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When it comes to driving, most of us
consider ourselves to be a good
driver while everyone else is either
an idiot or a maniac.

We all occasionally neglect to use
our turn signal, pull out with a little
less than enough room, change lanes
a bit too closely, etc.
Most of us don't mean to, but driving
is a very complex combination of tasks
and with all that is on our minds
these days, it is very easy to be
distracted.

Road Rage is a growing problem all
over the U.S. and no one is immune
from it.
It is simply an incident in which one
driver does something that sets off
another one and makes them angry.

Doesn't take much, does it?

Anyone who spends any time at all
on the road has and will continue to
experience some form of Road Rage.
Thankfully, not the type that ends up
with someone shot or in the hospital.
Usually, it is simply someone else's
behavior causing us to mutter something
under our breath (or louder) and that
is the end of it.

Here are some basic driving tips that
can help to prevent you from being
the target of someone else's rage.
T
hey will also make you a very good
driver if you consistently exercise
them every time you hit the road.

You can save fuel, and protect yourself
and your family on the road by
practicing defensive driving techniques,
by anticipating what is happening ahead
of you on the road and reacting
accordingly.


First and foremost, be courteous.
Think of what you might say or do

to the other driver if you were
face-to-face say, in the grocery
store.

We have a tendency to slip into
anonymity when we are behind the
wheel and can act out in ways that
we would never think of if we were
actually eye-to-eye with the other
person.

Instead of automatically reacting when
you feel angry, diffuse your emotions
by counting slowly, singing, or making
funny animal noises: meow, roar, or
moo for about 10 seconds or so.

This might sound strange, but you
might end up laughing afterwards.


Obey the general rules of the road.
If you are simply driving aggressively
and cutting others off, etc., then
you are definitely asking for it.
Don't use obscene gestures.

Some people drive with their left
foot resting on the brake pedal,
a habit that increases fuel consumption
and wears out the brakes prematurely.
This is also be dangerous because it
causes heat buildup in the brakes,
which reduces braking power.
Plus your brake lights stay on all
the time, which means that drivers
behind you have no warning when you
actually apply the brakes to slow
down or stop.


Periodically check your turn signals.
We all laugh at the folks driving

down the road with their signal
on for miles, but it can happen
to the best of us.
Just make it part of your scan as
you drive and make sure they are
off until you want to turn or change
lanes.

Signal your intentions.
If you want to turn or change lanes,
use the fancy little lever on the
steering column that makes those
cool little lights on the corners of
your car flash.

Keep looking around you, in and
out of your car, while driving.
Check your mirrors, turn signals,
gauges, blindspots, other traffic, etc,
constantly to keep aware of what's
going on around you.
Some people are totally oblivious to
anything other than their cell phone
while they are driving and it really
irritates everyone else around them.

If, while checking your mirrors, you
see someone behind you (probably
too close) and you are in the left lane,
move to the right.

Don't block a speeding car to slow
them down, you might be inviting
trouble.
Stay out of their way.

This applies only if you have room in
the next lane and do not have a
legitimate need to be in the left lane
(other than to make that clown
behind you mad).

Give aggressive drivers plenty of
room to get around you.

Don't make eye contact with
an aggressive driver.


Most aggressive drivers habitually

tailgate and absolutely "have" to get
ahead of everyone in front of them
(even if there are ten more cars
ahead stacked up in that lane).
It is not worth a confrontation just
to hold up the idiot.
Just let him or her pass.
If they are speeding, hopefully an
officer will get to meet him up ahead.

Do not tailgate those ahead of you.
About 90% of rear end accidents
are caused at least in part by
people following the car ahead
of them too closely.
The old rule of thumb is 1 car
length for every 10 MPH of speed.
That is the minimum.
You will not lose that much time
by backing off a few car lengths
and you might avoid being at
fault in an accident.

You will also keep from ticking
that person in front of you off and
possibly causing them to suddenly
brake for that "dog" that ran out
in front of them.

Watch your high beam headlights.
Make sure that you are not blinding
anyone (either oncoming or from
behind) with your brights.

Speaking of headlights.....
Do not be afraid to use them!
If visibility is poor, turn on your
headlights.
Just because you can see all of
the other cars does not mean they
can see you.
If it is raining, snowing, foggy,
very cloudy, or you simply cannot
see very well, turn them on.
In Wisconsin, the law now requires
you to have your lights on when it
is raining.

Anticipate the other driver's next move.
If you anticipate that the person beside
you is going to change lanes in front
of you, you will be ready and can
prepare accordingly.

Leave room in front of your vehicle
at traffic lights.
You should always leave enough
room ahead of your vehicle to allow
you to pull out and around the car
in front of you should an emergency
arise or the car ahead of you becomes
disabled.
Always leave yourself an
escape route.


If you see someone driving aggressively,
stay away and contact the police or
sheriff's department when you can
safely do so.
Even if you're not being affected by
the aggressive driver, you could be
saving other lives on the road.

And remember, don't get
distracted by your cell phone.

Whenever you're driving and your
attention is not on the road, you're
putting yourself, your passengers,
other vehicles, and pedestrians in
danger.




5 Keys of Defensive Driving:

The Smith System was established
in 1952 by Harold Smith, it operates
on the principle that most collisions
are preventable if the right driving
habits are learned, practiced and
applied consistently.
Since then, millions of drivers have
benefited from this system.


1. Aim High in Steering:
Look 15 seconds into your future, not
just look at the vehicle in front of you.

2. Get the Big Picture:
Look for Hazards. (Other Motorists,
Pedestrians, Vehicle doors opening)

3. Keep Your Eyes Moving:
Don’t stare.
Use your peripheral vision.
Stop the fixed habit stare.

4. Leave Yourself an Out:
Monitor the space cushion
around you and your vehicle.

5. Make sure They See You:
Use your signals,
Directionals, 4-Way Flashers,
Head Lights, Brake Lights, Horn.
Make Eye Contact.