The Key to Reducing Accidents? Driver Training

Posted on April 1, 2003 by LCT Staff - Also by this author

LAS VEGAS – Effective driver training can help reduce the accidents that lead to insurance claims and higher rates, Del Lisk, president of the Smith System Driver Improvement Institute, told operators attending a workshop at the LCT Show.

Limousine operators cannot control the economy, the stock market, medical costs or the competition in the insurance market – factors that determine insurance costs – but they can work to better control collision rates, which in turn can reduce claims and help insurance rates, Lisk said.

“It’s the number of claims, not one major accident that drive up a premium or make your coverage undesirable,” he told delegates.

The Smith System Driver Improvement Institute’s techniques, the 5 Keys to Space Cushion Driving, are a series of driver training concepts that can help reduce traffic collisions. They are:
• Aim High in Steering: According to Lisk, the average driver looks only three to six seconds ahead of his or her vehicle, while the preferred distance is 15 seconds ahead. That lets a driver detect problems earlier and have more time to make a decision should a problem occur.

• Get the Big Picture: Develop a 360-degree awareness routine, Lisk said. Check the rear-view mirrors every five to eight seconds and focus on “the big picture” instead of on the rear bumper of the vehicle in front.

• Keep Your Eyes Moving: Drivers must let go of bad vision habits, such as tunnel vision and blank or frozen stares, and move their eyes frequently. Lisk suggested shifting the eyes’ focus every two seconds.

• Leave Yourself an Out: Drivers should strive to always have a planned escape route by creating and maintaining a space around the vehicle. It is difficult to control what happens behind the vehicle, but drivers should always keep a cushion between them and the vehicle in front. Also, rebuild that space should someone cut in front of the vehicle. If possible, look for side ways out.

• Make Sure They See You: The most common excuse for a crash is “I didn’t see them,” Lisk said. Therefore, drivers should actively seek eye contact with anyone who could potentially enter their driving path to confirm that the other driver knows their position.

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