Factoring in Safety
Few of us like to live life on the edge. We save money for a rainy day, plan ahead in our lives and expect that everything around us has a built in safety factor. If it turns out that an insufficient safety factor injures us we expect someone to be responsible for it. So, why do we often choose to impose the thinnest of margins when we drive?
Look around you the next time that you are driving in a congested area. How many people leave a 4 second buffer in front of their vehicle? When stopped at a traffic light, is there at least a clear vehicle length between everyone that is stopped? Does the accelerator go to the floor the instant the light turns green or does the driver do a 180 degree scan of the intersection before they move? Do people signal their lane change and then occupy a safe space made for them by drivers in the adjacent lanes?
These and many other safety factors allow us and those around us to anticipate errors and have the time to adjust for them and avoid collisions. They also permit us to discover unfavorable road conditions and correct for them before they become a problem.
Time, or lack of it, is one of our biggest enemies when we drive. Sometimes we must make instantaneous decisions and a built in safety factor can give us an extra second or two to make that decision correctly. That is, if we are factoring in safety whenever we get behind the wheel.