Ford Driving Skills for Life

Uniontown High School would like to thank representatives from multiple organizations who  joined us to present “Ford Driving Skills for Life”, a presentation on driving skills and safety.  The program is sponsored by Allegheny County Pretrial Services, Ford Motor Company, Cindy  Cohen School of Driving,  KDKA news, Pennsylvania  State police, and Pittsburgh CW.  News anchor, Rick Dayton, from KDKA TV news was the host.  Our school will be featured in a promotional clip that will air throughout the day Thursday, during all KDKA-TV newscasts and periodically throughout the weekend and upcoming week on both KDKA-TV and WPCW-TV.

A touching story from the presentation that will not be forgotten came from a local mom who lost her eldest son suddenly in an automobile accident.  She spoke about how quickly accidents occur, stressed the importance of making good decisions, and not driving distracted.

Students are encouraged to register for the ‘Academy’ and take the time to expand their knowledge of driving skills!  This is a great way to prepare for their Driver’s Permit…..and a great way to learn more as inexperienced, newly-licensed teenage drivers! It’s FREE!  It’s open to anyone of any age!  It has interactive videos, games and they can jump on and off at any time to complete it!

FOUR KEY DRIVING SKILLS

1. HAZARD RECOGNITION

You might think that hazard recognition involves identifying things outside your vehicle that can cause an accident.  While you need to be alert about other vehicles and objects on the road, the truth of the matter is this– anything that can cause you to take your eyes off the road is a potential hazard.  And that includes things inside your vehicle that can distract you and take your attention away from driving.  The biggest source of distraction for teens?  Cell phones.

As much as we all like to think that we can multi-task and do two things at once, the fact of the matter is that all drivers—and especially newly licensed drivers— need to focus their full attention on driving.

2. VEHICLE HANDLING

Statistics show that more than 40% of teen fatalities are caused by loss of control.

One of the keys to staying in control involves proper braking skills.  You may have heard something about ABS.  ABS refers to Anti-Lock-Breaking-Systems.  Newer vehicles come with Anti-Lock-Breaking-Systems that are computer assisted.  In the old days, drivers would have to pump their brakes when coming to a sudden stop, doing that can cause your vehicle to lose control and cause you to have an accident.  With ABS, you stomp on the brakes, stay on the brakes and let the vehicle’s computer take over—applying and adjusting the brakes on all four wheels until the car comes to a safe stop.

3. SPEED MANAGEMENT

Excessive speed can cause accidents.  There is a reason why legal speeds are posted on roads and highways.  Safe driving is all about driving at safe speeds.  We all know that exceeding speed limits can result in speed tickets, fines and possible loss of your driving license.  It’s a serious matter.  Speed kills.  Another thing to consider is road conditions.  Rain, snow and ice are all weather-related factors that affect your speed.  When your traction is reduced, control of your vehicle is reduced, so you need to slow down and compensate.  It’s basic common sense and that applies to all vehicles—even SUV’s equipped with all-weather tires.  Even the most advanced vehicle technology can’t override the basic laws of physics.  We all need to slow down when road conditions are bad.

4. SPACE MANAGEMENT

You must manage the space around your vehicle when you’re out on the road.  You want to constantly monitor the space around you so that you have space on either side of you in the event that you have to make a sudden lane change to avoid hitting   something on the road ahead of you.

Probably the most important aspect of space management, however, is maintaining safe stopping distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you.  Avoid tailgating.  It’s common sense.  If you’re following too close and the vehicle ahead of you makes a sudden stop, chances are you won’t be able to stop in time to avoid a rear-end collision.  So how much stopping distance do you need?  Some experts say that you need roughly a car length of distance for every 10 miles per hour that you’re traveling. In general you want to allow at least about 2 seconds of stopping time between you and the vehicle ahead of you and as much as 4 to 6 seconds of stopping time if you’re out on the highway.

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