“Situation Awareness” and Safe Driving

Nov 13 2013

“Situation Awareness” and Safe Driving

situation awareness Today on The Huffington Post, CHOP injury prevention expert Flaura K. Winston, MD, PhD, writes about how distracted driving — like texting — can rob drivers of an all-important “time cushion” to avoid crashes. “Driving experts know it takes only three seconds of attentive driving to turn ‘It happened so fast; there was nothing I could do’ into ‘I saw it coming,’” Dr. Winston notes.

“Take the all-too-common, rear-end crash scenario,” Dr. Winston writes. “A driver cuts in front of you, and after a few seconds, slams on his brakes. Were you prepared and able to respond or were you caught off-guard?”

Dr. Winston, who is the scientific director and founder of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention, notes that in order to drive safely, drivers must show “situation awareness” and be “ready for the unexpected.” This is especially true for teens and new drivers, because teens “are involved in fatal crashes at four times the rate of adult drivers, and for all new drivers (of any age) the high initial risk of crashing doesn't level off to a much lower rate for several years.”

While parents “can help by working with their teens to set, monitor and enforce driving rules,” and researchers are working on ways to increase situation awareness, “we all need to be present when we are driving and make the most of those 3 seconds — they can buy you a lifetime of hugs,” Dr. Winston writes.

To read more, see The Huffington Post!