"Imagine a crowd of 44,000 people in the stands at a World Series or Super Bowl game. A television camera scans the individual faces --- some exuberant, some anxious --- all sports fans out for a good time.
As many people as are in that crowd will die in highway accidents this year. More than half of those accidents will involve alcohol, alone or in combination with other drugs. A disproportionate number of the dead will be young, between the ages of 15 and 24. One group, 16 year olds, will be in 40% of all the singl-car, alcohol related crashes" (Knox 19).
This statement shows the high risk and number of fatalities due to driving. It is very important to learn safe and responsible driving skills, which is why I am giving this speech. If you are prepared and know all of your stuff before your behind the wheel youll probobly do a better job and know the correct manerisms and etiquites of driving. The main purpose of this speech is to let you know how to drive responsibly and safely. I will first review the dangers and risks of driving to let you know what your getting into if you use illegal substances or drive improperly. Then I will go into the basic signs,signals and rules of driving to inform you of the current laws and regulations. Finally I will go through a step-by-step process of driving, from getting out of the drive way to turning onto a highway.
Accident risk is the chance of injury to yourself or others and the chance of damage to vehicles and property. All driving involves risk. You have tonotice that risk always exists and can sneak up on you at any time. 85% of all collisions are the drivers first collision. 49% of vehicle crashes involve only one car. The liklihood of being in a collision any year is only 1/5 people.The chances of suffering an injury that is serious enough to disable you is 1/83 people (Kenel, 8) .
As you can see risk is always very high and should never be forgot.
One huge risk in driving is to be under the influence of an illegal substance or drug. There are many kinds of drugs that affect you perception and driving skills. They include Over the counter drugs, Prescription drugs, Depressants, Stimulants, Hallucinogens and Narcotics. Over the counter drugs are drugs that dont need a prescription and are not illegal. They cure common illness's but almost always affect your driving greatly(Kenel,47). Illegal drugs such as marijuana make you drowsy.
Drugs have an affect on driving but Alcohol is much more abused while driving. 45% of all auto-deaths are teens. Of those 60% had been drinking. Alcohol slows down reaction time, and blurs judgement rendering the driver incapable of operating a vehicle safely (Knox 22). Alcohol is not thought of as a drug but it is...actualy its one of the most powerful. It changes the way people think and feel and if you become addicted can cause major problems in your life.
Alcohol is often forced upon by peer presure. If it happens to you just say NO and leave. Also you never want to drive with someone you know whos drunk. I you cant get another ride call someone else, remeber this is your life at stake (Kenel 22). If alcohol is used with other combinations of any drug, the effects are multiplied by the regular effects.
Drugs arent the only thing that effect your driving. Emocions also greatly affect your ability to drive. If you have to drive at an emmocional time learn to control them. Maintain a mature attitude, Identify bad sittuations, plan ahead, expect the other person to make a mistake and never get mad at another driver because of something else that made you upset or depressed. All emocions such as anger, fear, joy, or sadness have the power to focus all your attention on one thing. Whatever the emocion is, it can interfere with your driving by taking your attention from the road (Kenel 24-26).
Now that you know the risks of driving and what can happen if you disobey or stray from thte law, I will tell you the basic traffic signs, signals, and rules. One of the more popular laws which you may have heard of is called Right of Way. Right of Way is not always a set written law that in a certain cituation you must do this. In most it is but its also common sense. Like at a 4 way stop you either let the car to your right go first or whoever got to the intersection. If your turning, yield to any cars or pedestrians that could come into your path. In general things that you must yield to would be Ambulance and emergency vehicles, blind persons, and any other pedestrians (O'neil 43).
Right of Way is most often used in intersections but when your on the open straight road there are important laws too. The most important is probobly the speed limits. There are three kinds. Fixed, Advisory, and Day/Night Speed limits which are all posted on different type speed limit signs. Speed limits reflect the max speed at which you can drive under the best conditions. If you are in, for example, a rain storm you will want to decrease your speed to almost half the advisory speed limit. Weather, visibility, traction, and many other aspects affect the speed you should be going compared to the posted limit. If one of these factors is present your speed should be slowed dramatically (O'neil 44-45).
Travel signs, which are abundently used on the highway systems, are signs that give regulatory information, warnings, or direction. They are a big part in the Highway Transportaion System (HTS) because they give you all the info you need without you having to take your eyes off the road. Regualatory signs tell you what you must do and what you must not do.In almost all cases you have to follow them.Warning signs alert you to changes in the use and/or condition of the road ahead. These just advise you what to do. Route markers include signs for interstates, highways, freeways, and turnoffs. Guide signs include destination/milage, roadside services, and recreational areas. All warning signs are either yellow or orange with black symbols and letters. Most are diamond shaped. Rgulatory signs usually only have 5 color schemes. Red, white, black, green and white, or white and black. (O'neil 47-51).
There are two other aspects pertaining to road markings. Pavement markings and lights. Pavement markings are either yellow or white. Yellow lines determine if passing is prohibited on 2 lane streets and also serve as the left or right boundry marking on freeways. White lines indicate passing and lane seperation on main highways (Kenel 70-71).
There are many different kinds of traffic lights. Traffic lights must alwaays be followed unless a police official is directing you. There are pedestrian, Lane use and traffic control lights. Pededtrian lights include steady walk, steady dont walk , and flashing dont walk. Lane use lights are for lanes that change direction at different times of the day, for example the chesepeake bay bridge. They include red x for lane closed, green arrow for lane open, yellow x for about to turn red, and flashing yellow x, which means used for left turns only (Kenel 75). Traffic control signals are mainly used to safely and efficiently control traffic at intersections. They include Red, yellow, green, flashing red and yellow, and green yellow red turning signals (O'neil 57).
Know that you know what rules and signs to obey when driving all you have to know now is how to phisically start the car and use its features. I am going to explain an almost step by step explanation of how drive a car.
You must first go through a sort of checklist in your head before starting or even getting into your car. Before entering you should quickly but effieciently check the surrounding area, the wheels, under the car and every once in a while under the hood. Now you can get into the car (Kenel 110-111). First close and lock all doors. This is to prevent carjacking and theft, although its uncommon in this area. Place the key in the igniton but dont turn it yet. Adjust your seat, headrest and mirrors if needed. Put on your seat belt and check the perimeter of your car for animals, kids or any other objects (Kenel 111-112). Now put the gear selector in Park. Check the parking brake and set auto choke if necessary. Some older cars you have to press the accelerator lightly and then turn the ignition to start the car. As engine idles check the guages (Kenel 118). Now you can put the car in motion. You press firmly on the brake so the car wont role, use the right hand to shift to drive or reverse and release the parking brake. Turn on directional signal if nessecary and check all mirros and blind spot. Remove your foot from the brake to role back if in reverse. Apply pressure to accelerator ,with same foot as used with the brake ,as needed (Kenel 119). Now you also have to know the baasics of steering before you start driving. You can steer in a straight line or steer to turn. Tecniques for turning are hand over hand and the push pull method. Whichever way feels most comfortable to you. Also when turning use blinkers and slow down a bit (Handbook). Tracking is how you keep your car on a chosen path. Track smoothly while going fast to prevent accidents (Handbook). The final two things to knowing how to drive is braking and stopping. In bracking you should know the amount of pressure needed to brake the car your driving. Also you always want to keep an adequate braking distance between you and the car ahead (Kenel 120). When stopping check for following cars, apply firm, steady pressure on the brakes and come to a complete stop. Leave the transmission in drive if you plan to move ahead in the next minute (Kenel 121).
That pretty much wraps up my how to drive instructions. I hope that I have informed you of many new things that you didnt know. If you understood what I have said you are guarenteed to be a little ahead when its your time to go to driving school. I didnt know some of the trivial details ,involving laws and signals , before but now I do. I also know that every thing about driving is important because your life and others are always at risk. So for now ,bye and happy driving. :) this is by Xavius and i hand over all copyrights of it to Jens Shriver
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