Thinking-Driver-Logo
January 7, 2014

MANAGING THE RISK LOTTERY!

Written by Spencer McDonald

Feature Article

In this month's feature, Spencer McDonald discusses the importance of managing the risks in traffic.

lottery ticket

Do you buy lottery tickets? I do. Our chances of winning big are really quite slim and yet every month we still buy those tickets in hope of getting lucky. As they say; if you don't play, you can't win! The more tickets that you buy...the greater your chances, so some of us buy plenty!

Driving risks is in many ways like buying lottery tickets, only it's kind of an anti-lottery...You see, the probability of disaster because you take a chance is also slim, but you might just hit the jackpot that one time and end up in a serious crash. And some of us are heavy players in the risk lottery with much better chances of hitting the jackpot.

The 4th of Thinking Driver's Five Fundamentals is:

MANAGE THE RISK.

risk

In previous installments, we have covered: 'Think and Look Ahead', 'Anticipate Hazards' and 'Keep Your Options Open'. These are basic fundamental defensive driving skills.'Manage the Risk' has much more to do with your attitude or decision making process once you practise the first three fundamentals.

In every driving situation, that we find ourselves in, there will be risks that we face. What we do with these risks and how we make smart decisions about them is what sets a 'Thinking Driver' apart from a reckless player in the risk lottery; the lottery that none of us hope to win.

speed

Some of the chances that we take are calculated and thought through before we take them, like speeding, we feel late, rushed and have an urge to make up time so we choose to speed and take a risk and the risk lottery ticket that, with luck, won't pay off this time. Other times, we allow ourselves to develop habits that are like the automatic purchase option for a lottery ticket pool...we make the purchase without even thinking about it.

A good example of this is yellow lights. While you wouldn't necessarily know it to watch most intersections, the law (and best practice for intersection safety) is to stop on yellow unless you are unable to safely get stopped in which case it is not required. Lately it seems like most drivers treat yellow as a message to 'hurry up it's almost red!'. When this becomes a habit, you are piling up those risk lottery tickets and increasing your chances of hitting the jackpot one day when everyone else doesn't look out for you.

Thinking Drivers drive to minimize risk and prevent incidents in spite of the actions of other drivers and the current conditions including traffic, weather, road conditions, lighting and their own conditions. Minimizing risk requires only that you THINK about what could possibly go wrong in any given situation and act in advance to reduce the risk. In time it just becomes a habit. Generally this practise won't cost you anything in time and in the long run, could keep you out of the winners circle in the driving risk lottery.

You may hope to, but don't really expect to win the 649 or Powerball lottery though do you? But what would your life look like if you did? But it could happen, it's happened to others! Why not you? That's what keeps us buying those tickets.

No more need to work, security for your kids; their education and future, relaxing vacations in the sun, a new house, new car, no bills to worry about...the perfect life...

What is the possible result of hitting the jackpot in the risk lottery though? In North America every year, thousands of drivers, passengers and other road users hit this jackpot with tragic results.

No more ABILITY to work, no way to ensure your kids go to college or university, physical pain or disability, medical bills for expenses not covered by you plan, loss of health and perhaps mobility. Unless you hit the big jackpot: Then no more you, and all of the pain and grief suffered by those that you leave behind.

Play any lottery long enough and eventually it will be your turn. If you don't play, you can't win though.

So which lottery are you playing?

gavel (2)

(Reprinted as previously published in Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine.)

line

Tailgate Topics & Tips: Safety Meeting Planner & Agenda

Click here to access December's free Safety Meeting Planner.

Preview the Avoid Intersection Incidents video that accompanies December's Safety Meeting Planner, click here.

If you are not already receiving Tailgate Topics & Tips delivered to your inbox, add your name to the distribution list by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and providing your name, company and email address and you will automatically receive the latest topic.

Upgrade your Tailgate Topics & Tips subscription to PROFESSIONAL and receive the Safety Meeting Planner & Video. Click here to find out more and to sign up.

Spencer McDonald

President and founder of Thinking Driver,  Spencer McDonald, has over 25 years of experience in designing driver safety training curriculums and instructor development. He has driver safety qualifications in all vehicle types and expertise in psychology, education, training and motivation that uniquely qualifies him to develop the attitude-based Thinking Driver programs. 

Would it kill you to train your drivers?

It could kill them if you don't

Vehicle Incidents are the most probable way that your employee will get hurt on the job. Protect your investment today with driver training.

ELEARNING COURSES

Bottom-Tailgate-Topics-and-Tips
 
right-arrow-50px 

Fleet Driver Safety Training Online Courses for Companies and Enterprises.

Driver Training

Fleet Driver Training Programs
 
up-arrow-50px

Fleet Safety Driving Programs. Packages and Individual Courses. Online and in-person.

SAFE DRIVING PRODUCTS, DVDs & MORE

Fleet Safety Online Store
 
up-arrow-50px

Defensive Driving & Fleet Safety Products, DVDs, Books, & More. Get Your Safe Driving Materials Here.

Safety Professional Resource Centre

Bottom-Safety-Professional-Resource-Centre
 
left-arrow-50px

Join the Thinking Driver community, help us create better drivers, and learn the knowledge and skills, including years of developmental training.

Thinking-Driver-Logo

The Thinking Driver Program was created by Spencer McDonald, driver psychology and counseling specialist to improve driver attitudes and reduce aggressive driving and fleet incident rates.

About Us

free driver training course online

TD 540x237 Color

Inquire Here

Ask us a question using the form below.

Name
Please let us know your name.

Email
Please let us know your email address.

Phone
Please write a subject for your message.

Message
Please let us know your message.

Invalid Input