Being Observant When You’re Driving
How observant are you when you’re in a car? Are you someone who is constantly watching for hazards or are you focused on your own driving? One of the most critical things that you will learn in your driver training is hazard detection, or scanning the road and keeping an eye out for dangerous situations at all times.
Driving instructors in Adelaide often say that learning how to become a good driver actually starts when you’re a passenger in a car (even before you start driver training). Watching for hazards up ahead on the road or monitoring the traffic on either side of the car while you’re seated in the passenger seat can give you a great foundation for when you do begin to have driving lessons.
As part of the manual the Driving Companion, which you receive when you first get your L’s, you will be introduced to the concept of hazard detection. Timely and appropriate detection of danger and hazards while you’re driving can greatly reduce the number of road accidents and incidents, and these concepts are a critical step in becoming a safe and effective driver. The Driving Companion introduces you to a number of best practice rules you should follow when driving, including:
- Be alert and keep your eyes moving. Your eyes should always be moving, looking at objects quickly then moving on. Avoid staring at objects for long periods of time. Many preventable car crashes occur because the driver is staring at something and failed to observe the change in traffic around them. Constantly moving your eyes also helps to take in the whole view – the foreground, middle and far distance around you – rather than just a narrow section of the world outside your car.
- Plan an “escape” route. When you know what’s happening around you at any moment then it also makes it easier to plan to avoid problems or hazards as and when they occur. Having a way that you can avoid danger – for example, by changing lanes – means you are less likely to get into trouble.
- Watch other drivers and make sure they can see you. Part of being alert whilst driving is keeping an eye on other drivers around you and making sure they get enough warning about your intentions. Giving the appropriate time for signalling before turning or changing lanes, or making sure you’re not in other drivers’ blind spots are good examples of safe and sensible driving. A good tip is to make sure you can see other drivers’ eyes (and that they can see yours in return) when you’re positioning the car for a manoeuvre – for example, turning right, parking, changing lanes or using a roundabout. In this way you’ll know that the drivers can see you and are aware of what you intend to do.
Hazard detection and being observant while driving is just one part of a broader concept called the “System Of Car Control” which you will also learn through the Driving Companion and driving lessons in Adelaide.