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Surprise! Or: "It's the winter, stupid"


Surprise! Or: "It's the winter, stupid"
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The following multiple-choice test has been added to the Winter-Driving 101 module of the advanced supplementary adult education programme based around the Finnish driving school curriculum. The aim of the new course component is to encourage drivers to show an increased interest in their personal traffic behaviour under unexpected winter conditions. Especially in Finland.
1. The road surface is icy. You notice to your surprise a vehicle travelling more slowly than your own. You crash into the rear of this vehicle. Does guilt in this instance lie with:
      a) winter road maintenance
      b) unexpected winter conditions
      c) the circular red and yellow traffic sign that permitted too great a speed?
2. You overtake a truck that has kicked up a thick cloud of powdery snow around it. You are temporarily blinded and you collide with an oncoming vehicle that has spun sideways as a result of the blizzard-like conditions. Does the fault lie:
      a) in the non-studded friction tyres used by the other vehicle
      b) in the cloud of snow raised by the truck
      c) in the EPS traction control system?
3. The safe distance between vehicles travelling in the same direction on a motorway in bad, wintry conditions when the speed of the vehicles is the maximum permitted 100 km/hour is sufficient when it is possible for:
      a) one car
      b) two cars
      c) three cars to cut in during an overtaking manoeuvre into the gap between your vehicle and the vehicle immediately in front of you?
4. In your considered opinion, what is the greatest single cause of collisions taking place in poor winter driving conditions? Is it:
      a) safer cars
      b) a greater sense of safety and security behind the wheel
      c) the increasingly effective sound insulation of engine noise in modern cars?
5. Which of the following would most effectively reduce the incidence of collisions under bad driving conditions?
      a) automatic remote-controlled maximum recommended speed signs that would take account of worsening road conditions
      b) having the roads salted constantly throughout the winter months in order to be on the safe side
      c) personal snow-ploughing services for all road users?
6. You are involved in a collision in extremely bad road conditions. At what point were you made aware of the state of the road surface?
      a) on the previous evening's television newscast
      b) in the morning newspaper
      c) you were informed of the conditions only at the scene of the accident?
Helsingin Sanomat, first published in print 21.3.2005/

Previously in HS International Edition:
  Experts blame Thursday's traffic carnage on complacency and excessive speeds (18.3.2005)

Helsingin Sanomat

  22.3.2005 - THIS WEEK
 Surprise! Or: "It's the winter, stupid"

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