Defensive Driving in Maine
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In order to drive defensively, you must be aware of everything around you―to the best of your ability―while you're behind the wheel.
In other words, defensive driving requires you to be focused on potential hazards outside your control (other vehicles, pedestrians, animals, and construction zones, for example), as well as the factors you can control, such as adjusting your speed based on road conditions.
When braking on snow gently pump the brakes. If you start to feel your car beginning to skid take your foot off the brake pedal. When following another vehicle maintain a large cushion of space. Depending on conditions it can take up to 12 times as much distance to stop your car on snow than on dry pavement.
Maintaining a Safe Cushion
Even if you're driving defensively you still must have time to react to the drivers around you. Maintaining a two-second cushion with the vehicle ahead of you, under normal driving conditions, will serve as a good position to maintain. This way if the vehicle in front stops suddenly you'll have space and time to react properly.
You should increase your "safety cushion" to three or four seconds when driving in rain or snow, and when following motorcycles.
When driving on multi-lane highways you should also maintain a cushion with the vehicles on your sides. If you have another vehicle riding alongside of you either speed up or slow down in order to create space.
Maine averages more than 700 vehicle/moose collisions per year. Inattention and lack of understanding to the dangers that crossing moose present are cited as the two biggest causes.
To reduce chances of colliding with one of these massive beasts be aware that moose are most active during dusk and early evening hours. Also, reduce your speed when the sun goes down. Because of their dark brown hides moose are difficult to detect at night.
To avoid being blinded by an approaching vehicle's headlights focus your eyes on the on the right side of the road. Also, maintain a speed that will allow you to stop within the distance of your headlights.
Driving in Maine Fog
When driving in fog reduce speed, use low beams, and pay special attention to the taillights in front of you. If fog conditions become so extreme that visibility reduces to zero, pull to the side of the road, turn on the car's emergency flashers, and exit from the passenger side.
Whatever you do, do not creep along the road at 10 miles per hour or less.
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