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Choose Safety for Life. Driver Improvement Training Program. Why Choose Safety for Life?. Crashes are no “accident.” You hold the key to their prevention. Your responsibility. YOUR CHOICE. Each year traffic crashes kill more people in Maryland than homicides.

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Choose Safety for Life.

Driver Improvement Training Program


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Why Choose Safety for Life?

Crashes are no “accident.”

You hold the key to their prevention.

Your responsibility.

YOUR CHOICE.

  • Each year traffic crashes kill more people in Maryland than homicides.

  • Over 90% of total crashes are preventable incidents caused by driver error.

  • This is the leading cause of death for people ages 4 to 34 nationally.

  • You can prevent these tragedies by making the right choices on the road.


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Choose Safety for Life…

  • Choose Safety for Life includes 5 major messages:

    Buckle up.

    Slow down – speeding kills.

    Always driver sober.

    Focus.

    Everyone share the road.

  • If everyone did these five things every time they drive, walk, or cycle, virtually all crash fatalities could be prevented.

  • The mission is to reduce injuries and fatalities and move Maryland closer to its ultimate goal of ZERO crash fatalities.

  • Reduce the costs associated of traffic crashes.


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Driver Error

The majority of serious vehicle related crashes are caused by:

  • Driver Inattention

  • Speeding

  • Following Too Closely, and

  • Failure To Yield

    Note: Driver Inattention is responsible for as many accidents as all of the other three causes combined!

DRIVER ERROR is responsible in over 90% of all vehicle accidents!

This means that nearly all highway accidents are preventable.


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Ready? Get set… Pre-Operation Safety Check

Make all the necessary adjustments ...

Before you set out, make sure the driver's seat, steering wheel (if adjustable), seat belts, head restraints and rear and side-view mirrors are positioned for maximum comfort, control and visibility.

Check your map in advance and, if you’re going to listen to music, select your favorite radio station before you take off so you never have to take your eyes off the road.

Adjust your mirrors so that you get the widest view possible. This is particularly important on multi-lane highways where you may have to keep tabs on lanes on both sides.

Many drivers do not turn their outside mirrors out far enough and simply duplicate the same scene in all three mirrors.

Smart Driving

Performing a vehicle pre-operation safety check is every driver’s responsibility. Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained, check fluid levels and make sure tires are properly inflated.


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Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained

  • Tires - Everything Rides On Them

  • In general, when a tire’s tread has been worn down to 1/16th of an inch, it is not safe and should be replaced.

  • Tires have built-in tread wear indicators, raised sections spaced intermittently in the bottom of the tread grooves. When they appear "even" with the outside of the tread, it's time for tire replacement.

  • Another method of checking tire tread involves the use of a penny. Place the penny upside down within the tread. If the top of Lincoln's head is visible, replace the tire.

  • A radial tire can lose much of its air pressure and still appear to be fully inflated. Operating a vehicle with under-inflated tires can result in tire failure, such as blowouts, with the potential for loss of control of the vehicle. Under-inflated tires also shorten tire life and increase fuel consumption.

  • Tires should be inflated according to the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations. These can be found in the owner's manual or on a placard, which is often located in the glove compartment or on the driver's doorjamb.

  • Use a tire pressure gauge to determine proper inflation.


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Buckle up

  • FACTS:

  • Every 13 minutes, someone is killed in a traffic crash.

  • Three of five people killed in vehicle crashes would have survived their injuries had they been wearing their seat belts.

  • Seat belts save an estimated 9,500 lives in the United States each year.

  • (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)


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Buckle up

The driver in the previous slide amazingly walked away from the collision. He was extremely lucky.

If you are ejected from a vehicle your chances of survival are slim.

Always wear your seat belt, and wear it correctly. When putting it on, make sure that the lower lap portion of the belt is snug around your hipbones (not your stomach) because strong hipbones can much better withstand the force of a collision.

Smart Driving

In a crash at 30 mph, if unrestrained, you will be thrown forward with a force up to 60 times your bodyweight.


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Slow down – speeding kills

Good Advice -- Reduce Your Speed.

The faster you drive …

… the less reaction time you have to brake,

… the more distance you need to stop,

… the harder it is to control your vehicle,

… the harder your impact in an accident, and

… the greater the chance of serious bodily injury or being killed in an accident.

Smart Driving

#1 - Don't speed! - Driving at a higher than reasonable speed increases your risk in two ways: it cuts your reaction time and results in more "stored" energy that must be dissipated in any collision.

#2 - Leave early, plan to arrive 10 minutes before the appointed time. Speeding does not increase your ability to arrive on time, rather it only increases your chances of not arriving at all.


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Following Distance

The Two Second Rule

Since the greatest risk of a collision is in front of you, at minimum use the Two Second Rule for establishing a safe following distance. The two second following distance works if you have to stop suddenly because the driver ahead brakes to a stop.

To stay at least two seconds behind the vehicle ahead of you:

  • Choose a fixed road mark, such as a road sign;

  • Start to count as the vehicle ahead of you passes the road sign;

  • You should not reach the object before you count to one-thousand-two. If you do, you are following too close.


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Following Distance

The speed of your vehicle affects the distance required to stop it. Stopping distance is determined by three factors:

Perception Distance - This is the length a vehicle travels from the time you see a hazard until your brain recognizes it. For an alert driver, this is approximately ¾ of a second.

Reaction Distance - This is the length a vehicle travels in the time it takes your brain to tell the foot to move from the gas pedal to the brake pedal and apply pressure. This takes approximately ¾ of a second.

Braking Distance - This is the length it takes to stop a vehicle once the brakes are applied.

Note that heavy trucks equipped with air brakes have an additional factor involved in braking distance – brake lag. More on brake lag in the Heavy Truck Operation section.

Be warned that at highway speeds, a two second following distance will NOT give you enough time to stop if the road ahead is suddenly blocked by a collision or a vehicle stopped across your lane.


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Slow down in School Zones and Around School Buses

Be extra careful around school buses:

  • On undivided roadways, traffic in both directions is required to stop for a school bus stopped with its alternating red lights flashing.

  • In Maryland, and most other states, opposing traffic on a divided highway does not have to stop for a stopped school bus.

  • In Maryland you are required to stop at least twenty feet away from the bus.

  • Wait a few extra seconds after the bus is gone to make sure there are no children present.


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Yield

When Approaching an Intersection …

  • Cover the Brake - Covering the brake (with your foot hovering directly over the brake pedal) can cut up to three-fourths of a second off your reaction time to stop if needed.

  • Observe Yield Signs and Yellow Lights - Slow down to assess the intersection before deciding to stop or proceed through.

  • Delay Acceleration - When stopped at an intersection, make sure it is clear before you accelerate. If you are the first vehicle in line, scan left, right, straight ahead, and then left again before accelerating. If there is a vehicle ahead of you, count two seconds after you see it begin to move before accelerating.

  • Use the “Rule of Thirds” - In the first third of the block, accelerate to a safe and legal speed. In the second third of the block, maintain speed; signal if making a turn and get into the proper lane. In the final third of the block, cover the brake.

Approximately forty percent of all traffic crashes occur at intersections.

Failure to yield the right-of-way is not just a breach of driver etiquette, it's breaking the law and it’s one of America's most common driver errors.


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Speeding is an ingredient of aggressive driving

Don’t let stress and frustrations turn you into an aggressive driver – driving should not become a competition. If you feel the urge to drive aggressively, try these tips:

  • Allow more travel time to get to your destination. It reduces stress dramatically.

  • Come to a full stop at red lights and stop signs. Never run yellow lights.

  • Let other drivers merge with you.

  • Obey posted speed limits.

  • Don’t ever follow other drivers too closely.

  • Resist temptation to teach someone “a lesson.”

  • Concentrate on driving, not on cell phones, stereo, passengers or other distractions.

  • Remember that you can’t control traffic, but you can control yourself, your driving, and your emotions.


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Aggressive Driving

Characteristics of Aggressive Drivers:

  • Speeding

  • Following too closely/tailgating

  • Running red lights and Stop signs

  • Changing lanes without signaling, cutting off vehicles

  • Weaving in and out of traffic

  • Passing on the shoulder of the road

  • Slamming on brakes in front of a tailgater

  • Making rude gestures and shouting

  • Repeatedly honking the horn or flashing of headlights


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Aggressive Driving

If you encounter an angry or aggressive driver:

  • Avoid eye contact.

  • Don't react to gestures and don't return them.

  • Do not underestimate the other driver’s potential for aggression.

  • Get out of the way – do not engage an aggressive driver in any way.

  • If a driver is too close, safely move out of the way and let the vehicle pass.

Smart Driving

If an aggressive driver is involved in a crash, stop a safe distance from the crash scene. When the police arrive, report the driving behavior you witnessed.

  • “FIDO” - Forget it and drive on.

  • Keep enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you to pull out from behind it if necessary.

  • Keep your doors locked and your windows up.

  • Report aggressive drivers to the appropriate authorities by providing a vehicle description, license number, location, and if possible direction of travel. Dial #77


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Aggressive Driving

Anyone convicted of aggressive driving will accrue five points on their driving record. The aggressive driving law passed by the Maryland Legislature during the 2001 session takes aim at these drivers who operate motor vehicles without the necessary degree of caution.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), drivers rate aggressive driving as the biggest highway danger today in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC areas.

The law defines aggressive driving as a combination of three or more offenses, committed during a single period of driving, which include: running a red light, overtaking and passing vehicles unsafely, passing on the right, following too closely, failing to yield the right of way, and exceeding the speed limit.


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Always Drive Sober

Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone every 30 minutes and injure someone every two minutes (NHTSA).

Alcohol is a factor in about 40 percent of the more than 40,000 deaths that occur each year in vehicle crashes.

Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) have been identified as factors in 18% of deaths among motor vehicle drivers. Other drugs are generally used in combination with alcohol (NHTSA).

Every year, 1.5 million people are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Smart Driving

Think Ahead - Expect other drivers to make mistakes and think about what you would do if a mistake does happen. For example, do not assume that a vehicle coming to a Stop sign is going to stop. Be ready to react if it does not stop.


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Always Drive Sober

In addition to affecting your reaction time alcohol and other drugs can:

- Affect your ability to control the vehicle.

- Increase aggressive behavior.

- Hinder your judgment process.

- Affect your vision.

Maryland is Tough on Drunk Drivers

If a driver is pulled over and has a blood alcohol concentration of .07 or higher, he or she will be arrested for drunk driving.

The .07 level can translate into just a drink or two depending on one’s height and weight.

Also, in Maryland, there is zero tolerance for drivers under the age of 21. They are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle with any alcohol in their system. In contrast, the legal limit for commercial truck drivers is .04.


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Focus

Driver inattention is one of the main causes of accidents, injuries and deaths.

If a driver looks down for just one second while driving 65 mph, their vehicle has traveled almost 100 feet!

Playing with the radio, dialing a mobile phone, trying to eat some fast-food can all be dangerous practices.

Do not allow yourself to be distracted while driving. Stay focused on the task at hand - driving.

Smart Driving

Look Down the Road!

This means keep your eyes up and looking down the road. Many drivers focus on the road only 5 or 8 seconds ahead.

You should be looking about 15-20 seconds ahead of your vehicle, farther if you can. This gives you the time to recognize and avoid most potential hazards before they become a problem. You'll see lane restrictions or construction areas, traffic congestion, truck entrances, mishaps, etc.


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Focus

DRIVER FATIGUE IS A KILLER

  • If possible, don't drive alone. Passengers can take turns driving and also serve as conversation partners to keep you awake.

  • Try not to drive when you would normally be asleep (early mornings and late nights).

  • On long trips, plan to stay somewhere overnight.

  • The glare of lights, both on your dashboard and outside your car, increases the danger of highway hypnosis.

Smart Driving

Stay Rested - Drivers who are sleepy or fatigued demonstrate the same impaired judgment and decreased reaction times as drunk drivers.

  • Turn the radio volume up, and switch stations frequently, but avoid soft, sleep-inducing music.

  • Adjust your car's environment so that it helps keep you awake and alert. Keep the temperature cool.

  • Don’t use cruise control - keep your body involved with the driving.

  • Drive with good posture - with your head up and shoulders back.


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Stay Alert in Work Zones

Maryland continually works to enhance its world class transportation network by improving safety and mobility. That's why you're likely to encounter a number of roadway work zones while driving throughout the State. These work zones may be a result of construction, maintenance, or utility work along major and secondary roadways.

Work zones are a temporary inconvenience, but they are necessary to develop improved and safer roads for everyone.

Unexpected Conditions - Motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians may encounter a variety of work zone conditions, such as:

  • New traffic patterns

  • Narrow lanes

  • Lane shifts

  • Lane closures

  • Pavement drop-offs

  • Reduced sight distance

  • Detours

  • Slow moving equipment

Remember that not all roadway work zones are large construction projects. Some projects may be smaller, moving work zones such as pothole repair, mowing, surveying or utility work.


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Driving In Work Zones

Stay Alert - Make safety your first priority.

Watch Your Speed - Obey posted speed limits.

Expect the Unexpected - Work zone conditions change constantly - be ready to react.

Minimize Distractions - Avoid using cell phones, changing radio stations and reaching for objects.

Across the nation, nearly 1,100 people die and more than 40,000 people are injured annually as a result of motor vehicle crashes in work zones. Speeding, inattentive driving, and aggressive driving habits in merge areas are the primary causes of work zone crashes.

In any work zone, expect the unexpected!

Normal speed limits are reduced, traffic lanes may change and work vehicles may suddenly enter or leave the road. Orange diamond-shaped warning signs are usually posted in advance of any construction. You may also see workers with flags or signs. Flaggers have the same authority as a regulatory sign, and you can be cited for disobeying their commands.


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Everyone Share the Road

Sharing the road means …

… being courteous, following traffic laws and looking out for others – pedestrians, motorcyclists, large trucks and bicyclists.

… driving defensively - committing no driving errors and making all reasonable allowances for the lack of skill or improper driving practices of other drivers.

… driving to compensate for unusual weather, road, and traffic conditions, and is not involved in a crash because of by the unsafe actions of pedestrians and other drivers.

… remaining alert to crash-inducing situations, recognizes the need for preventive action in advance and takes the necessary precautions to prevent a crash.

… knowing when it is necessary to slow down, stop, or yield right-of-way to avoid involvement.

Smart Driving

#1 - Be courteous, even when other drivers are not. Don't assume the other driver is out to antagonize you; he or she may just be in a hurry, too.

#2 – Set an example through safe, courteous driving.


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Sharing the road with pedestrians

It's the Law in Maryland

Stop for Pedestrians.

In Maryland, it’s the law that all vehicles must stop at crosswalks for any pedestrian. Always prepare to stop when you approach an intersection and look out for pedestrian traffic.

Crosswalks exist at all intersections, even if not marked.

  • Always be prepared to stop when you approach an intersection and look out for pedestrian traffic.

  • Be alert when turning corners.

  • If the car in front of you stops at a corner, be prepared for the possibility of pedestrians crossing.

  • Give older adults plenty of time to cross the street.

  • Elderly pedestrians may not be able to cross quickly or hear you approaching.

  • Follow all posted speed limits. When children are present near schools, the speed limit is usually lower than that of surrounding roadways. In residential areas, be alert for children who may be playing near the street. Children often dart out from between parked cars or shrubbery.

  • Even if you have the right of way, is it worth someone’s life? Please yield to pedestrians.

    In Maryland, approximately 100 pedestrians are killed each year. Pedestrian injuries can be prevented. Take care to be a defensive pedestrian and an alert driver.


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Pedestrian Safety

Maryland Pedestrian Safety Laws

Failure to stop for pedestrians at intersections without traffic signals and at mid-block crossings: Penalty $70 and one point. If the violation contributes to a crash, you can be fined up to $500 and receive three points and/or two months in jail.

Failure to stop for pedestrians at intersections with traffic signals: Penalty $80 and one point. If violation contributes to a crash, you can receive three points.

Drivers who fail to stop for a school bus with flashing lights activated can be fined $1,000.

Police officers who issue the citations no longer have to appear in court when a driver challenges the fines.

Remember every time you step out of your vehicle, you become a pedestrian too!


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Share the road with bicyclists

Bicyclists Are Vehicle Operators

Bicycles are treated as vehicles in Maryland. Motorists must yield to cyclists in situations in which they would yield to other vehicles.

A cyclist must ride on the shoulder or bike lane if present. If there is no shoulder or bike lane, a cyclist must use the right side of the road riding with traffic unless turning left or passing a slower vehicle.

Do not attempt to share the lane with bicyclists. If the lane is too narrow to safely pass a cyclist, reduce your speed and follow the bicycle at a safe distance. Wait for a safe opportunity to pass, allowing adequate clearance (about three feet from the side of your vehicle) and return to your lane when you can clearly see the cyclist in your rear-view mirror.

Share the road and do not use your horn. The cyclist can usually hear an approaching vehicle and loud noises can startle the cyclist and may cause a crash.

Smart Driving

Give bicyclists wide berth, they sometimes need to maneuver around potholes, opening car doors, and other obstacles.


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Share the road with large trucks

Sharing the Road with Trucks

A recent survey examined crashes involving passenger vehicles (including cars, pickups, minivans and SUVs) and commercial trucks. The survey estimates some 5,000 deaths and 140,000 injuries in the U.S. can be attributed to dangerous driving near commercial trucks and tractor-trailers.

In most fatal crashes involving commercial trucks and passenger vehicles, the passenger vehicle is at fault. Listed below are five driving behaviors that were factors in most of the fatal crashes:

  • Failing to stay in the lane or running off the road;

  • Failing to yield the right of way;

  • Driving too fast for conditions or above the speed

    limit;

  • Failing to obey signs and signals; and

  • Driver inattention.

Smart Driving

Stay Clear of Trucks

Never, drive beside a large truck for long periods of time.

Wind turbulence around a truck can push you off the road or pull you into the truck.

When a tire blows on an eighteen wheeler at high speed, it creates a force similar to an explosion and has caused very serious injury and even death to the occupants of adjacent vehicles.


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Know the “No Zone”

Understanding some of the challenges and limitations involved in maneuvering commercial vehicles such as heavy trucks, busses and cargo vans will help you share the road safely.

Blind Spots “The No Zone” - Truck and bus drivers have huge blind spots, and sometimes must react quickly to hazards in front of them by switching lanes. Keep your distance so the truck driver can see you in the rear or side mirrors. Avoid traveling in the “The No Zone”for any length of time … if you can't see the truck driver's face in the side mirror, he or she can't see you.

Passing - If you cut in front of a truck too soon after passing and then slow down, you force the truck driver to quickly brake and gear down. This can be very dangerous when a truck is hauling a heavy load, making them unable to stop quickly. Be sure you can see the headlights of the truck before re-entering the lane. Use your turn signals and, once you have passed, maintain your speed.


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Driving around large larges

Wide Turns - To safely negotiate right turns, trucks may swing wide to the left before turning right. Stay well behind. Do not squeeze between the truck and the right curb. The truck has the right of way in this situation.

Never cut in front of a truck - Because it takes them twice as long to stop, truck drivers try to leave extra room behind the car they’re following. They cannot slow down or stop as fast as cars.

Roll Back - On an incline a truck may roll back as the driver takes his foot off the brake to accelerate. Leave plenty of room when coming to a stop behind a truck.

Smart Driving

Right Hand Turns

When you see a truck driver trying to make a right hand turn NEVER go to the right because the driver CANNOT see you!  


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Using Your Signals

  • In addition to speeding, the non-use of turn signals is one of the most frequent improper driving habits seen on our highways.

  • The non-use of turn signals when making a turn is against the law.

  • Turn signals are an important safety alert to other drivers that you are changing lanes or turning.

  • It’s important to use turn signals immediately before you want to turn and make certain they are canceled promptly after your turn.

  • Be safe and show off your manners …

  • … Use Your Turn Signals!

It's the Law in Maryland

Full Stop Before a Turn on Red.

Unless there is a sign prohibiting it, Maryland law allows drivers to turn right only after stopping for a red light. Drivers may also turn left from a one-way street onto another one-way street if there is no sign that says “No Turn on Red”.


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Young Drivers

  • YOUNG DRIVERS

  • One in five teenage drivers has a crash in their first year of driving.

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 4 to 34 year-olds.

  • For the teenage driver, the presence of one passenger increase the risk of a fatal crash by 86 percent, compared to driving alone. With three passengers, the fatal crash risk triples.

The fatality rate for teenage drivers is about four times as high as the rate for drivers 25 to 69 years of age.


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Young Drivers

Common High Risk factors associated with teen drivers include:

Driving at night. Most fatal crashes among teens occur after 9 p.m.

Poor seat belt use. Teens use seat belts less frequently than adults, significantly increasing risk of injury and death.

Driving with multiple passengers. Among teen drivers, multiple passengers can dramatically increase the risk of crashes.

Driving under the influence. Even small amounts of drugs or alcohol can impair judgment and skills.

Smart Driving

Wear your seat belt! Without a doubt, seat belts are the most significant safety device ever invented.


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Older drivers

Older Drivers The effects of aging can affect the safe driving abilities of some older adults. Per mile driven, the fatality rate for drivers 85 years and older is nine times higher than the rate for drivers 25 to 69 years old.

The excess crash rate of older drivers results from impairments in the following functions that are important for driving:

Vision is the primary sense utilized in driving. Adequate visual acuity and field of vision are important for safe driving, but tend to decline with age.

Hearing is also a very important primary sense utilized in driving. Hearing loss includes the inability to hear high-pitched sounds. Uncorrected hearing loss leads to inattentive driving.

Cognition - Driving requires a variety of high-level cognitive skills, including memory, visual processing, attention, and executive skills. Certain medical conditions and medications that are common in the older population have a large impact on cognition. 

Motor function - Motor abilities such as muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility are necessary for operating vehicle controls and turning to view traffic.


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Hazardous Driving Conditions

Rain, Snow and Ice

Remember that roads are extra slippery at the start of a rain shower because oil has risen to the road’s surface and has not yet had a chance to wash away.

Heavy rains will cause more problems because your tires can begin to hydroplane like water skis. In this case, the key to keeping your tires in contact with the road is to simply slow down.

There is an old saying - "If the roads are wet, drive like it's snowing. If the roads are snow-covered, drive like they're icy. If the roads are icy, then don't drive.”

It's the Law in Maryland

Turn on Lights in the Rain

Maryland law requires all drivers to turn on their headlights whenever they are using their windshield wipers.


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Reacting to Inclement Weather

An important skill to learn in snow and ice is the controlled slide. If your vehicle begins to slide, take the following steps to regain control:

1. Take your foot off the accelerator pedal.

2. If you have anti-lock brakes, apply them firmly. The ABS system prevents the wheels from locking, enabling you to steer around obstacles. Otherwise, avoid using brakes, pumping them gently only if you are about to hit something.

3. Steer the car into the direction of the skid to straighten out the vehicle, then steer in the direction you wish to go.

If your vehicle ever goes into a spin, there are two hard and fast rules you should follow:

#1 - Do not try to accelerate out of the spin.

#2 - Do not hold the brake pedal down.

Smart Driving

When driving in cold, but sunny weather, icy patches tend to linger in areas shaded by trees and on bridges. Watch out for them.


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Know what to do in rain, snow and ice

Stopping Times

- In the rain add at least 50% more stopping distance than under normal conditions.

- On snow covered roads allow at least twice the distance.

- On icy roads allow at least three times the stopping distance.

Have a pre-winter vehicle inspection performed - checking your vehicle’s antifreeze, oil, battery, defroster, heater, wiper blades, lights, washer fluid and tires.

Check tires to be sure there is adequate tread and check air pressure to ensure proper inflation. Use radials or chains during snow emergencies.

It’s a good idea to keep an emergency kit on hand, including: a flashlight, blanket, bag of sand or salt, extra washer fluid, a windshield scraper, jumper cables, tire chains or traction mats, food and water. Also, maintain at least a half a tank of gas at all times during the winter season.


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Foggy conditions

The best advice we can give to drivers confronted with thick fog is to get off the road as soon as possible. If you can't or won't pull off the road, we offer the following advice:

  • Keep your minimum safety gap to two seconds in ideal conditions; with the decreased visibility fog causes, this interval should be increased substantially, three to four times.

  • Slow down. Most fog-related traffic fatalities occur because someone was driving too fast and couldn't stop in time to avoid a collision.

  • Make sure that you can be seen. Turn on your fog lights, and use low beams. High beams direct light up into the fog making it difficult for you to see. Low beams direct light down onto the road and help other drivers to see you.


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Inclement Weather

  • If you leave the road, be sure to pull off completely. Turn off your driving lights and turn on your four-way emergency flashers so others know you're there, but won't think you are driving on the road.

  • Always use your defroster and windshield wipers to keep the windows clear.

  • Keep an eye on your speedometer and maintain a slow, constant speed.

  • Remember that other drivers have a limited sight distance and that fog can leave roadways slick. Signal early, and when you use your brakes, use them gently.

Smart Driving

Slow down and leave wider spaces between you and other drivers when you encounter bad weather, glare, narrow/twisting roads and low light conditions.


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Nighttime driving

Beware of the Dark

Although there is much less traffic, more than half of all crashes occur after dark. The most dangerous time is between 9:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. on weekends. One explanation is that there are three times as many alcohol-related crashes at night. But the fact remains, drivers simply can't see as well at night, particularly older drivers. When the sun sets, remember to:

• Slow down. Reduce your speed at night to compensate for low visibility, and never over-drive your headlights.

• Dim your high beams. In most states it is illegal to use high beams within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle. High beams can blind the other driver, particularly older drivers, who take up to eight times as long to recover from glare as a teenager. Be considerate; dim your high beams to oncoming traffic, as well as vehicles you approach from the rear.


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Nighttime Driving

• Divert your eyes. When you meet high beams head on, don't stare into them. Look to the right edge of the road. Safety experts recommend that you not flick your high beams to warn the other driver, although this is common practice. Never, however, should you get even by leaving your own high beams on. This only increases the chances of an accident.

• Focus driving lights. Many sporty models today have an extra set of driving or fog lights. Although they can aid drivers in the fog or on certain dark country lanes, these lights should be used sparingly in well-lighted urban areas, and they should be kept focused on the road, not shining up in the trees or into the eyes of oncoming drivers.


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Vision

Having your vision checked regularly is very important. MVA requires a minimum of 20-40 in order to pass the eye exam for a driver’s license or renewal.

Routine eye exams are necessary not only to assess your visual acuity, but also to determine if you may have a degenerative eye condition that may be affecting your driving performance.

Examples of degenerative eye conditions:

Glaucoma - Gradual loss of visual function beginning in periphery areas associated with increased ocular pressure

Cataracts - Opacity or clouding of the crystalline lens

Macular Degeneration - Loss of vision in the central (macular) vision area due to neurological damage

Smart Driving

Keep your eyes moving.

Notice what is happening on the sides of the road and check behind you through your mirrors every 6-8 seconds.


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Medical Conditions

Medical Conditions

It’s estimated that more than one out of four Americans has some form of serious medical/mental condition that could impact driving performance.

Although we hope the majority of drivers are taking appropriate measures to control their medical conditions, it’s a certainty that there are others that do not. Be aware, alert and on-guard for erratic and/or dangerous driver habits. It could be due to an uncontrolled medical or mental condition.

  • Depression

  • Diabetes

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Bipolar Disorder

  • Anxiety

  • Heart Disease

  • Epilepsy

  • Drug & Alcohol Addictions


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Navigating the Road

  • When traveling in unfamiliar territory, interstate numbers give you valuable clues to your location and direction.

  • One or two-digit even-numbered interstates are always east-west routes. The numbers increase from south (I-10) to north (I-80).

  • Odd numbered one or two-digit interstates are north-south routes. Their numbers increase from the west coast (I-5) to the east coast (I-95).

  • Mile markers show the number of miles from where the route entered the state in which you are traveling. Their numbers increase as you travel east or north, and decrease as you go west or south.

  • Most states, including Maryland, link Interstate highway exit numbers to highway mile markers. For example, Exit 40 may be at or very close to mile marker 40.00.


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Pavement Markings and Passing

Pavement Markings

The two colors used most frequently for pavement markings are white and yellow. White lines separate traffic traveling in the same direction and mark the right edge of roadways and ramps.

Yellow lines generally separate traffic traveling in opposite directions and mark the left edge of divided highways and ramps. If you ever see a yellow line on your right, you're going the wrong way!

The Rules of Passing

A. Double solid yellow centerlines means no passing is allowed in either direction.

B. A single dashed yellow centerline means you are allowed to pass if it is safe to do so.

C. A combination of solid and dashed yellow centerlines has two meanings: If the dashed line is in your lane, you can pass. If the solid line is in your lane, you can't pass.

Smart Driving

When you merge, make sure you have plenty of room. Always use your turn signal to show your intentions before making a move. If someone cuts you off, slow down and give them room to merge into your lane.


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Traffic Control Signage

Traffic control devices are the primary means of regulating, warning, and guiding traffic on our streets and highways.

Signs, signals and markings are roadway communications to drivers. Pay attention to all signs as they provide a “road map” for possible hazards ahead.

The shapes and colors of signs are standardized to give the motoring public an indication as to what the sign says. Recognizing signs by their shape and color before you are close enough to clearly read it will put you in more control on any road.

Generally, warning signs are diamond-shaped, such as the lane added or merge signs. Signs that are colored blue carry information to highway users.

A new color is being used for the pedestrian, bicycle and school crossing signs. It's called florescent yellow green, and it will convey the same message as yellow warning signs.

When stopping at a stop sign, spell S-T-O-P to yourself before proceeding.

Always turn your head to look left, then right, straight ahead, then left again before proceeding.


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Traffic Control Signage

Although most highway exits are on the right, some exits are on the left. Dangerous situations can be avoided by noticing the yellow left exit panel at the bottom of the highway sign.

Also, look for the small green exit number panel at the top of the sign. If it's on the left side of the sign, your exit is also on the left side of the road.

Both signs and markings have the function of regulating, warning, guiding and/or channeling traffic. Signs are of various shapes and colors, and it is necessary to become familiar with them.


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Red is exclusively for Stop and Yield signs, Do Not Enter, Wrong Way, and No Parking signs.

Black on white is used for speed limit, route markers, regulatory, and bridge/weight signs.

Yellow denotes warning or caution for existing or potentially hazardous conditions on or adjacent to a highway or street.

Orange is used for construction or maintenance operations alerting traffic of obstructions or restrictions to normal traffic flow.

Traffic Control Signage


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Fluorescent Yellow-Green is now approved for pedestrian, bicycle, and school crossing warning signs. (In Maryland this color is used mostly for school crossing warning signs.)

Brown is used as background color for guide and information signs related to points of recreational or cultural interest.

Green is for guide signs and mileposts, and as a message color on permissive regulation and parking signs.

Blue denotes information signs related to motorist services, including handicap, police services, and rest areas.

Traffic Control Signage


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Conclusion bicycle, and school crossing warning signs. (In Maryland this color is used mostly for school crossing warning signs.)

Smart Driving

Match your speed to the driving conditions.

Be ready for other drivers’ mistakes.

Always look for possible escape routes.

Congratulations, you’re almost finished!

We hope you enjoyed the training, and learned something you may not have known along the way.

There’s a significant amount of traffic on our roadways today and too many people are in a great big hurry. If not cautious, it’s easily possible to get involved in a serious situation on our highways.

From the information you’ve received through this training, and by making sure to use mature discipline while driving, it is hoped that you will continue to be safe while driving. Your family and friends are counting on you being around and driving defensively.

Thank you for your attention and your time.