Simulation builds Instinct and increases Road Safety

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Surely, arcade video games do not add to road safety. I sometimes have the impression that the opposite is true, with youngsters trying to impress with spinning tyres and tailgating the hell out of any poor and lovely granny. Simulation, however, practices you for the real case.

On, Paul Slavonik talks about his experience:

I was driving to work on what was just another weekday in downtown Dallas, TX. As I entered the city, I approached a stop-light where I was at the front-row of a three-lane road. As I brought my trusty Ford Focus to a stop, I just happened to glance up into my rear-view mirror to notice a car barreling towards me. The speed limit on that road was 40 mph and the fast approaching car was showing no signs of slowing down.

Although I was hoping the driver would somehow stop in time, I knew the car was traveling too fast and closing in too quickly for that to happen.

At the last second, I lifted my foot off the brake just a moment before the heavy impact propelled my car forward. The impacting car burst into flames behind me.

This reminded me of my story. Once, on one of our Autobahns, there was a full-stop traffic jam behind a corner.

I was driving at about 100 mph, everything was cool and I was thinking of soon arriving home after a hard work day. From one split-second to the other, I realised a hazard-flasher in my peripheral view, no one else had his warning lights on. I instantly knew this can become deadly, but I did not hammer down my ABS-brakes, because I knew the tailgaters on my back would not have the required reactions.

Instead, I just lifted my throttle and turned on my hazard-flashers.

Now I could see the end of the traffic jam coming nearer and nearer. I knew that stopping will be very critical now.

I checked in my mirrors, tailgaters now far enough away that I could finally start breaking on treshold (ABS would be dangerous now, so I kept my breaking just so hard that ABS would not fire). I somehow knew that I will stand still just 1 or 3 meters before the end of the traffic jam.

Suddenly, some foul soul decided to change line without sanity, from right to left, right in front of me, while I was treshold braking already. This was going to be very critical. Why the f*** did he do that?

So, while I was treshold braking, hazard flasher enabled, having my peripheral vision full of stuff, I additionally started to flash lights and use my signal-horn. I don’t know if the foul soul realized if I was in trouble. However, 20 meters away, my instinct told me there was just enough space on the left.

Tires on the limit of traction. Squealing, just so that ABS did not trigger. 10 meters, 5 meters. And suddenly I was there.

I stopped at the point I visioned already 100 meters ago. Only displaced half of a meter to the left. The quard railing just 2 centimeters of my left mirror, and that car that changed line just two seconds ago about 10 centimeters, perfectly on my right, and we looked into each other’s eyes.

I think that nobody learned a lesson about hazard flashers that day. But at least that guy who looked me in my eyes learned to not change line in such situation anymore.

All those were not conscious decisions.

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