• Defensive Driving Rule #10: Drive Precisely

    Sloppy driving breeds mishaps! Most everyone knows the basics of the traffic laws; signaling, proper lane position for turns, turning into the prope lanes, complying with traffic signs (like "No U-Turns," "No right turn on red," etc.), driving to the right except when passing, passing across double yellow stripes, really STOPPING for stop signs, and many others. Drivers ignore them for the sake of expediency every day. We are so impatient to get about the details of our lives that we don't take the time to do it "right." One estimate I've seen is that average drivers commit 2.5 traffic violations every mile they drive! But, those pesky, nit-picky driving rules ARE important!

    Here's an illustration of the concept applied to a different realm: the airport "traffic pattern." Occasionally in the news, a reporter will say that an aircraft crash happened because the airport had no air traffic controller, implying that it is simply chaos without one. But the fact is, uncontrolled airports are common in the aviation world and this isn't normally dangerous. ALL pilots learn basic rules for operating around airports - we enter and depart the area at set altitudes and at specific angles. We communicate our intentions to each other on special dedicated radio frequencies. We make turns in standard directions, either left or right, depending on the dictates of the airport's neighborhood. We learn where the dangers lie and how to avoid them. We keep a vigilant eye out for other air traffic, and we KNOW where to look for them because they are following the same rules we are. This process works because everyone learns the same rules and we all have a stake in doing it right. The result when someone doesn't do it right is often a smoking hole stuffed with twisted, scorched metal.

    Why is it important to follow all the little rules that don't seem to make much difference? Because it works the same way in the motoring world. Traffic rules are in place to create the consistency and uniformity that allow us to predict with some degree of confidence what the other guy is going to do, thereby avoiding conflicts and collisions. Ignoring the rules of the road helps create the chaos you see every day. So, drive precisely, follow the rules, and watch out for the other guy!