Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Basic Driving 101 - Part VII


Wars, territorial disputes, trade embargoes, contract battles, divorce and school yard fights have all occurred because of one simple problem. A failure to clearly COMMUNICATE.

Accurate communication is vitally important to ensure that disagreements and battles don't happen. Communication can save lives.

When we are using our roads; whether as a pedestrian, cyclist or driver, proper communication keeps everything running smooth, safe and efficient.

Communication comes in many forms. The signs on the roadway, traffic control systems, road markings and most

Road signs will tell us where to park, which lane we should choose, which direction to follow, etc. Traffic control systems govern mostly, stop, go and caution while road markings dictate lanes to use, directions to follow and prohibitions. But you and I cover off everything else. When we cooperate with those stagnant systems of road control with our active abilities we can avoid a great deal of potential conflict.

What can we use to communicate with the traffic around us when so many users are in steel boxes? Lights, horn, signalling devices, eye contact, hand signals, actions and rules of the road.

Lights - full head lights, brake lights, signal lights all have to be operable for full effect
Horn - great for giving a warning...NOT for reaction
Signalling Devices - they are there for a reason...USE THEM, bells, horns, whistles, WORDS
Eye Contact - great for cyclists and pedestrians to ensure they are seen
Hand Signals - cyclists only way to tell drivers what they are doing. As a driver, when I see a cyclists using hand signals I automatically give more space because they are telling me something is about to happen. Pedestrians that point their way across the street are more predictable and visible.
Actions - Using your lane position can tell people what you are doing, intend on doing and tells other users where you may be going. Hugging the right curb approaching a side street tells users that you are probably preparing to turn or stop so followers should go around to left or be prepared for action.
Rules of the Road - If we all follow the rules of the road predictability is much easier. We understand what the other users of the road are going to do. Red lights mean stop, stop signs mean stop, no parking means no parking...quite the concept. If you are not clear on the rules of the road click here...great reading. Try the whole book for even more information, click here.

When we fail to communicate we leave ourselves open to mis-interpretation of our intent. Not surprising...if I don't know what you are doing, I assume things will stay status quo, when status quo changes without notice problems occur.

Communication is the easiest way to ensure we all understand what our intent is and helps to avoid problems.

Road safety is every one's your part first....communicate.

Next Part in this series: Rules of the Road
Previous Series Parts
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI

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