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A Traffic Safety Scrapbook of an Expert

Thanks to Saudi Aramco - This entire article was taken from Saudi Aramco Loss Prevention's "Dear Traffic Safety Expert - A Traffic Safety Scrapbook"  pamphlet.


Q: How can I protect myself and my passengers from people who run red lights at intersections? Just the other day, I was waiting at a busy intersection for the light to turn green. When the light turned green and I started to drive through the intersection, a speeding car crossed in front of me.

A: Yes, running red lights is a common hazard at intersections. Never assume that it’s safe to proceed just because your signal is green.
After an accident, there is little consolation in knowing that you had the right of way.
Even though the other guy was at fault, the accident still occurred, your car was
damaged, and people were injured. To avoid an intersection accident, look in each direction to make sure that the intersection is clear of traffic. Remember, a key element of defensive driving is to always be aware of where other drivers are, anticipate their actions, plan your response, and leave yourself an " out". In this case, look left, then right, then scan left again before you step on the gas.

Q: Often when I drive on an undivided two-lane highway, I see car coming right at me in my lane. Sometimes it happens when the other car is passing the car in front of it, but other times it happens without any reason. I worry that the next time the other driver won’t get back into his lane in time. How can avoid a head-on collision?

A: Head-on collisions are particularly deadly. Almost anything is better than a head-on collision. The first thing you can do to prevent such an accident is to brake gradually while steering your car to the right side of the road. Make sure that you turn on your right turn signal to warn other drivers. Moving to the left of the road is dangerous because the other driver might suddenly move back into his lane. While you are moving to the right, blow your horn and flash your high beams to warn him. If you feel a head on collision is impending, just about any alternative is better. Take whatever evasive action you can, including running off the road if that’s your only option. If you can’t avoid a collision, brake firmly and steadily. Every kilometer per hour you slow down will reduce the severity of the impact. And don’t forget to keep your seat belt on!

Q: The other night as I was driving in the middle lane of a highway, the car ahead of mein the left lane suddenly moved into my lane and we almost collided. Why did this happen?

A: You were driving in the other driver’s blind spot. All cars have "blind spots"---- where it’s difficult to see cars close behind, or to the left or right. To tell if you’re driving in someone’s blind spot, just glance at his side mirror. If you can’t see his face, assume that he can’t see you. Move forward, but remain within the speed limit, or fall back until you’re sure he can see you. There are blind spots in your car, too. Before you change lanes, check your rearview mirror and side mirrors to make sure that there is no traffic around. Quickly turn your head to visually check for other vehicles traveling in your blind spots, as well. To avoid an accident while driving on a highway, always keep a space cushion—an open area of space—around your vehicle.

I almost had a rollover when my left rear tire blew out and I was unable to control my car. What should I do if it happens again?

A: If a front tire blows, the car will pull hard to the side of the blowout and the steering wheel will vibrate. If the rear tire blows, the back of the car will weave back and forth, fishtailing. You react in the same way for both cases. The first thing you should do is to take your foot off the accelerator. Grip the steering wheel with both hands, stay in your own lane, and turn on your emergency flashers. If you slam on the brakes, you could lose control of your car completely. Take your foot off the gas pedal and then gently pump the brakes. Slow down gradually, and pull off the road to a safe location. To maximize your control of the vehicle during a blowout or any other emergency, drive at a safe speed for the road and weather conditions. Driving at a safe speed helps you react safely to an emergency. To prevent blowouts, check the pressure of your tires regularly to make sure that it is at the level recommended by the manufacturer. Ensure that your tires have a tread depth of at least 1/16 immediately.

Q: Do I really need to buckle up when driving to the neighborhood store? I always fasten my seat belt when driving for a long distance or when on the highway, but do I really need to wear my seat belt for just a few minutes drive at a low speed?

A: Yes, you do need to buckle up for short trips. Wear your seat belt on every trip, every time, no matter how short the distance. Over 70 percent of all automobile accidents occur within 40 Kilometers (25 miles) of home and at a speed under 64 Kph (40 mph). Seat belts are the best form of protection you have in the event of a crash. Statistics show that seat belts can lower your risk of injury by approximately 40 percent. You are four times more likely to be seriously injured or killed if thrown from the vehicle in a crash. Although most cars are now equipped with air bags these are not enough to protect you from injury seat belts. They can’t protect you properly if you don’t wear your seat belt. And remember to use safety seats to restrain small children in the back seat. Safety seats provide little kids with the necessary protection to reduce the severity of injuries a motor vehicle crash can cause.

Safeety Belts & Airbags

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