Caution: School's Out for Summer

The warm weather we all have been looking forward to comes with some "obstacles" in the form of two-legged little people, commonly referred to as our children. These precious beings will be out of school and playing outside, assuming mom or dad can pry their children's fingers from computers and such!

While children are on summer vacation, you as a driver cannot be. In fact, you should change your driving habits - more attentiveness and more defensive driving.

Get Ready to Stop

Speed limits don't change. In most neighborhoods, the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. The distance it takes to stop a car going 25 miles per hour is a very important factor.

A quick look at an average stopping time at 25 miles per hour: First, about two seconds to react to seeing a child and deciding to press the brake pedal and stop the car. Second, in the average stopping time to come to a complete stop at 25 miles per hour, a car travels 85 feet under perfect road conditions. This is the length of eight Toyota Camry's parked end-to-end. As averages, these statistics are not true for all vehicles. A vehicle's size and weight have to be determined to calculate a vehicle's stopping distance.

A few years ago, on a nice sunny day, my sister was driving her car down a narrow street in Lakewood. She was traveling less than the posted 25 miles per hour speed limit. Quicker than she could ever imagine, a three-year-old girl ran out in front of her car from between two parked cars. My sister slammed on the brakes, but the little girl disappeared from in front of the car.

Leaving out the graphic details and emotional upheaval, the little girl was hospitalized for about three months. She did recover. My sister, who was not cited for any wrong doing, could not drive a car for over a year as a result of this trauma.

Remember to stay focused on your driving this summer, especially around public parks, swimming pools, safety towns and playgrounds. We need to be aware and ready to react to children's inattention. We're the adults!

Too Perfect?

My four-year-old grandson, Devin, and I were riding in my truck. Devin was seated in his booster seat behind the passenger’s seat. We were playing the vocal game "I spy!" It was Devin's turn to pick an object for me to find but there was an extended period of quietness.

I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw him kind of staring at my steering wheel. Then came the BIG question: "Hey Papa, how come you only have one hand on the steering wheel?" Out of the mouth of babes! Needless to say, I quickly put my second hand back on the steering wheel! It was easy to correct my careless mistake.  I teach two hands on the steering wheel, which is required for the driver's exam but not a law.@

After just a few minutes, I can detect “perfectionism” in a student by his reaction to a mistake.  I can relate to a student’s over-reaction. The student simmers with frustration over not being perfect. Driving with a bad attitude can lead to some serious consequences down the road, such as road rage or an accident.

When actions lead me to believe perfectionism is raising its head, the student and I will discuss the situation and how to correct the problem - calmly. This builds good driving skills and the confidence that makes good drivers.

Until next time, keep both hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road!

Please submit your questions and observations to Dale through our website. Click on Submit a new story and choose the Category Daily Driver.

Dale Drottar

Dale Drottar is retired from the Avon Lake Police Department. He is currently an instructor at a driving school located in Rocky River.

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Volume 1, Issue 12, Posted 5:03 PM, 06.05.2014