Turn Signals

An important part of safe driving, turn signals.
An important part of safe driving, turn signals.

Essential for safety, turn signals have practical uses as well. They tell other drivers and pedestrians what you intend to do. On the highway your life may depend on them. On city streets their blinking helps keep traffic moving efficiently while preventing accidents. In parking lots it alerts people you are backing out of a space or going in perhaps preventing fender benders and loud embarrassing arguments.

That’s right, parking lots. When was the last time you used your turn signals in a parking lot? Never? Well, think about it. Wouldn’t you appreciate knowing what other cars are going to do while creeping along looking for an open space? When you spot a blinking signal up the line you a space is gone or one is opening up. It’s time for a sigh of relief or or a mild curse.

Most important, remember to put those turn signals blinking when changing lanes while speeding along a freeway or busy through street. The number one cause of road rage is cutting someone off by failing to signal a lane change. More to the point it is the number one cause of accidents and at 110 kph or 80 kph on a city through-way it is an excellent way to die.

Safe driving means staying safe, staying alive, not having accident.  Derek Brown’s Driving Academy can help you stay safe.

Stop Fast


The best way to avoid an accident is to stop fast. Stop before you hit someone or before someone hits you. The best way to stop fast is to be aware of your surroundings. That means pay close attention to the road and everything on it and near it, especially signs. No cell phones – even the ones attached to your ear – no maps spread on the next seat, no shaving, no applying makeup.

Research has shown that just talking on the phone while driving is more dangerous than three beers, even if you don’t hold it in your hand. It’s different than listening to the radio or chatting with other people in the car, researchers found. It requires more intense concentration at the expense of your attention to the road. Fractions of a second count on the road. Talking on the phone, like alcohol, adds considerably to your reaction time, according to the study.

There are other more obvious things to remember. Keeping your bakes in good repair, for one. Obeying the speed limit is another. Most important, maintain enough space between your car and the one in front to ensure you can stop in time. This last point is almost universally ignored, particularly on city through-ways where tailgating is now common practice. Be the exception to this dangerous new rule.

Finally, remember to stop twice when leaving a parking lot. First stop at the sidewalk crossing the lot exit, look for pedestrians, then stop again at the road and look for cars. You may save a life and avoid a lawsuit.

If you want to learn to drive safely or the new driver in your family, check out our driving school Derek Brown’s Driving Academy.


Tailgater’s Revenge

Here’s a funny video about something we’ve all fantasized about, getting revenge on the tailgater.  Even though tailgating is rude and dangerous, the best response is just to stay calm and concentrate on driving safely yourself.  If possible, diffuse the situation by letting them around you, but only if you can do so safely.

For more great driving tips read the rest of this blog, or better yet come to Derek Brown’s Academy, the best Calgary driver’s education school.  We’ll teach you how to stay safe behind the wheel.

How to Conserve Energy and Save Money


Derek Brown’s Academy of Driving prepares you for the road, but there is a lot more to driving than just skill and understanding the rules of the road.  As the need to get to and from places conveniently becomes more balanced with conserving energy and affording more expensive gas prices, finding green and cheaper ways to drive is becoming a bigger and bigger industry.  The state of New York recently decided to offer a grant of 1.2 million for ideas to reduce fossil fuel use that is being used to fund 70 separate projects to save fossil fuels across the state.

Carsharing can be a great way to get around.  You’ll be helping the planet just by not purchasing your own vehicle.  20% of a vehicle’s total energy expenditure goes into comes from its production.  That is equivalent to 2,000 to 3,000 liters of gasoline.  That’s a lot of gasoline that you can save by participating in a carsharing program.

If you live in Calgary or other large city, you know that companies have started to create large carsharing networks.  These companies place small cars all around the city that any person that signs up with the company can drive around for a fee that is much less than a cab and much more convenient than public transportation.  It’s a great way to get around if you are an urbanite.  It beats an expensive and hard to find taxis.

One great carsharing company is Car 2 Go.

If you do not live in a big city, driving a hybrid car, electric car, or just a smaller car can allow you to leave less of a carbon footprint.  Hybrids can be an especially good idea if you live away from necessities like the grocery store or if you drive a lot for business purposes. The gas savings can make a hybrid worth it without even taking into consideration the environment.

In our driving school, you’ll learn even more about safe and cheaper driving habits. Sign up today.

The photo is from Car 2 Go a Calgary Car Sharing website.

Our driving school is in Calgary, Alberta.


The Dangers of a Left-Hand Turn

Making a left-hand turn may be one of the most dangerous driving manoeuvres, and is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents. Many accidents are caused by drivers misjudging their left-hand turns, and as a result being hit by oncoming traffic. Making a left-hand turn while distracted by a conversation, using a cellular device, changing the radio station and many other things may result in this happening. Always make sure you have enough time and space to properly and safely execute your left-hand turn, and always scan both ways for oncoming traffic. It may just save your life.

Driving Ads that Shock

We drive so often that we forget how dangerous driving can be. This video will shock you out of that forgetfulness and make you realize that your life and other people’s lives are in your hands when you drive.

After watching the video, you’ll never want to drive distracted or too fast again. Don’t die. Don’t kill. Bad accidents happen everyday, everywhere on earth. Don’t let it happen to you.

Derek Brown’s Academy of Driving has a defensive driving course to help you learn to drive more safely and reduce driving demerits.  Sign up today.

Beware the Cyclists and Motorcyclists

Now that winter is gone and spring is finally here there is a new driving to be aware of, as many people are riding their bikes, as well as motorcycles. Many drivers overlook the fact that they must share the road with other vehicles, bikes being the most common. Always be aware of your surroundings seems to be a pretty simple task, until it is actually required. Cyclists and motorcyclists have a higher risk for fatal injuries from a collision than drivers, and therefore should always be monitored while driving. Watch out for cyclists or motorcyclists or you could end up killing one with your car or truck. If you want to improve your driving safety you could take one of our Derek Brown’s driving school courses.

Teens and Driving Lessons

New drivers tend to get nervous about their driving very easily, and due to this make more mistakes than if they were not nervous. Driving with parents or other family members can be frustrating for a teen for various reasons including distractions and negative feedback. Due to this many people choose to get lessons from an instructor. Learning how to drive from a professional is a good way to learn how to properly turn, parallel park and stop and merge properly and will help teens to become more confident in their driving abilities. Also, it will allow them to learn what  aspects of driving they are lacking in, and how to properly correct their mistakes. Car accidents are the leading cause of death among teens. It’s estimated that teens between the ages of 16 to 20 are four times more likely to be in a fatal accident than an adult. It is crucial to learn all the proper ways to drive at a young age to ensure that you may continue to drive safely for the rest of your life.