Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving

DEFENSIVE > ESCAPE ROUTES

Escape Routes or Escape Paths

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This section focuses on the end goal of this course, namely to be able to predict, or forecast, scenarios on the roads, BEFORE they happen.

The three Golden Rules are designed to condition our minds to be able to accomplish that. It is a progressive thought pattern which takes place strictly in sequence outlined.

We look at Escape Routes or Escape Paths (exit strategy) in the directions below:

? Questions:

🛈 Info:

Defensive Escape Routes

1st Golden Rule - Never Assume Anything:

On the roads we can never become complacent and think that the 'status quo' will remain. Things can change in the blink of an eye.

Consequently, we have to be in a constant state of alert. This does NOT mean a state of neuroticism, which can be a hindrance to the proper flow of thoughts.

Rather, it is a relaxed condition where we are aware of our surroundings and continually processing the information surrounding us. Once we have mastered being in the 'zone,' we can progress onto the next step.

2nd Golden Rule - Expect the Unexpected:

Not only should we take in the data of what is happening around us, but develop the ability to process that data and run scenarios in our mind of where things can go wrong.

Because the data is constantly changing, the possible scenarios are likewise being reevaluated to keep in sync with that data.

By practicing this, the scenarios we run in our mind become more accurate and insightful which in turn leads to the next step.

3rd Golden Rule - Plan Ahead:

It doesn't help if we monitor the data, process that data to formulate various scenarios, and then don't make any plans to put into action a response to a scenario when needed.

This is where 'Escape Routes' fit in. An Escape Route we can define as:

"Any PREPLANNED course of action taken to avoid or minimize a danger."

? What is an escape route or escape path when driving?

An escape route when driving (escape path driving) refers to a predetermined path or course of action that you can take to avoid or mitigate potential dangers or hazards on the road. It involves identifying alternative routes or areas of open space where you can maneuver your vehicle to stay clear of a potential collision, avoid an obstacle, or respond to an emergency situation.

An escape route, or exit strategy, is essentially a proactive safety measure that allows you to plan ahead and have a plan of action in case something unexpected happens on the road. It helps you to maintain control of your vehicle and make quick decisions to avoid or minimize the impact of potential risks.

Escape routes can vary depending on the specific situation and road conditions. For example, an escape route could involve changing lanes, merging into a nearby empty lane, moving to the shoulder or emergency lane, or even exiting the road entirely if necessary. The goal is to identify and utilize available space and routes that provide a safe pathway away from the potential danger.

Having awareness of escape routes and incorporating them into your driving mindset can significantly enhance your ability to respond effectively in critical situations and increase overall safety on the road.

? What are emergency driving maneuvers?

Emergency driving maneuvers are essential skills that drivers should be prepared to execute quickly and effectively in response to unexpected situations on the road. Here are some common emergency driving maneuvers and techniques:

  • Emergency Braking: In situations where sudden braking is necessary to avoid a collision or hazard, apply firm, steady pressure to the brake pedal while keeping the steering wheel straight. If equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), maintain constant pressure on the brake pedal to allow the system to modulate braking pressure and prevent wheel lock-up.

  • Swerving or Evasive Maneuvers: When faced with an obstacle or hazard in your path, such as debris on the road or a sudden obstruction, you may need to swerve or change lanes quickly to avoid a collision. Check your surroundings for other vehicles, signal your intentions, and execute a controlled swerving maneuver while maintaining control of your vehicle.

  • Skid Recovery: If your vehicle begins to skid, such as in slippery or icy conditions, it's crucial to react calmly and steer into the direction of the skid. This technique helps regain traction and control of the vehicle. Avoid overcorrecting or slamming on the brakes, as this can worsen the skid.

  • Collision Avoidance: Anticipate potential collisions and take proactive measures to avoid them. This may involve scanning the road ahead for hazards, maintaining a safe following distance, and being prepared to react quickly to sudden changes in traffic or road conditions.

  • Cornering at Speed: When navigating sharp curves or corners at higher speeds, apply smooth and gradual steering inputs to maintain control of your vehicle. Avoid abrupt steering or braking maneuvers, as these can lead to loss of traction and loss of control.

  • Off-road Recovery: If your vehicle veers off the roadway onto the shoulder or into a ditch, remain calm and gradually reduce your speed. Avoid sudden steering or braking movements that could cause the vehicle to lose traction or roll over. Slowly steer back onto the roadway once it's safe to do so.

  • Emergency Lane Changes: In situations where a lane change is necessary to avoid a collision or hazard, check your mirrors and blind spots for other vehicles, signal your intentions, and execute a quick and decisive lane change while maintaining control of your vehicle.

  • Backing Up Safely: When backing up, especially in crowded or congested areas, use caution and check your surroundings carefully for pedestrians, cyclists, or other vehicles. Use your mirrors and backup camera (if equipped) to guide your movements and avoid collisions.

  • Dealing with Mechanical Failures: If your vehicle experiences a mechanical failure while driving, such as a flat tire or engine malfunction, safely maneuver to the side of the road or onto the shoulder. Use hazard lights to alert other drivers to the situation, and seek assistance as needed.

  • Remaining Calm: In any emergency driving situation, maintaining a calm and composed demeanor is crucial. Keep a clear head, focus on the task at hand, and communicate effectively with passengers or other occupants in the vehicle.

Remember that practicing these maneuvers in a safe and controlled environment, such as an empty parking lot or driving course, can help you build confidence and proficiency in executing them when needed on the road. Additionally, staying attentive, alert, and prepared for unexpected situations can help prevent emergencies from occurring in the first place.

🛈 How to plan an escape route or escape path when driving

Planning an escape route when driving is an important aspect of defensive driving. Here are some steps to help you plan an escape route:

  • Stay Alert and Anticipate: Continuously scan the road ahead, including traffic conditions, intersections, and potential hazards. Anticipate potential dangers and be prepared to react quickly.

  • Maintain a Safe Following Distance: Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. This provides you with more time to react and maneuver if necessary.

  • Identify Open Spaces: Look for open spaces or areas of clear road around your vehicle where you could potentially move to avoid a hazard. This could include gaps between vehicles, empty lanes, or the shoulder of the road.

  • Plan Alternative Routes: Familiarize yourself with the surrounding roads and consider alternative routes you could take if your current route becomes congested or hazardous.

  • Be Mindful of Surroundings: Take note of potential escape routes, such as side streets, driveways, or parking lots, in case you need to quickly change your path of travel.

  • Have an Exit Strategy in Traffic: When driving in heavy traffic or on multi-lane roads, position your vehicle in a way that allows you to have an escape route. Avoid being boxed in by surrounding vehicles and leave enough space to change lanes or move to the shoulder if needed.

  • Stay Calm and React Appropriately: If a potential hazard or dangerous situation arises, remain calm and react promptly but safely. Signal your intention to change lanes or maneuver, check your blind spots, and execute your escape route decisively.

Remember, planning an escape route is about being proactive and ready to respond to unexpected situations on the road. It's crucial to stay focused, maintain awareness of your surroundings, and make safe and calculated decisions to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.

🛈 How to improve reaction time while driving

Improving reaction time while driving is essential for safe and efficient navigation of the road. Here are some strategies to enhance reaction time:

  • Stay Alert and Focused: Avoid distractions such as mobile phones, loud music, or engaging in conversations that can divert your attention from the road. Maintain focus on your surroundings to anticipate potential hazards and react promptly.

  • Practice Situational Awareness: Continuously scan the road ahead, check your mirrors, and monitor the movement of other vehicles to anticipate changes in traffic flow or road conditions. Being aware of your surroundings allows you to react more quickly to unexpected events.

  • Maintain a Safe Following Distance: Keep a sufficient distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you to allow for adequate reaction time. The recommended following distance is at least three to four seconds under normal driving conditions and more in adverse weather or heavy traffic.

  • Practice Defensive Driving Techniques: Learn and apply defensive driving principles, such as anticipating potential hazards, positioning your vehicle for maximum visibility, and being prepared to react to the actions of other drivers. Defensive driving helps you stay proactive and ready to respond to sudden changes on the road.

  • Regularly Check Your Blind Spots: Before changing lanes or making maneuvers, check your blind spots by using your mirrors and performing shoulder checks. This habit ensures that you are aware of vehicles or obstacles that may not be visible in your mirrors, allowing you to react appropriately.

  • Keep Your Vehicle Well-Maintained: Ensure that your vehicle's brakes, tires, lights, and other critical components are in good working condition. Proper maintenance helps optimize your vehicle's performance and responsiveness, contributing to quicker reaction times in emergencies.

  • Practice Emergency Maneuvers: Find a safe and empty area to practice emergency braking, swerving, and evasive maneuvers. Familiarizing yourself with these techniques can help you react effectively in real-life driving situations.

  • Stay Calm and Avoid Panic: In high-pressure situations, such as sudden stops or near-collisions, remain calm and composed. Panic can impair your decision-making abilities and delay your reaction time. Take deep breaths, assess the situation, and respond calmly and decisively.

  • Get Adequate Rest: Ensure that you are well-rested before getting behind the wheel. Fatigue can significantly slow reaction time and impair judgment, increasing the risk of accidents. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night to maintain optimal alertness and concentration while driving.

  • Take Defensive Driving Courses: Consider enrolling in defensive driving courses or advanced driver training programs. These courses provide valuable knowledge and skills to improve your reaction time, hazard awareness, and overall driving abilities.

By incorporating these strategies into your driving habits and remaining proactive and attentive on the road, you can enhance your reaction time and contribute to a safer driving experience for yourself and others.

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Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving