Introduction

When it comes to driver safety and vehicle crashes, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish what is fact and what is reality. Every person who drives a motor vehicle believes in their heart that they are a "good" driver. In reality this statement is simply not true. Many of these "good" drivers have a tendency to perpetuate myths regarding their own circumstances in order to justify their own driving shortcomings. For example, a driver might make the following statement after becoming involved in a collision – "I struck the vehicle in front of me because my anti-lock brakes didn't work properly". The fact of the matter is; their anti-lock brakes worked exactly how they were designed to work. The reason the driver struck the vehicle in front of them was due to the fact that they were traveling too fast. This is where the myth comes into play. The actual reason the "good" driver was traveling too fast was due to the fact that the driver believed that the anti-lock braking system would stop their vehicle quicker. The reality is that anti-lock brakes may not stop you quicker. The system may actually increase your stopping distance. This is an example of one of the myths that will be explored in this paper.

The authors have extensive motor vehicle driver safety histories. Their experiences include the field of motor vehicle crash reconstruction, commercial vehicle leasing, law enforcement and 25 years of experience with helping organizations that have employee drivers in their workforces. While attempting to provide safety training to these drivers, the authors and their associates have had to overcome numerous driver safety myths and misconceptions that many of these drivers have held for years.

Separating Myth from Reality

With the sincere hope of eradicating many of the mistaken beliefs that drivers have, and thereby promoting safety on our roadways, this paper will address many of the most common myths that the authors have encountered.

Myth #1: You are at less risk of injury in a crash if you are ejected from the vehicle.

Some drivers are under the mistaken belief that, in the event of a crash, you are less likely to be injured if you are thrown clear of the vehicle and away from the crash site. The people who perpetuate this myth may cite an example of their uncle's, neighbor's, third cousin's, brother-inlaw who was thrown out of a car uninjured. They typically end their recollection by reverently stating: "He would have been crushed if he had stayed in that car". These examples are typically hearsay at best.

Myth #1: Reality

In reality the safest place for you during a crash is securely belted inside the vehicle. If you are ejected from a vehicle you are subjected to numerous risks of being injured. The first reality in an ejection crash is; if the person was ejected, they weren't wearing a seatbelt.

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