How many differences did you notice in your driving environment lately? The combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and changes in the season make the coming weeks particularly dangerous for all road users. Over the last many months, we have all become conditioned to our environment. In all likelihood, our driving may have developed some less than optimal auto pilot tendencies.
Please think about the following before you begin your next drive:
1. Schools are re-opening.
This means there will be children in places for the first time since schools closed back in March. The transition from Summer break to Fall back-to-school has always been a dangerous period. The extended break from school due to COVID-19 makes this back-to-school period potentially more challenging. We need to actively engage the brain to start looking for students – particularly in school zones.
2. Less sunlight.
The combination of later sunrises, earlier sunsets and more variable weather makes it difficult to pick out potential hazards. It is often difficult to pick out cyclists and now the lighting changes exacerbate this situation. If you are a cyclist, you may want to consider riding with your lights on at all times. Also, think about mounting two lights on the front of your bike. This will make you look like a car and enhance the ability of drivers to see you.
3. Increased volume of traffic.
Road use is increasing as businesses re-open per COVID-19 protocols. It is likely going to take a little longer to get where you want to go. Start a little earlier to reduce your stress. Consider that other drivers may be out of practice as well and that you may want to be a little forgiving when they make a mistake.
For those who have taken Drive for Life’s training, recall System 1 and System 2. System 1 drives efficiency and allows us to complete acts with less energy and less active thought. System 2 is the lazier part of the brain, but is what we use to solve new or more complex problems. The conscious part of the brain is engaged when we use System 2. Take a moment and consider what you need to get out of System 1 and move to System 2 in the next couple of weeks to stay safe.
Drive for Life is a provider of driver simulation training. The Driver Activation Training™ program improves decision making and thereby reduces collisions through its tailored use of cognitive based learning techniques, proven driving practices, and state of the art simulation. http://www.driveforlife.ca/