Why is this such a problem? I just don’t understand it.
How to stay alive if a wrong-way driver comes at you
Richard and Maria Wojtczak own Driving MBA, which offers driver education to students of all ages.
In 2016, when several critical wrong-way driving crashes occurred within a short period of time, the Wojtczaks decided they needed to add techniques for dealing with wrong-way drivers to their program.
“We keep working on new scenarios. So, we’re continually improving our programs and so the wrong-way drivers, we continue to make sure we incorporate that into the curriculum,” Maria explained
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Richard demonstrated a couple of those scenarios, explaining that they are designed to give the student driver a true sense of what it’s like to have a car coning straight at you.
“All the sudden I see somebody coming at me. First thing I’ve got to do is get way over. Keep under control. Keep calm and get out of the way,” said Richard.
The key, according to the experts, is to be positioned for anything before something happens.
“We teach a concept called strategic driving,” Maria said. “Pay attention. Look what’s going on around you so you can keep your head in the game. It’s staggering yourself so that you know that if anything happens you’ve got an out on one side or the other. You’ve got to pay attention and you’ve got to pace yourself to make that happen.”
The ideal situation is to be staggered with other traffic. If a wrong-way driver approaches, slow down and move as far to the right as possible. The left is not a great option because if the wrong-way driver suddenly sees you, his or her instinct would be to move to their right, thus creating a head-on collision with you, according to the Wojtczak’s.
“The whole point of using the simulator is to create the experience ahead of time so that they’re not ad libbing at 70 miles an hour,” Richard said.
If you’re in a situation where a wrong-way driver is coming up on you, there will not be much time.
“This is why distracted driving is a problem,” Maria said. “If you have something like this, this is catastrophic. If you’re not paying attention you won’t have the wherewithal to really handle the situation. So being in the game of driving, which is not easy when we’re behind the wheel of the car, is really important for us to stay focused.”
If you are boxed in and your only choice is to side-swipe a car or get hit by the wrong-way driver, Richard says your chances of survival are better with the sideswipe.
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