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What do you think is the biggest threat to safe driving?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / May 30, 2007 4:37 AM PDT

- Bad drivers (Tell us why.)
- Car stereos (Tell us why.)
- Cell phones (Tell us why.)
- DVD players (Tell us why.)
- Eating or personal grooming (Tell us why.)
- GPS/navigation systems (Tell us why.)
- Kids (Tell us why.)
- People with road rage (Tell us why.)
- Pets (Tell us why.)
- Other (What is it?)

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Other Drivers...
by per89son / May 30, 2007 8:54 AM PDT

You can't control what other drivers do, you can control what goes on it and on you car...somewhat, but you can't control other peoples driving.

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bad Drivers
by lightasair / May 31, 2007 4:17 AM PDT
In reply to: Other Drivers...

I absolutely can't stand it when drivers don't use there turn signals .Driving along , bad drivers just change lanes , pull out in front of you, make a turn, all with out using a turn singal. For heavens sake how much time do you need to use your turn signal, put put right on the stering column, you only have to use a finger to use it .

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Self centered, non defensive drivers
by kurtpochert / May 31, 2007 9:27 AM PDT
In reply to: bad Drivers

Extensive good habits learned when the kids first learn to drive. Not just a knowledge of the "rules of the road, but being actually taught to exhibit courtesy and "watch out for the other guy" defensive driving. Being courteous enough toward others to actually let them know what you are going to do, like using turn signals when changing lanes, etc. A society of self centeredness (not to be confused with individual responsibility) is at the heart of many of the problems of drivers on the road. Indeed, greater individual responsibility is what it is all about, in being a good driver.

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Self centered, non defensive drivers
by kurtpochert / May 31, 2007 9:30 AM PDT
In reply to: bad Drivers

Extensive good habits learned when the kids first learn to drive. Not just a knowledge of the "rules of the road, but being actually taught to exhibit courtesy and "watch out for the other guy" defensive driving. Being courteous enough toward others to actually let them know what you are going to do, like using turn signals when changing lanes, etc. A society of self centeredness (not to be confused with individual responsibility) is at the heart of many of the problems of drivers on the road. Indeed, greater individual responsibility is what it is all about, in being a good driver.

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Where is the drivers education in schools ?
by Dennis Flacy / May 31, 2007 10:03 AM PDT

I agree with you !! Why has drivers education been sluffed off in our public schools ? Money ! The politicians can't get their cut of it so it goes on the back burner.

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bad drivers
by maggiedev / June 2, 2007 6:03 AM PDT

the biggest mistake in texas is taking the drivers ed out of the schools. when i got my license (at age 14) i was required to take a semester of open book drivers ed in school as part of the 8th grade curriculum. after school was out for the summer, we had the option of taking a course in "behind the wheel training". those who did not take it, were destined to keep only a lerners permit until they were 18. i took the course and got full license at the age of 14.. now mind you, i am 59 years old and we are a smarter society now. the point is, our school system was very careful to get very qualified instructors drawn from the teachers on staff. my teacher was also my history teacher and in the 20+ years he taught drivers ed, his students had the best record for safe driving, less accidents and tickets. he was a great teacher as all of our drivers ed teachers were. when they took drivers ed out of the school, the people teaching the young folk cared only about the money to be made and turned out drivers that should not have been on the road. those drivers barely passed the state test. after all, getting a drivers license is only a license to allow you to go out and be a better driver. it is a license to learn is one way to put it as no one first time driver gets out there with all the knowledge at one time. a bad driver can be any/all on the list CNET gave to vote on. it encompasses it all.

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Good Habits are Simple but Hard to Develop
by bigbillyt / May 31, 2007 10:27 AM PDT
In reply to: bad Drivers

A few simple principles, applied accross the board would releive most problems on the road. Use hands free headset (set up before you start driving), don't tailgate, change lanes as little as possible, use the appropriate lane for the speed you are going and your intended destination, remain calm and be courteous to others, even those whose driving style you don't agree with. If poeople would stop taking their aggressive behavior and control needs with them behind the wheel we would all be safer.

Just my 2 Cents

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agree with lightasair
by jerseybing / May 31, 2007 12:57 PM PDT
In reply to: bad Drivers

geeez....i only had to go two posts in....and here's someone...talking sense...really...use your frigin' lightasair hard is me...its like telling me (as the other driver)...fuc you buddy...quess what im going to do...pretty ignorant...but you put people in this little "you can't touch me"...enclosure...and they feel they can do whatever works for them...screw the other gettin' where im going...and it doesn't matter who i piss off on the way...pretty much like "life"...but just a bit more dangerous...I remember this one comedians bit...where he said we should carry these dart guns..and you could shoot "perticulat sayings" on these idiots cars....example:I don't care if i blind you with my highbeams:...brake lights?-who needs them...ect...his were funnier thab my examples........jerseybing

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not quite jerseybing...
by jimsbabis / June 6, 2007 3:31 PM PDT
In reply to: agree with lightasair

Using your turn signals is one thing, but there are those that use them and do not look to see if anyone is there that did not see them signal. And then you have rude people that do not give the courtesy to those who actually took the time to think of others safety by signaling. I have to admit, I am rude to those who do not signal. I read drivers pretty well and if someone attempts to cut in front without signals, I don't let them in. I will stop for all drivers using their signals. It's too bad that the truly caring people are the only ones responding to this poll.

Oh... one more threat. Just all around rude people. Just yesterday, at two different times, people cut me off within a foot of hitting me, just to hop on the freeway or make a turn onto another street. Had they thought sooner which lane they needed to be in, they could have avoided a possible accident and road rage from a very cautious driver who had to dodge their stupidity.

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Cell phone use while driving???
by tffh / June 1, 2007 12:38 AM PDT
In reply to: bad Drivers

BAD, BAD, IDEA....................
I am a retired Sergeant from the Crime Lab and I have seen way
too many DEAD that were using cellphones while driving. Your vehicle
travels many feet within a few seconds while driving at highway
If you or your teen is distracted even for a few seconds
while moving.............they or you or a third party could DIE!!!
Your passenger(s), the passenger(s) in the other vehicle(s), ped- estrians, etc... Could be history, for a moments inattention. You
don't even want to think about the pictures I have taken.
I only takes a few seconds to pull over and think about whats going
on around you and what lives you may save!!!

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Bad Drivers
by felsie / June 1, 2007 12:55 AM PDT
In reply to: bad Drivers

People who don't pay attention to the other people on the road, or just don't seem to care about the other cars. People who are talking to other people in there cars on on there cell phone. Cars that speed in and out of traffic. All this and more cause accidents. Add to that booze and drugs and you have problems. This seems to be a growing problem and not enough is done to stop it.

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Agree 100%
by kyrhett / June 2, 2007 11:10 PM PDT
In reply to: bad Drivers

Not using your directional signals bugs me too more than any other driver non-use (cell phones running a close second) I don't care how they switch lanes, just let me know you are going to do it. Would be nice if we drove like the Germans, they fine you for not using directional signals - too much to expect here. It just isn't fun to drive anymore!

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Not using turn signals
by chuckbrewster / June 3, 2007 11:14 PM PDT
In reply to: bad Drivers

for 28 years I lived in Orange County California. Getting cut off would require the use of middle finger. Not using MY turn signal was defensive driving. If you turn on your turn signal and have plenty of space where you are wanting to be... it will be filled by the guy that is leaving that space before you can actually make the move. Just go, but don't do it if there is so little room you are cutting someone off.

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I agree but....
by morninglory / May 31, 2007 12:48 PM PDT
In reply to: Other Drivers...

I think by far the worst drivers and the ones who cause the most injuries and fatalities are speeders! The speed limits are posted along the roads/highways/Interstates for a reason. When a car crashes into another at 80 mph, even if the other vehicle is doing the speed limit, someone is going to be injured or killed. I live in a rural area, the posted speed limit on my two-lane road is 45 mph; I daily encounter cars, trucks, motorcycles doing at least 60 or more and this is a rather curvy road. My hope is that the oncoming vehicle doesn't lose control in one of these curves and hits me head on. (Maybe this doesn't apply to long stretches of highway out west where I understand there is a state with NO speed limit for cars but I am talking about most of the USA where there are numerous vehicles). This is too long, sorry.

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Speeding doesn't kill
by chuckbrewster / June 3, 2007 11:19 PM PDT
In reply to: I agree but....

Drivers that speed are not the cause of accidents. But, speeding and disrespct of others will cause accidents. Weaving through traffic, that is one that is even worse. If traffic is slow, can't change that by weaving in and out of lanes. But, you can change that by using the highways at times that are not rush hour. Go early, take a snack to eat when you get to work so you don't feel you are really early. But that helps to keep you calm because you didn't have to fight the rush.

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drivers (fatigue)
by simplexveritas / June 27, 2007 5:26 PM PDT
In reply to: I agree but....

Driver fatigue. Or Driver distraction. But driver fatigure isn't addressed too often.

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cell phones!
by lisa206 / June 27, 2007 5:37 PM PDT
In reply to: I agree but....

definitely cell phones! they are such a hazard to us all! whether it's texting or talking. SOME people can multi-task, others are completely unable.

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Bad Drivers? Sure...
by dgbvan / May 31, 2007 3:02 PM PDT
In reply to: Other Drivers...

YOK! I agree. Bad drivers are a menace, however, I find your respsonse a tad generic.
Here's why.
I think we all know what bad driving is, but why do people drive badly? Are they ignorant of how to drive well? Are they new drivers? Are they from out of town? Are they stupid? Yeah, maybe.
Personally, I think the biggest problem for drivers is distraction. A distraction is something, anything that takes your attention for more than two (2) seconds! Obviously, that will be different for different people, however, a cell phone is always, always, always a distraction. Whether you are answering, talking, dialing, looking up a number, texting - whatever, cells are distracting. Yes! I included talking. Bosh, you say. Well, I say that unless you are very different from me, I usually think when I talk and thinking out loud is always distracting for me. As for the other possible activities you might consider doing while usuing a cell phone ... obvious! I hope!

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Definitely poor drivers...
by edgett / June 1, 2007 1:02 PM PDT
In reply to: Other Drivers...

In the U.S., people learn to drive in virtually any type of vehicle, and must demonstrate the ability to properly signal and basically keep the car in its lane in order to get a driver's license. Once armed with a valid driver's license, they are permitted to drive anything short of an eighteen wheeler without proof of additional proficiency, or additional training. Just because I can pass a minimum driver's test in a Ford Escort, why should this qualify me to drive a top heavy 6000 pound Chevrolet Suburban, or a 500 horsepower Mustang? If I demonstrate that I can, in no emergency whatsoever, maange to stop the same Escort for a stop sign I can see from at least a block away while driving at 35 miles per hour, how does this qualify me to make an emergency stop, or take evasive action, when the unexpected happens in front of me at 45 or 70 miles per hour?

We have done an amazing job in this country of blaming the vehicle for accidents that are in many cases totally avoidable. So when Sally goes off the road in her 5000 pound Ford Explorer, and reacts by desperately trying to jerk the car back onto the road, it is the Explorer's fault when she rolls over and kills herself and her children. Or when Billy takes Dad's new Shelby GT on the road and centerpunches a tree at 90 miles per hour, it is the Mustang's fault for having too much horsepower and taking Billy and his girlfriend out of the graduating class.

In most reasonable endeavors, these events are viewed as simply running out of talent in an otherwise controllable incident. It is not the fault of the vehicle, or that it failed to offer legitimate crash protection, but is the fault of the operator.

Automobile drivers should be trained like pilots. No pilot gets his license without dealing with the true emergencies that might arise when he flies; he must demonstrate proficiency at stall recovery, what to do when his engine fails on takeoff or landing, and what his reactions might be to threatening weather. And, should he decide that he wants to fly a larger and/or more powerful airplane, it is a requirement of law that he gain proficiency in that aircraft and demonstrate via check ride that he can deal with the greater complexity of the larger or different class of aircraft.

We kill 44,000 people per year with automobiles, and keep pointing our finger at the manufacturers, as if they can save us from our own ineptitude. Since this represents nearly 15 World Trade Centers every single year, one would think this would get our attention. We do this year after year on the insistence that everyone capable of driving in a straight line "deserves" the right to pilot an automobile.

I am not suggesting that all accidents are avoidable; many are simply a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and some are the result of poorly maintained vehicles. Nonetheless, poorly trained drivers are the greatest risk on the road, period.

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Lack of proficiency
by dan-daniels / June 3, 2007 5:43 AM PDT

In the U.S.A. it has long been considered a "right of passage" to have a license to operate a motor vehicle. You take the test in mommy's Prius and daddy buys you a GT Mustang. Then you borrow daddy's three and a half ton Excursion to take the gang to soccer practice. All perfectly legal and acceptable. And we act surprised when things go terribly wrong. I still hold a C.D.L. and 40 years later I still believe in bonified proficiency tests.

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Other drivers...
by euspos / June 12, 2007 2:32 PM PDT
In reply to: Other Drivers...

Of course you can control them (other drivers). You can have them removed from the road, or better, never allowed there in the first place.

Start with a GOOD drivers education system, where students have to go through the classes (theoretical as well as practical) just to eventually earn the privilege to do a drivers exam.
When there, have a TRUE drivers exam. Not one where you sort of just drive around the block, park once between the cones and you are done.
Drivers exams in the U.S. are a joke - almost anyone can pass - and hence we therefore allow a lot of bad drivers on the roads.

And, once hopefully better educated, we can actually ask for more of the drivers, and expect that they know what safe driving is. If they fail in showing that, remove the driving privileges - for good.

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pets are driving threat
by brucon41 / May 30, 2007 9:36 AM PDT

I travel alot for a living and the biggest threat is people with pets in the front seat or on their laps. Anything between you and the wheel and line of sight is a threat to everyone else on the road. I have seen many crashes and near misses caused by this type of driving than anyother beside cellphones.

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by timmy 22 / May 30, 2007 8:42 PM PDT


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You both are correct
by batman823 / May 30, 2007 9:38 PM PDT
In reply to: PETS

The responsible driver will keep the animal in the back seat or in the bed of thier truck. I believe the pet in the lap should go under the 'bad driver' portion of this poll. If your dog is upset and barking while in the kennel, that may be a distraction, but not much more of a distraction than another person talking to you.

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Road Rage, Speeding, Grooming--not talking
by whozethere / May 30, 2007 9:42 AM PDT

I have seen people driving down the road doing a variety of things on my commute: threatening someone who cuts them off, speeding and tail gating the car ahead and grooming. Having witnessed people turn constantly to read someone in the car's expressions as they talk, I think if cell phones are outlawed than talking will need to be outlawed as well.

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I agree with this combination of irresponsibile driving
by Greenseaturtle / May 30, 2007 12:06 PM PDT

Speeders and angry drivers are clearly the most dangerous. However, people driving while eating, drinking coffee (or whatever) and talking on cell phones, while consulting their GPS are the likely cause of many other accident. Multitasking I think they call it! They risk others lives with poor their judgement.

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It's a combination thing & bad training/manners
by carbonware / May 30, 2007 10:52 PM PDT

I agree that it's a combination of things that makes bad drivers, not just new technologies but I thing it goes deeper. People in general more and more have not been raised up with morals, ethics, manners, or self responsibility. This translates to driving as it does in many other areas of life.

So many people have an entitlement attitude, they don't care about anyone or anything but themselves and that encourages bad behavior, disregard for others, and a lack of what I'd call "playing nice with others" If people don't care about their actions, whom they effect, how they are perceived and have no accountability then they will contribute to bad behavior, manners, and selfish attitudes while driving. Add to all that the many people on the road who can't seem to follow basic road rules, or perhaps never learned them at all and it's amazing we're not all dead! It is regional as well.

I travel a lot and there are some places (also commonly known for good manners, morals, etc). That also seem to have more polite and better focused drivers. I'l site Atlanta as one of the worst places I drive, and I'm amazed at how rude, and sloppy they drivers are. But wealthy areas seem to also be high on my list of poor drivers in that they seem to have a greater self interest and drive like they are the only ones on the road. next I'd say cities where there are many foreigners or illegals driving, they grew up with different rules and social constructs and it can come through in how they behave on the road.

To pay a compliment to one area that may surprise locals but I have to compliment Minnesota drivers who seem to follow the rules more than any place else I drive, and seem more polite, more willing to give drivers space and seem to generally stay on the road.

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Speeders are Dangerous
by serpentmage / May 31, 2007 12:26 AM PDT

Speeders are dangerous? Says who?

If there was a direct link between speeding and accidents then there would be one worldwide standard on how fast is fast. Yet in Germany there is no limit, France its 130 KMPH, Canada its 100 KPH, etc.

People like to harp on speeders because speeders fill the coffers of many governments.

What is dangerous are reckless drivers, not speeders. And what are dangerous drivers are people that don't pay attention to their driving. That could be DVD's, cell phones, too slow driving, what have you.

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by mstark2284 / May 31, 2007 1:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Speeders are Dangerous

As mentioned, European speed is far more advanced than we are. As most things around the world, everyone else is far more advanced, but we are still limited because the government still makes money off of the current setup. Speeders are either speeding around dummies that pull out on the road, slam on the brakes, the drives that are classified as the "brake tappers" does anyone know how to control their car without hitting the brakes every 20 seconds? I'm sure if you ask, no one knows what engine braking is. SAD! Anyone can get a drivers license because it politically creates money, traffic tickets they are going to receive, registration, buying a car, tags, tax on purchase to the state, car insurance etc.... The problem is us, its not the people, people behave the way we treat them. Statistically, People that receive traffic speeding tickets are more likely to break the law and speed even more than they previously did. Traffic violations create more hostility toward government officials. Look at the glass half full not just half empty and see what WE ALL have created as our enemy. Not just oh, speeders, and blah blah blah are reasons why it is so bad. How about we get law enforcement to catch dui's and criminals in run down areas. No? because their life is threatened in bad neighborhoods, they wont be caught in there, they don't do dui check points on Friday and Saturday nights like they should. SLACKERS WHO GET PAID=LAW ENFORCEMENT. but we have them giving out tickets in school zones going 3 mph over? ridiculous world. The new generations, the young people of today WILL be changing this, there wont be funding for all the crap the older generation has created, job cuts and job elimination. STOP THINKING we are solving problems with tickets and crap, because all we are doing is DESTROYING society and training them to act how law enforcement does in America, like animals.

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Incorrect that speeding is not a problem
by sinikol / May 31, 2007 6:49 PM PDT
In reply to: Speeders are Dangerous
A little statistical reading would set you straight concering speeding. Speeding accounts for 1/3 of all the fatilities on the roadway. Its worse on arterial and local roadways because of the increase of interaction with other vehicle pathways and directions. It occurs more often in areas where the speed limit is less than 50mph. and the occurance is higher on Friday, Sunday and Monday. You quote other countries speed limits but not the fatility statistice related to those countries.
The fact is excessive speed reduces reaction time, stopping distances,etc,etc...therefore vastly increasing the chance for vehicle crash and fatility.
Any engineer can tell you as vehicle speed increases so does stopping distance and manauvering ability (usally due to chassis constraints, suspension design etc), yet the human response time never increases.

Take this simple test: drive your car in an empty parking area and as you go straight (no other vehicles around) have your friend at some undetermined point yell "stop", have them test your ability time to react with a stop watch. This is your base line reaction time, it never changes. Run this test 10 times with 15 min cool down intervals between.
Take the average time and then use it to calculate your distance to reaction interval.
Take your vehicle owners manual and look up the stopping distances for your vehicle.
Take your reacton time and plug that time in ahead of the stopping distance.
Change your speed (you can use 60mph as a base line) or calculate it from mile/hour into feet/second. 5280 feet per mile and 3600 seconds in an hour. (60 mph = 88ft/sec)
multiply your reaction time, times your speed and this will indicate how far your vehicle will move before you react.
Now add in distractions like cell phones or fumbling with the radio etc and that time and related distance increase drastically.

Given a fast reaction time of 1.5 seconds and an average reaction time of 3 seconds, with your full undivided attention your vehicle going 60 mph (88ft/sec) you will travel between 132 and 264 feet before you react. This means you will travel the distance of a football field before you can even start to manauver or apply the brakes.
So you tell me does an increase in speed effect the drivers ability to control the vehicle? Data does not lie...the answer is YES!

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