Operator Awareness is Important - it equates to safety and savings
Operator awareness would seem to be a "no-brainer," but you might be surprised at how many people just don't understand its importance with respect to vehicle safety and reduction in operation and maintenance costs. And, sometimes failure to "get it" exhibits itself in predictable ways.
I've talked before about my traction test and how that helped keep me safe on an icy road. It was part of my awareness of road conditions. The truckers that passed me weren't nearly as aware as I was, and they paid the price for it - overturned and jack-knifed tractor trailer rigs.
Once while towing a trailer, I made a routine check of my trailer in the side view mirror to find that it was swaying from side to side, much more than it should be. I had just enough time to get off the road before it lost a wheel. Operator awareness helped save me from an accident that could have involved others.
Today we tend to consider our cars as mobile concert halls, climate controlled refuges, and amusement rides with power accessories that we just have to play with. It's great that we have such comfort and convenience, but occasionally we need to listen to our vehicles to determine their operating condition. Knowing this can help us stay safe and reduce the expense of a repair.
The same operator awareness applies to road and traffic conditions. If we're aware, we're better off. If we're unaware, we might be in for an unpleasant surprise.
Here are some examples of how operator awareness can help us stay safe and save money:
- An engine can be saved if you can hear parts slapping together because of a low oil condition.
- A rear end collision can be avoided if you are aware of tailgaters and know how to safely get rid of them.
- You can repair a tire that's going flat if you take the time to at least look at your tires to see if they're getting low on air.
- A vehicle can be moved safely into the slow lane or pulled off the road to make way for approaching emergency vehicles if you stay aware of what's coming up behind you and from the sides - not just what's ahead of you.
- Horns and sirens are warning devices, and they can be heard much better if interior vehicles sounds are kept to a reasonable level.
- A flat tire, bent wheel and hydroplaning can be avoided if a driver pays attention to the road surface ahead in addition to traffic conditions.
- Unsafe stops can be avoided if we simply practice driving farther ahead of our bumper.
We've all heard that driving is a full-time job. Well, it's not, but it's a very important responsibility and we need to learn how to do it well simply because there are so many negative consequences to doing it poorly. Think injury, hospital costs, increased insurance rates, suspended or revoked license to drive, and loss of life - perhaps your own.
Operator awareness is all about being "heads up" when it comes to road, traffic and vehicle conditions. It's a bit like the construction signs say, "Pay attention or pay the price."
I look at operator awareness as a type of investment. I invest time and attention as a means of protecting my personal and financial assets, and those of others who ride with me and around me.
Done with Operator Awareness, back to Safe Driving