Stressing defensive driving on the road

Defensive driving is a skill you might not think to practice until it's too late. Driving instructors say avoiding obstacles will save more lives on the road and sidewalks.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, almost 5,000 pedestrians are killed from car crashes every year. So, instructors and drivers are focusing more efforts on avoiding those kinds of incidents.

Experienced drivers consider their skills in good condition when they get on the road. But when he's behind the wheel, driver Justin Baker says he turns his concern to others. Baker says as a bus driver his number one concern is the safety of his passengers, but he's found it even more important to keep an eye on those outside to keep the people inside safe as well.

Instructor Terry Kerns with Paducah Area Transit System trains people to sharpen their defensive driving skills using a simulator. Kerns says those who have been on the road for a while become complacent with their driving skills.

"Once you've driven for 20 years, you rely on your driving habits of what you've developed over those 20 year periods," says Kerns.

Kerns says in his experience training drivers the most common error when it comes to the simulator is speeding. He says drivers need to adapt to every situation they run into, but it's a problem they're trying to fix one driver at a time by passing one obstacle at a time.

Kerns says a practice that's changed is how you hold the steering wheel. Instead of holding your hands at 10 and 2, you should use a shuffle technique with your hands at 8 and 4.

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