamaha YHZ 600 in the early morning on Highway 102 northbound near Truro I had an encounter with a deer that I will never forget. I was excited to be on my bike and was looking further ahead into the distance toward the Wentworth Mountains when suddenly I noticed a deer approximately 200 feet in front of me crossing the highway in the left lane. There was no time to react and I thought for sure in that split second that I was done for. For some reason which I could never figure out the deer waited for me to pass by before continuing to cross the highway. This one of a million types of examples that show we will never be able to see everything coming at us ahead of time such as hazards that appear suddenly.




A family of deer in West Bedford crossing Broad Street. I'm at a low speed here so reacting to them is not a problem.




A nice sunset on Highway 102 in Shubenacadie. Sunset is when deer are most active.




Moose


Avoid moose at all costs


Moose are a whole different animal to deal with than deer. They're larger and more powerful. Avoid moose at all costs. They can flip your car over with no effort at all. Unlike deer, when it comes to moose you will do whatever you have to do in order to avoid hitting it.



The Tantallon Moose




Crazy moose challenging a train - Moose do not back down from anything




Moose encounter – Alberta Canada


Funniest moose ever.




Beached Whale Rescued In Halifax Nova Scotia


Sometimes animals unite people and communities. This video is from January 1 2018. There was a beached whale at Rainbow Haven Park in Cole Harbour so everyone in the community came together to rescue it. They were successful.




Wildlife crossings keep animals safe




Some Nova Scotia highways now have wildlife crossings




Crows


Crows are the smartest animals you will ever encounter in traffic. They like to sit on the side of the highway as you approach and they will wait until you are inches away from them then casually move out of the way. There's a National Geographic documentary on YouTube about crows that shows how smart they are. I recommend checking it out if animals interest you.




A Murder of Crows National Geographic





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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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