Social Question

SQUEEKY2's avatar

What would it take to get the general public to drive better?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (5734 points ) January 10th, 2014

Everyone thinks they are the greatest driver on the road, take it from someone who makes their living on the road, they are not, and wonder what it would take to get people to drive better?
All cell phones must be turned off while driving?
All electronic gadgets must be turned off while driving?
A mandatory defensive driving lesson, for any driving offence occurred?
What would it take to get people to realize WE all need to drive better?

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24 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Massive firepower. It’s the only answer.

filmfann's avatar

Proximity alarms. Have a small but annoying alarm go off if you are traveling over 40 mph and are less that 15 feet from the car in front of you.

kritiper's avatar

Mandate that every driver take a Defensive Driving course if they haven’t already, and have all graduates of Driver’s Ed. classes complete the Defensive Driving course before being granted a driver’s license. But you knew I’d say that!

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I like it, but remember they can shoot back when you screw up as well.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@filmfann That would only work if people would obey them and use the brakes.

ibstubro's avatar

I don’t think it’s possible. People believe they have an inalienable right to drive like idiots. Witness the hue and cry over cameras that take a picture of your face and vehicle if you enter an intersection AFTER the light has turned RED! How dare they!

thorninmud's avatar

I’m giving up hope. The problems are too deep-seated. Here’s an example of what I mean:

Over the summer, I did some driving in northern England. Heading into a largish city on a major road at rush hour, I ran into a long line of cars. OK, nothing surprising about that. But there was another lane to the left, going in the same direction, and absolutely no one was on it. I had no idea why, but I figured the locals must know, so I patiently stayed in the right lane. A half mile and several minutes later, I saw that the left lane became a bus only lane. That whole time, not a single car went by on the left.

It occurred to me at that point that in the States, the whole scene would have been very different. Sure, some people would have dutifully gotten into the right lane well ahead of time and waited, but a whole lot would have zoomed right past all those waiting cars and tried to nose in at the merging point, further slowing everybody down.

It’s a cultural problem. We don’t view driving as a cooperative, community endeavor. It’s a competitive sport in which you try to get ahead at everyone else’s expense. That same spirit of “individualism” is what makes us feel entitled to do whatever else we feel like doing while we drive. It’s what keeps us from imposing the same rigorous and obligatory pre-licencing training required by many other countries.

I have no idea how you can change such a culture. Bring on the self-driving cars, I say.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@thorninmud Your probably right, people feel it’s their right to drive like drugged monkeys ,after it’s not their bad driving , it’s everyone else’s driving that is the problem.

My late Father inlaw, went to drug store when he was 16 put $2 on the counter and got his drivers license ,then only renewed it till he gave up driving in his late eighties, get this he figured he didn’t have to stop at stop signs and red lights because he was a senior citizen.
Kinda scary huh?

Juels's avatar

I use audio books. When I’m listening to a novel, I don’t speed and I don’t mind how long my commute takes. They help relax me and be patient. I can focus on the road while being entertained.

Bill1939's avatar

What’s wrong with a mechanical chauffeur? I’m with @thorninmud. Given our “me first” attitude and a proclivity to lose focus when bored, cars that drive themselves is the best solution in the U.S.A.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Bill1939 Ok but what happens when the cars driving computer crashes?

Coloma's avatar

Awareness. I catch myself all the time and have to rope myself back in. “Oh, pay ATTENTION!” So far I have only had one rear ender and ran over a squirrel in 35 years. I have however, backed into trees in my own driveway and ran into my fence and garage door.
All of my accidents happen at home. lol

elbanditoroso's avatar

machine-driven cars. Get the humans out of the equation.

hearkat's avatar

Driving tests every ten years to age 60, and every 5 years thereafter. Driving and parking tests when someone purchases a large truck, van, or SUV to prove proficiency with a bigger, heavier vehicle. Similarly, a driving test with high-performance vehicles – I am always astonished when people give Mustangs and the like to their teenaged drivers, and saddened when I read that they’ve run off the road resulting in injury or death.

@ibstubro – I was only outraged when it was found that they shortened the timing of the yellow light to make it impossible to stop the car in time, even if you’re doing the legal limit. This cash-cow resulted in more accidents at these sites, rather than improved safety.

talljasperman's avatar

Max speed is the % score in the drivers test. 0 – 100 KM – demerit points x 10.

ibstubro's avatar

I was (geographically) far from that problem, @hearkat, so never knew exactly what it was about. They shouldn’t be changing the timing because there’s a camera.

The camera intersections are never patrolled. I’ve had some concerns that drivers in a huge hurry would purposefully run a camera light, knowing it was no points and a simple fine. I’ve not heard of that happening, however.

Bill1939's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 asked, “Ok but what happens when the cars driving computer crashes?” Our space program has proved that double redundancy will minimize this risk. The addition of an emergency computer whose sole function is to guide a disabled vehicle to a safe place to park will make it safer for an AI chauffeur failure than running out of petrol on the highway. Of course, one can always operate the vehicle manually.

Bill1939's avatar

@ibstubro, I also have witnessed vehicles accelerating to cross an intersection while the light was still amber. If the camera could also monitor velocity and issue citations to speeders as well as those entering the intersection while the light was red, and if municipalities programmed their cameras to control traffic and not to generate revenues, this device should greatly reduce accidents.

ibstubro's avatar

Accelerating to cross an intersection while the light is still amber is nothing new, @Bill1939. Red light cameras would actually lessen that tendency if people were smart (they’re not). With a red light camera, as soon as you enter the intersection on non-red, you are, so-to-speak, ‘golden’. There’s no real need to hurry further.

I agree that purchasing and rotating an additional “Speed enforced by radar camera” unit would be a great benefit.

I think it’s a perfect way for municipalities to generate revenue: you enter the intersection on red, you have broken the law and risked lives. You pay a fine. What’s to disagree with?

(And YES, I have paid the fine, and locally!)

Bill1939's avatar

I agree, @ibstubro, with everything except it being “a perfect way for municipalities to generate revenue.” There is “concern that the international standard formula used for setting the length of yellow lights opposes the laws of physics, that opposition causing millions of drivers every day to inadvertently run red lights and a fraction of those to crash.” (source)

ibstubro's avatar

The fact of the matter is that if you are not traveling above the speed limit and you do not attempt to enter an intersection on yellow, there’s nothing to worry about, @Bill1939.

The problem is in trying to arbitrarily enforce a law that many people have taken with a wink and a nod. I admit that I’m much more sold on the red camera use on highways and interstates passing through populated municipalities than I am on city streets. When you’re forcing an 18 wheeler to come to a stop from 70 miles an hour, the stakes are a lot higher.

Bill1939's avatar

If entering an intersection on a yellow is not legal, (“you do not attempt to enter an intersection on yellow, there‚Äôs nothing to worry about”) why have a yellow light? I cannot imagine an 18-wheeler doing 70 mph on a city street, @ibstubro. It seems to me that long before stop lights are present, highway speed limits will have been reduced to speeds between 25 and 35 mph. Note too, that I implied (should have said so) that what the camera should be looking for (besides the color of the light) was acceleration at the intersection.

ibstubro's avatar

Um, the yellow light is the transition between enter and stop. I take it to mean that no one else should enter the intersection that can reasonably not do do.

Why would you be trying to imagine an 18 wheeler going 70 on a city street? I live near a town of 18,000 that is literally bisected my a 70 MPH interstate. In the space of a mile or less the semi’s are brought from 70 to 35, and possibly to a stop. Prior to red light camera’s it wasn’t unusual to be sitting at a cross street, have your light change to green, then have a semi blow through at 50+ MPH. Both ends of town. There are now 4 red light cameras and it’s still not unusual to sit at a cross street and watch the cameras flash like paparazzi.

Bill1939's avatar

We agree, @ibstubro. Yellow means be prepared to stop. If seen from some distance away, the driver should be decelerating. Up closer, the driver makes a judgement whether applying breaks would provide the driver behind enough time to decelerate to a stop, else to continue across at the present speed.

Perhaps they do not have the personnel to identify the vehicles running red lights. Who knows (and who would tell) the political/criminal reality that determines the prosecution of the law. After some disaster, they will start enforcing the law, maybe. And maybe gridlock at the bridge into New York was not political retribution.

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