Defensive driving is a mental attitude |

Defensive driving is a mental attitude

Mikaela Rierson

Road warriors. We’ve all seen it. A car zigzags, swerves and curves along the highway, while the driver concentrates not on the road, but on the cell phone. Or how about this: a coffee cup in her left hand and an eyelash curler in her right hand, she’s curling her eyelashes in the rearview mirror as she changes two lanes in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Or you’re driving over snow packed ice at dusk, praying you won’t hit black ice, and a deer suddenly jumps out of nowhere.
America’s roadways are full of distractions. How do we deal with them safely and calmly?
“Every time you operate a vehicle you have to drive defensively,” Colorado Highway Patrolman Brian Bagley said.
He will be one of the instructors for a class on defensive driving being offered by Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) next week.
“This is an excellent course for young drivers and those getting ready to get their driver permits because it talks about defensive driving under many circumstances,” CNCC Director of Community Education and Public Information Mary Morris said. “It’s also an excellent refresher course for senior citizens and drivers of all ages.”
In 1964, the National Safety Council’s Defensive Driving Course was the first driver improvement program in the nation. Since that time, the Defensive Driving Course has been taught to more than 40 million drivers in the U.S., Canada, and other countries worldwide.
The goal of the course is to train drivers in collision prevention techniques. It has been estimated that 77 percent of accidents are due to driver error. The defensive driving course addresses this problem directly by teaching how driver error is best avoided. The class also promotes an attitude of mutual understanding, courtesy and cooperation on the road.
“Defensive driving is really a mental state, not a physical one,” Bagley said. “If you drive with this mental attitude you prevent the vast majority of unnecessary quick movements your mind is active and being preventive, and you’re adjusting to things before they happen instead of after.”
The course will be held at CNCC’s Craig campus Nov. 28 and 29 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. both days. Registration deadline is Wednesday, Nov. 22. The course carries college credit. Some insurance companies offer a premium reduction for completing the class. A fee of $2.45 will be charged, plus a tuition cost of $28.88 and a semester registration fee of $9.25. There is a discount for senior citizens. To register, call CNCC at 824-7071.

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