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SHA Driver Improvement Program


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Title: SHA Driver Improvement Program

SAFETY. Driver Improvement Training Program
Driver Improvement Training
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Table of Contents
Link Section Page
Using the Program ... 5
Introduction . 7
Rules for Drivers of State Vehicles 10
Pre-Operation Safety Check 18
Vehicle ODC/ESR Form . 21
Steering Tips 22
Tire Safety ... 23
Restraint Use 27
Driver Fatigue .. 30
Using Your Signals .. 34
Driver Error . 39
Driver Inattention . 41
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Table of Contents
Link Section Page
Speeding . 46
Following Distance 48
Failure to Yield .. 52
Pedestrian Bicyclist Safety ...... 54
Merge with Caution .................... 57
Pavement Markings and Passing 58
Navigating the Road ................... 59
Preventing Collisions .................. 61
High Risk and At-Risk Drivers ... 68
Traffic Control Signage ............... 73
Aggressive Driving ...................... 77
Are You a Dangerous Driver? ..... 83
Table of Contents
Link Section Page
Driving Defensively .................... 85
Hazardous Driving Conditions .... 86
Vision and Medical Conditions ... 96
Alcohol and Drugs ....................... 99
Commercial Vehicle Awareness .. 106
Driving in Work Zones ................ 109
Conclusion ................................... 112

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Drive SafelyWe care about you!
The average State employee received his or her
drivers license 30 years ago!
How long has it been since you have reviewed the
rules of the road? The State of Maryland is
genuinely committed to protecting its employees
on the road. This Driver Improvement Program is a
tool to freshen driving skills and keep State
employees out of harms way. Be a driving force
for safety protect yourself, your colleagues,
your family and friends by driving safely.
Why be a driving force for safety?
  • Each year traffic crashes kill more people in
    Maryland than homicides.
  • Over 90 of fatal crashes are preventable
    incidents caused by driver error.
  • Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death
    for people ages 3 to 33.
  • The Driving Force for Safety campaign is part of
    the overall Choose Safety for Life campaign, an
    effort to promote traffic safety, raise
    awareness, prevent crashes and injuries and save

Everyone loses when there is a serious crash.
When a person is fatally injured, the loss is
felt in families, communities and work places.
Injury crashes can be nearly as devastating.
This training program will help sharpen your
driving skills, so that driving will continue to
be a safe and pleasurable experience. The Choose
Safety for Life Campaign empowers drivers,
pedestrians and cyclists to make the right
choices on the road. Nearly 600 lives could be
saved every year if everyone practices the B-SAFE
tenets Buckle up, Slow down speeding kills,
Always drive sober, Focus, Everyone share the
road everyone gets home. Be A Driving Force
for Safety is a call to action to State employees
to protect themselves on the road , and to set
the example for others. By doing so, lives can
be saved.
Crashes are no accident. You hold the key to
their prevention.
State Fleet Drivers set the standard for other
drivers on Maryland roadways.
The following is an extract from the Department
of Budget and Management, Policies and Procedures
for Vehicle Fleet Management. If you would like
to view the complete document you can do so on
the Department of Budget and Management Internet
site at
VEHICLES Only authorized drivers are eligible to
drive a State vehicle. The privilege to drive a
State vehicle is contingent upon compliance with
the Policies and Procedures for Drivers of State
Vehicles. Prior to driving a State vehicle, the
driver shall sign an Acknowledgement Statement.
A copy of the signed Acknowledgement Statement
shall be retained by the Agency fleet manager.
Drivers who do not sign the Acknowledgement
Statement are NOT authorized to drive State
Rules for Drivers of State Vehicles
Driver Eligibility In order to be eligible to
drive a State vehicle a driver must have a
drivers license valid in the State of Maryland
and appropriate for the class of vehicle driven
and have five (5) or fewer points on his/her
current driving record. Eligibility shall be
immediately suspended for a driver who is charged
with any motor vehicle violation for which a
penalty of incarceration is possible while
driving a State vehicle. Motor vehicle citations
for these violations will indicate that the
violation is a Must Appear violation and that
the driver must appear when notified by the
Court. Eligibility shall remain suspended until
the Agencys Accident Review Board has reviewed
the occurrence, and a decision regarding further
action is made. Drivers who have had their
driving privilege suspended as a result of point
accumulation, being charged with any offense for
which a penalty of incarceration is possible
while driving a State vehicle, or a determination
by the Accident Review Board or Agency Head shall
be reimbursed for use of a private vehicle at no
more than one-half of the effective State
reimbursement rate.
Rules for Drivers of State Vehicles
Driver Record Review The driving record of each
authorized driver will be reviewed by the Agency
when the driver signs the Acknowledgement
Statement and when information is received
regarding an authorized drivers point
accumulation via MVA monitoring programs. Drivers
with out-of-state drivers licenses must provide
a certified copy of their driver record to the
Agency when they sign the Acknowledgement
Statement, and annually thereafter. Drivers with
out-of-state drivers licenses must notify their
Agency fleet manager in the event they accumulate
more than five (5) points on their driving
record. This notification must occur within ten
(10) days of the points being assessed.
Rules for Drivers of State Vehicles
Permissible Use of State Vehicles State vehicles
are to be used to conduct official State
business. Whenever possible, trips should be
planned to coincide with other authorized driver
travel requirements so that vehicles are used
efficiently and economically. a. State vehicles
shall not be used for personal reasons, including
to transport friends or members of the family
(e.g., transporting children to and from
school). b. Passengers in State automobiles are
limited to persons being transported in
connection with State business. c. There shall be
no smoking in State vehicles.
Rules for Drivers of State Vehicles
All drivers shall operate State vehicles in
compliance with the Motor Vehicle Laws of the
jurisdiction in which the vehicle is being driven
and in a manner that reflects concern for safety
and courtesy towards the public. You set an
example for drivers around you.
a. An authorized driver shall operate a State
vehicle in accordance with any license
requirements or restrictions, such as corrective
lenses, daytime only, etc. b. The driver of a
State vehicle shall take every precaution to
ensure the safety of passengers. No person may
ride in a State vehicle unless properly
restrained by a seat belt or, in the case of
children, an appropriate child seat. (NOTE Some
State Agencies must transport children as part of
their job.) It shall be the drivers
responsibility to ensure that all passengers are
properly restrained. c. All traffic and parking
laws are to be obeyed. Posted speed limits are
not to be exceeded, nor is the vehicle to be
operated above safe driving speeds for road
conditions. All traffic and parking violations
and fines, including any late fees or penalties,
are the responsibility of the driver involved.
Failure to promptly pay a violation or fine may
result in disciplinary action.
Rules for Drivers of State Vehicles
d. The driver of a State vehicle shall take
every precaution to ensure the safety of the
vehicle and its contents. The driver shall lock
the vehicle and take the keys, except in those
instances when a commercial parking garage
requires the keys to be left with the vehicle. e.
Authorized drivers of State vehicles are
personally responsible for vehicles operated by
them. If a State vehicle is damaged beyond
repair as a result of misuse or gross negligence,
the operator of the vehicle may be required to
make restitution of the difference between the
amount obtained as salvage value and the amount
of the then current wholesale value of the
vehicle as reported in the National Auto Research
Black Book Used Care Market Guide, MD Edition.
New hands-free cell phone use policy is in effect
If a mobile communications device must be used by
an employee while driving a State vehicle, a
hands free device must be used. Drivers are
encouraged to keep mobile communications device
use to a minimum.  Whenever possible, employees
should not make or receive calls while
driving.  Only in the case of an emergency is the
use of a hand held mobile communications device
without a hands free device permitted.   Rememb
er there is a new State law in effect that bans
texting while driving.
Rules for Drivers of State Vehicles
Moving Violation Reporting An authorized driver,
including Agency Heads, charged with a moving
violation or a must appear violation while
driving a State vehicle shall notify his/her
Agency fleet manager immediately, and in no case
later than the following business day. In turn,
the Agency shall notify DBM in writing within two
business days of receiving notice of the charge.
Failure to timely report the receipt of a moving
violation or a must appears violation may result
in disciplinary action.
Rules for Drivers of State Vehicles
Incident Guidelines and Reporting If there is
an accident involving a State vehicle, the State
Accident Guidelines should be followed. A copy
of these guidelines will be kept in the Vehicle
Mileage Log folder. Authorized drivers, including
Agency Heads, who are involved in an accident
while driving a State vehicle shall report the
incident to their Agency fleet manager
immediately, and in no case later than the
following business day even if no other vehicle
is involved or there are no apparent injuries or
Be a driving force for safety. ... Stay alert,
Drive responsibly.
Pre-Operation Safety Check
  • Before you operate a State vehicle, perform a
    simple and easy vehicle pre-operation safety
  • Look at the overall condition of the vehicle.
  • Check your turn signals for proper operation.
  • Turn on the lights and walk around the vehicle
    to ensure that all lights operate.
  • Check to see if the tires are properly inflated
    and in good condition.
  • If you must back out of a parked position,
    always inspect behind your vehicle for
    obstructions before getting into the vehicle.
  • Every time you refuel, check your oil and other
    fluid levels. Look for noticeable leaks
    throughout the engine compartment.
  • Report anything needing service.
  • As a common courtesy to others, after youre
    finished using a State vehicle, if the fuel
    reading is below half a tank, make sure to refuel
    the vehicle before parking.

The pre-operation safety check at the right is
for State passenger vehicles, light trucks and
vans. Our heavy equipment fleet is subject to a
more rigorous pre- and post-trip daily inspection
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
youre 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 once
under way. 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 drivers
responsibility. Also, remember to keep State
vehicles clean, free of paper, empty soda cans,
etc. Someone else will likely be driving the
vehicle after you.
Pre-Operation Safety Check
Adjusting Your Mirrors Rule of Thumb If you
can see even a glimpse of the sides of your car
in your outside mirrors they are turned too far
inwards. To properly adjust the left mirror,
place your head close to the left window and
adjust the mirror so that you can just see the
left side of the car. For the right mirror, move
your head towards the center of the vehicle and
adjust the right mirror in the same way. When you
are sitting correctly in the driver's seat, you
will not be able to see your vehicle, but your
blind spots will be greatly reduced.
  • All State agencies have a formal inspection
    program for State vehicles to assure that they
    are clean, properly equipped, and well
  • An Operators Daily Checklist (ODC) and/or
    Equipment Service Request (ESR) form, or
    combined Operators Daily Checklist/Equipment
    Service Request (ODC/ESR) form is an important
    part of the fleet service and maintenance
    program. These form(s) are used for both
    passenger vehicles and heavy equipment.
  • Prior to using a State vehicle, you should
    inspect the vehicle to make sure that it is in
    proper operating condition. If there is any
    problem with the vehicle, a completed ESR form
    must be submitted with the vehicle to the
    appropriate maintenance facility prior to use.
  • Note that different State Agencies may have
    different titles for these forms.

Steering Tips
  • What's the Best Way To Hold a Steering Wheel?
  • When driving a vehicle with a driver's side air
    bag, its recommended to grip the wheel within
    the 9 and 3 oclock, and 10 and 2 o'clock
    positions. A grip any higher puts you at risk of
    wrist and/or face injury, should the air bag
    deploy. Any lower position not only encourages
    lazy driving, with the arms resting on the
    driver's thighs or lap, but it also significantly
    reduces a driver's ability to steer accurately
    and swiftly in the event of an emergency.
  • Steering - Use Two Hands
  • Many people fail to use two hands when driving.
    Modern cars with advanced suspensions shield us
    from the road they almost tempt us to be lazy.
    Dont allow yourself to be fooled. Cars appear
    stable when driven in a straight line. However,
    when someone near you loses control of their car,
    and you are forced within less than 1/2 second to
    take an evasive maneuver, the real test of a
    car's stability is called into question.

Tire Safety
Everything Rides On It Tire tread provides the
gripping action and traction that prevent a
vehicle from sliding, especially when the road is
wet or icy. In general, when a tires 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 that notify motorists when
they should be replaced. These indicators are
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 Lincoln penny.
The motorist should place the penny upside down
within the tread. If the top of Lincoln's head is
visible, the tire needs to be replaced.
Tire Safety
  • Tire Safety - Everything Rides On It
  • A radial tire can lose much of its air pressure
    and still appear to be fully inflated. Operating
    a vehicle with substantially under-inflated tires
    can result in tire failure, such as tire
    separation and blowouts, with the potential for
    loss of control of the vehicle. Under-inflated
    tires also shorten tire life and increase fuel
  • 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.
  • Motorists should not rely on visual tire
    inspections to determine whether a tire is
    properly inflated but should use a tire pressure
    gauge to do so.

Actual Accounts
Tire Failure Accident My wife and I had bought
a brand new 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee. We had only
had the vehicle for about eight days when we went
on vacation to a family reunion. On our return
home, I was with my brother-in-law in his car and
my wife and her sister were in the Grand Cherokee
with my 3 year old daughter and 6 year old son.
We were on a straight road on a beautiful
day. The tire blew out on the Grand Cherokee,
sending it out of control and flipping over. My
wife and my son were killed instantly. This
accident and the deaths of my wife and son are
all due to a tire blow out. Please inspect
your tires routinely.
Be a driving force for safety ...
Restraint Use
  • All persons who ride in a State vehicle must have
    their seat belt fastened.
  • Every 13 minutes, someone is killed in a traffic
  • Three of five people killed in vehicle crashes
    would have survived their injuries had they been
    wearing seat belts.
  • Seat belts save an estimated 9,500 lives in the
    United States each year.
  • (Source National Highway Traffic Safety

Smart Driving In a crash at 30 mph, if
unrestrained, you will be thrown forward with a
force up to 60 times your bodyweight.
Restraint Use
This video clip shows what can happen to your
body in an accident when you dont wear a seat
belt. (video will start automatically) Footage
approval from DriveCam at http//
Ejected Death! Wear Your Seat Belt. It
Will Save Your Life!
Restraint Use
The driver in the previous slide amazingly walked
away from the collision. He was extremely
lucky. The majority of people thrown from their
vehicle in a collision dont live to talk about
it. 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. Makes sense,
doesn't it?
Driver Fatigue
  • Tips on avoiding driver fatigue on long trips ...
  • An obvious cause of fatigue is the lack of
    sleep. Get enough rest and don't start a trip
    late in the day.
  • Plan your trip to include regular rest breaks
    (at least 15 minutes every two hours). Get out of
    the car, walk around, stretch, jog or do
    calisthenics. Exercise fights fatigue.
  • In addition to exercise breaks, stop for light
    meals and snacks. Never drink alcohol and drive.

Smart Driving Stay Rested - Drivers who are
sleepy or fatigued demonstrate the same impaired
judgment and decreased reaction times as drunk
Driver Fatigue
  • 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
  • The glare of lights, both on your dashboard
    and outside your car, increases the danger of
    highway hypnosis.
  • 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
  • Dont use cruise control - keep your body
    involved with the driving.
  • Drive with good posture - with your head up
    and shoulders back.

Actual Accounts
STOP! You May Be Too Tired To Drive
More than 100,000 auto crashes in the US each
year are the result of driver fatigue. All could
have been prevented.
Be a driving force for safety ...
Smart Driving When being approached by an
emergency vehicle, pull to the right shoulder of
the road and stop. Put on your hazard lights to
allow others to see you better.
Using Your Signals
State law now requires that you use your
headlights anytime you are using your windshield
wipers. The use of headlights is important -
not only to see, but to be seen. As a driver
and roadway user, there is a good likelihood that
at some point youll have to communicate a
breakdown or accident. Use your four-way
emergency flashers they serve as a warning so
others dont pull off at the same spot. Make
your presence known - use your horn to indicate a
potential risk or to let another driver know you
are there.
A car is visible for nearly four times the
distance with its headlights on.
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
  • Its 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.
Using Your Signals
Here are the correct and incorrect ways to use
your signals for communicating. Turn
Signals Correct when making turns, lane
changes, entering roadway Incorrect forgetting
to cancel, wrong way, too late, too
early Four-Way Emergency Flashers Correct when
disabled, emergency stops on shoulder, when
mechanical problems cause you to temporarily move
slower than other traffic Incorrect failure to
use in an emergency, using for normal driving
Using Your Signals
Brake Lights Correct - To warn of traffic
conflict ahead, when slowing unexpectedly, to
signal a stop in traffic, when turning from a
high-speed highway Incorrect Failure to pump
(flash), flashing for routine stops, flashing too
late, riding the brake Horn Correct To get
attention, to warn others, to pass Incorrect
Failure to use, unnecessary use, blast instead of
a toot and vice versa, using too late
Smart Driving Drive to Communicate Always signal
your intentions, and use your lights and horn
when necessary to let others know you are there.
Be a driving force for safety
Driver Error
For most people, operating a motor vehicle is the
most dangerous thing they do during each work day.
  • Driving is serious business.
  • Do not put yourself and others on the road at
  • Your life and the lives of others are in your
    hands when you operate a vehicle.
  • If you become complacent about driving, youre
    headed for trouble.
  • Stay alert and on guard at all times.

Smart Driving Pay Attention! I never saw him!
is the most common excuse heard after a
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 crashes as all of the other three causes

DRIVER ERROR is responsible in over 90 of all
vehicle crashes! This means that nearly all
highway crashes are preventable.
Driver Inattention
  • Driver inattention is one of the main causes of
    crashes, 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
  • Do not allow yourself to be distracted while
    driving. Stay focused on the task at hand -

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.
Driver Inattention
  • Driver Distractions
  • When behind the steering wheel, nothing is more
    important than driving. It can literally be a
    matter of life or death. Pull off to the side of
    the road (in a safe place) when you must do
    something other than driving.
  • Talking on a cell phone this distraction can
    increase your chance of a collision by nearly
  • Grooming (make up, shaving, combing hair, etc.)
  • Tuning the radio or selecting a new CD to play
  • Excessive volume from radio or passengers
  • Reading or writing - checking the map
  • Watching the children (in your personal vehicle
    of course)
  • Reaching for something on the floor or in the
    back seat
  • Dashboard Dining (eating and drinking on the

Smart Driving Look Well Ahead, Searching and
Scanning Quick reactions won't always stop you
having an accident. Spotting and responding to
problems ahead in plenty of time will.
Driver Inattention
Smart Driving The article at the right is
partially correct regarding a drivers Blood
Alcohol Concentration (BAC). Driving while
Under the Influence (DUI) is .08 or more BAC.
In Maryland you can also be arrested and
convicted at a lesser BAC - Driving While
Impaired (DWI) is .07 or more, but less than .08
BAC. More on this subject later in the program.
Driver Inattention
  • In addition to obeying traffic laws, responsible
    drivers do all that they can to avoid crashes.
    More often than not, this means looking out for
    other drivers who are less responsible.
  • This includes...
  • Taking extra caution at intersections.
  • Staying out of blind spots (especially truck
  • Being prepared to stop or swerve suddenly to
    avoid a collision.
  • Thinking ahead - Are there children playing in
    the area? What's around the bend?

Just Drive
  • 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 a crash, and
  • the greater the chance of serious bodily injury
    or being killed in a crash.

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.
Actual Accounts
Mustang Rear Ended at 130 mph My fiancé and I
were on our way home from the beach about 7 p.m.
On July 30th.We were traveling at 60 mph when we
were struck from behind by a driver who the State
Police estimate was going 130 mph. We were both
ejected from the car. My fiancé landed on the
side of the highway 100 ft from the car and I
landed in the center travel lane. I suffered
multiple skull fractures, a fractured spine and
multiple lacerations, and my fiancé, well lets
just say he was lucky enough not to receive what
I did. Our seat belts were ripped from the
floor behind us and both doors were bent out from
the force of the rear wheels. I sure miss my
Mustang, but I miss my health, ability to work
and a lot of other things more than the car.
Smart Driving Drive in a way that suits your
ability and the traffic conditions. It doesn't
impress anyone if you drive fast.
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.

Following Distance
  • The Two Second Rule
  • As your speed increases, so does the time and
    distance required to brake to a stop. At 55 miles
    per hour, you need nearly four to five seconds to
  • Remember at all times the importance of adjusting
    speed. What you can and cannot see should
    influence your speed. Allowing at least four to
    five seconds to come to a complete stop is a good
    general rule of thumb.
  • NOTE Adverse weather of any kind - rain, fog,
    snow, or sleet requires additional following

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.
Smart Driving When stopped behind another
vehicle, you should be able to see the rear tires
of the vehicle in front of you. This creates a
cushion of safety between you and the vehicle in
front of you.
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 a driving force for safety.
Failure To Yield
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way is not just a
    breach of driver etiquette, it's breaking the law
    and its one of America's most common driver
  • Approximately forty percent of all traffic
    crashes occur at intersections.
  • This triangular sign means what it says. It tells
    you to give the right-of-way to all vehicles
    and/or pedestrians near you. Slow down to a safe
    speed and stop if necessary. It doesn't mean hit
    the gas or muscle your way into traffic.
  • You may also see Yield signs on expressway ramps.
    They are posted when there is no extra lane where
    drivers may speed up to join with expressway
  • If there is no Yield sign, the rules of the road
    dictate that cars entering the roadway always
    yield to those on the roadway, and cars making a
    left-hand turn must yield to oncoming traffic. At
    an intersection with four-way Stop signs, the
    first one to arrive has the right of way.
    Otherwise, yield to the car on your right.

It's the Law in Maryland Yield to the Right at
4-Way Stop Signs. At all intersections controlled
with 4-way Stop signs in Maryland, the vehicle
that arrives first may proceed through the
intersection. Drivers must first stop at the Stop
sign. If more than one of you arrive at the Stop
signs at approximately the same time, you must
yield to the vehicle to your right. That motorist
proceeds first.
Failure To 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.

Smart Driving Yield Anyway! Nobody ever
yielded their way into a collision. Think about
it. If you are in doubt about who has the right
of way, give it away.
Pedestrian Safety
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Elderly pedestrians may not be able to cross
    quickly or hear you approaching. Give older
    adults plenty of time to cross the street.
  • Be alert when turning corners. If the car in
    front of you stops at a corner, be prepared for
    the possibility of pedestrians crossing.
  • Pedestrian injuries can be prevented. Take care
    to be a defensive pedestrian and a pedestrian
    alert driver.

It's the Law in Maryland Stop for Pedestrians.
In Maryland, its 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.
Pedestrian Safety
Maryland Targets Pedestrian Safety October 1,
2004 Two new Maryland laws designed to boost
pedestrian safety take effect this fall
measures that school officials hope will help
protect children as schools open across the
state. Under the new laws passed by the General
Assembly, the maximum fine for drivers who fail
to stop for a school bus with flashing lights
activated rises from 500 to 1,000. A minimum
fine of 65 will be set for drivers who fail to
stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, with a
maximum penalty of 500. Previously, there was no
minimum fine. Police officers who issue the
citations also will 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!
Bicycling in Maryland
Bicyclists Are Vehicle Operators Bicycles are
treated as vehicles in Maryland. Motorists must
yield to cyclists in situations where 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
Smart Driving Give bicyclists at least three feet
of space, they sometimes need to maneuver around
potholes, opening car doors, and other obstacles.
Merge With Caution
It's the Law in Maryland Always check for an
opening early when merging onto a roadway. Do a
head check first, to find a spot. Keep checking
the traffic in front of you to make sure it is
not slowing or stopping. Check your spot again,
and merge into the traffic. The Yield sign
means exactly that, you must yield the right of
way to the through traffic and stop if necessary.
The through traffic is not required to yield to
any entering traffic. Courtesy and responsibility
is expected of all who use Marylands roadways.
Smart Driving Pushing your way into traffic
before you are supposed to is a form of
aggressive driving. Drivers are not to merge into
traffic until reaching the dashed white line.
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.
Navigating the Road
When traveling in unfamiliar territory,
interstate numbers give you valuable clues to
your location and direction. A. One or two
digit even-numbered interstates are always
east-west routes. The numbers increase from south
(I-10) to north (I-80). B. 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). C. Mile markers on
interstates 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. D. 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.
Actual Accounts
Intersection Crash - Germantown, Maryland My name
is Christine and this is my story
Around noon one Friday in February 1999, my
3-year-old, Collin my 5-year-old, Stephen and I
were on our way to their Grandma's house. As we
approached the intersection, I kind of heard a
voice saying the truck on the road to my right
wasn't going to stop. I thought, "He's got a Stop
sign, of course he's going to stop." But the
truck ran the Stop sign and slammed into my
minivan's passenger side. The truck pushed the
van's middle seats up off the floorboard, and the
grille was just six inches shy of hitting
Stephen, who was on the van's back bench. The
truck driver helped me get out and helped the
kids out. My nose was shattered. Collin, who was
in his car seat in one of the middle seats, was
wide eyed and shocked but OK. Stephen was bloody,
pale and briefly unconscious, but he only had
cuts and bruises, and his seat was buckled in
tightly. Had he not been in a booster seat and
buckled in right, he could have been thrown out
the window. A passerby took us to the hospital.
When the police got to the hospital and asked me
what happened, all I could say was, I went to a
car seat check yesterday, and if I hadn't they'd
be dead. It's really eerie why I went to the
seat check that day. I took our brand-new van to
the dealership and they said "Hey, we see that
you have child seats. We're having a seat check
why don't you come? So, lucky for me I went and
got their seats checked out and they got them in
the van properly. It was like fate!!
Preventing Collisions
  • Preventing Common Vehicle Collisions
  • The most frequent types of vehicle collisions can
    be placed in three categories
  • Rear-end Collisions,
  • Collisions at Intersections, and
  • Backing Collisions
  • Putting a name on collisions is easy, preventing
    them is much more difficult. Prevention starts
    with education.
  • Let's look at the top three crash types and
    provide recommendations on how to avoid them.

Smart Driving Throughout this training program
you will hear many references to accidents,
crashes, and collisions. There is a very
important distinction that must be made
... If a collision occurs because of a drivers
inattention, its not really an accident! Its a
preventable crash/collision that was caused
directly by the drivers inattention.
Preventing Collisions
  • Rear-End Collisions
  • Problem Rear-end collisions are often the most
    costly type of crash and have the capacity to
    cause serious injuries. Most importantly, they
    are almost always preventable.
  • Under ideal road conditions, a car traveling at
    65 mph needs close to the length of a football
    field to come to a complete stop safely.
  • Remember, stopping distance is based on three
    combined factors Perception Distance, Reaction
    Distance and Braking Distance. Add rain or snow
    to this equation, and the distance increases
  • Prevention Maintaining a safe following
    distance under all road conditions is the key to
    preventing this type of accident. Under ideal
    road conditions, the "two-second rule" is the
    best way to keep a safe distance between two

Smart Driving When stopped, waiting to make a
left hand turn at an intersection, keep your
wheels straight until you start your turn. That
way if you are struck from behind your vehicle
wont be pushed into oncoming traffic.
Preventing Collisions
  • Crashes Occurring at Intersections
  • Problem More than one out of every three
    crashes occurs at an intersection. The primary
    cause of these accidents is failure to yield the
    right of way.
  • Left-hand turns expose a vehicle and its
    passengers at the weakest point on the vehicle,
    the side doors, so extreme caution should be used
    when entering an intersection. Bumpers and front
    air bags do little to protect the passenger
    compartment in a side-impact collision.
  • Prevention Because there is a higher
    probability of vehicle and pedestrian conflicts
    at intersections, special caution is demanded
    when approaching and crossing intersections,
    including slowing and yielding to others within
    the intersection.

Smart Driving Beware of Intersections!
Intersections are one of the most dangerous areas
for any driver.
Preventing Collisions
Smart Driving When you are stopped at a stop
light, upon the light turning green, look both
ways and count a minimum of two seconds before
pulling through the intersection.
This serious crash is a graphic example of what
can happen when a driver runs a red light.
(video will start automatically)
Preventing Collisions
  • Always be courteous and be prepared to yield the
    right of way at any intersection. At four-way
    stops, yield to vehicles that arrived first and
    always yield to pedestrians. If two vehicles
    arrive at the same time, the vehicle on the left
    should yield to the one on the right.
  • Beware of the "stale green" light, one that is
    green and will turn yellow, then red very
    quickly. Remember that yellow means "caution,
    prepare to stop," not "put the pedal to the
  • When the light turns green, avoid the urge to
    accelerate immediately into the intersection.
    Take an extra second or two to scan left and
    right, and then left again to look for oncoming

Smart Driving 1 - Green means GO - Red
means STOP 2 - When a light turns green, look
left, then right, straight ahead, then left again
before proceeding through the light. Notice all
vehicles and ensure that someone else is not
going to run the light.
Preventing Collisions
  • Backing Collisions
  • Problem Backing vehicles are responsible for a
    large number of crashes.
  • Prevention The easiest way to prevent backing
    incidents is to avoid backing. If possible pull
    through a parking space, so that you can drive
    out later and avoid backing.
  • A driver should always walk around and look
    behind the vehicle before backing.
  • Ensure that the vehicle is equipped with
    sufficient mirrors to give the driver the best
    view of what is behind the vehicle.
  • Avoid making "Y" turns in driveways or roads.
  • Park in a location away from traveling or parked

Smart Driving Virtually all vehicles have blind
spots. Where are your blind spots? That depends
on the vehicle. A car typically has blind areas
at the sides near the rear of the vehicle.
Preventing Collisions
  • Before backing, sound your horn with two quick
    beeps, check rear- and side-view mirrors, watch
    side clearances and then back slowly.
  • Reasons for the frequency of backing crashes
  • Drivers fail to exercise the usual precautions,
    thinking that a backing crash is unlikely to
    result in personal injury.
  • Drivers may think that little damage is done,
    because the vehicle is being operated at low
  • Drivers rely too heavily on their vehicle
    mirrors. Even with the best of mirrors and mirror
    arrangements, there are still blind spots to the
    sides of the vehicle and behind it.

Smart Driving Most crashes can be avoided by
staying alert, following at a safe distance,
focusing on driving, and by being courteous.
High-Risk and At-Risk Drivers
  • TEEN DRIVERS (High-Risk)
  • One in five teenage drivers has a crash in their
    first year of driving.
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of
    death for 3 to 33 year-olds.
  • For the teenage driver, the presence of one
    passenger almost doubles the risk of a fatal
    crash, compared to driving alone. With two or
    more passengers, the fatal crash risk is five
    times as high as driving alone.
  • Source The National Highway Traffic Safety
    Administration and the Insurance Institute for
    Highway Safety. Statistics are nationwide.

The fatality rate for teenage drivers is about
four times as high as the rate for drivers 25 to
69 years of age.
High-Risk and At-Risk 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.
High-Risk and At-Risk Drivers
Here are some practical tips for helping teens to
drive safely Be a role model - Always wear
your seat belt, follow the rules of the road, and
drive safely and responsibly. Talk to your teen
- Talk to your child about the risks on the road.
Make it clear that you're concerned and
available. Create a contract - Studies show that
when parents and teens agree what the driving
rules are, there's a lower level of risk on the
road. Monitor your teens activities - While
your child may not be a risk-taker, some of his
or her friends may be. Know where your teen is
going and with whom.
High-Risk and At-Risk Drivers
Older Drivers (At-Risk) 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 as a result of physiologic changes
and an increase in diseases such as cataracts,
glaucoma, macular degeneration, and
stroke. Hearing is also a very important primary
sense utilized in driving. Hearing loss includes
the inability to hear high-pitched sounds which
can be due to poorly maintained or incorrectly
worn hearing aids. Uncorrected hearing loss leads
to inattentive driving.
High-Risk and At-Risk Drivers
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. Declines
in these functions make older drivers vulnerable
to crashes in complex situations that require
good visual perception, attention, and rapid
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
    blue provide 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.

Smart Driving 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.
Traffic Control Signage- Left exits
  • 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.

Traffic Control Signage
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
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.
Aggressive Driving
  • What is Aggressive Driving?
  • Aggressive driving is the operation of a motor
    vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely
    to endanger persons or property. The reported
    number of aggressive driving incidents has
    increased in the past few years. This increase
    has resulted in an increased number of people
    killed and injured on our roadways.

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.
Aggressive Driving
Characteristics of Aggressive Drivers
  • Speeding
  • Following too closely/tailgating
  • Running red lights and Stop signs
  • Changing lanes without signaling, cutting off
  • 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

Aggressive Driving
If you encounter an angry or aggressive driver
  • 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
  • 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. In Maryland and a number of
    other states, if you have a cell phone and can do
    it safely, you can report aggressive or impaired
    drivers to the police by calling 77.
  • Avoid eye contact.
  • Don't react to gestures and don't return them.
  • Do not underestimate the other drivers
    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.

Aggressive Driving
Dont 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
  • Obey the speed limit.
  • Be patient and courteous to other drivers.
  • Do not drive when angry, overtired, or upset.
  • Use your turn signals.
  • Be realistic about your travel time. Allow
    extra time for possible delays.
  • If youre going to be late, deal with it. Take
    a deep breath and accept the delay.
  • When possible, change your schedule to avoid
  • Give other drivers the benefit of the doubt -
    all drivers make mistakes.
  • Avoid all conflict, even if you are right.
  • Last, but not least, count from 1-10 (it's old,
    but it works!)

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.

SAN JOSE, California, July 13, 2001 - A
California judge has thrown the book at a man who
killed a dog in a fit of road rage. Andrew
Burnett received the maximum three-year prison
sentence Friday from a judge who ignored
recommendation for probation. Burnett, 27, was
convicted June 20 for the death of a fluffy white
Bichon Frise named Leo. Judge sentenced Burnett
to the maximum possible for felony animal
cruelty. "It's a case of rage-induced violence,"
the judge said. "I believe that prison can send a
message and it can deter. McBurnett sobbed last
month when she testified during the trial how
Burnett snatched Leo from her lap, pulled him out
through her open car window and tossed him into
the lanes of traffic, where the dog was struck
and killed. "Words can never convey the depth of
love I had for my dog" McBurnett testified
Friday. "His clear intent was to terrorize me in
the fastest and clearest way he could under the
circumstances." The incident occurred after a
Feb. 11, 2000, fender bender between Burnett and
McBurnett near the San Jose airport.
Aggressive driving leads to Road Rage.
Are You A Dangerous Driver?
  • If you answer yes to any of the following
    questions, you could be a dangerous driver
  • When you reach a Stop sign and no one is coming
    from another direction, do you roll t
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