Source: Yahoo! Autos
Drag-racing champion Doug Herbert founded a non-profit driving school called Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe, or, B.R.A.K.E.S. It is designed to teach teens advanced driving techniques that they can apply in real life-threatening situations while driving on the road. Herbert founded the school after his two sons died in what was determined to be an avoidable car accident. His experience as a race car driver, instructor, and parent of teen drivers has compelled him to make others aware of these avoidable situations. Here are four tips that could really make a difference in teen driving safety:
Use Those Brakes: Many people rarely grasp the power and capabilities of ABS (antilock breaking systems). Most drivers aren’t comfortable pushing a car to its limits, and when they’re in an actual emergency when driving, they would rather crash into something than stomping hard on their brake pedal. However, if you’ve never practiced a full-on ABS stop, you could be running into an easily avoidable obstacle. Students of Herbert’s school learn what is called “stomp, stay, steer,” the lesson being that you’re not going to hurt the car. Even if you hear the squealing of the brakes and feel pulsations from the brake pedal, it’s vital that you press as hard as possible; the car is built to take these harsh actions. Once the brakes are pressed as hard as possible, steer the vehicle around the obstacles in your path. ABS allows turning while braking though many drivers make the mistake of turning the wheel too much and releasing the pedal before centering the steering. Doing this will cause the still moving vehicle to dart into oncoming traffic or a roadside ditch.
Remain Calm: Try not to overcorrect when avoiding obstacles. A common cause of highway fatalities is due to jerking the car back toward their lane after partially running off the side of the road. The truth of the matter is that it’s not necessary to steer so violently. The vehicle’s tires offer more than adequate traction except in the rarest of situations. So if you do steer off the road by accident, ease off the accelerator, allow the car to slow down on its own, look ahead for a safe place to return to the pavement, and gently rotate the steering wheel in the direction of the roadway to ease back into traffic. You want to absolutely avoid the brakes in this situation unless their is an upcoming bridge or parked car blocking your path. This can be practiced safely at about 20 mph to get the hang of it.
Forget 10 and 2. Use Thumb Hangers: Because of modern innovations like airbags in vehicles, the notion of keeping your hands at “10 and 2” on the steering wheel is no longer safe. If you place your hands in that position, you run the risk of having your hands thrown into your face if you’re in an accident. This can cause serious harm. Instead, you want to be sure that your hands are placed at 9 and 3 o’clock to avoid injury. Most modern steering wheels have what Herbert calls “thumb hangers” on the steering wheel. These hangers help to rest your thumbs at the 9 and 3 position so that you’re not in danger of striking your own face if the airbag deploys.
Practice Reacting: Even the most careful and attentive driver will eventually be faced with an emergency situation. If you don’t prepare for it, the chances are you’ll fail when it comes time to react. B.R.A.K.E.S. uses various training scenarios to train teens on how to react calmly to dangerous roadway situations. When students perform the exercises properly and quickly, the car remains stable.
These tips are not only great for teens, but for drivers of any age. It’s important to remain calm when involved in a potentially dangerous situation on the road. This is, of course, easier said than done but taking time to learn the right steps is an important part of accident prevention.
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