Archive for February 15th, 2017|Daily archive page

The One Driving Tip Everyone Should Follow

One of the keys to driving safely is vigilantly looking around you, not just directly ahead of you.

To be a safe driver, you must be aware of what is happening around your vehicle—not just in front of you, but to the sides and behind as well. Scanning helps you to see problems ahead that may cause you to change speed or your position on the road.

The American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association (ADTSEA) is a professional association representing traffic safety educators in the United States and abroad. They’ve compiled a few tips that stress using your visual perception when you’re behind the wheel:

Look far enough ahead.
Looking well ahead can help you avoid emergency braking and maneuvering. In urban environments, you’ll be looking two to three blocks ahead. In rural areas, you will want to look a quarter of a mile ahead. In either environment, you’ll want to look for brake lights on vehicles ahead of you, vehicles or pedestrians moving into the roadway and traffic lights that may soon change. The earlier you spot a problem, the more time you have to react. Making early adjustments to your speed or position can ensure that drivers behind you have more time to react as well.

Look to the sides.
Pedestrians or other vehicles may cross or enter your path of travel at any time. On multi-lane highways, vehicles can change lanes without warning. So what may have been an opening moments before could be a risk when you decide to change lanes. Also, always look to your sides when you are near roadwork, shopping centers, busy sidewalks and schoolyards.

Look to the rear.
Looking to the rear of your vehicle is crucial for determining if a driver behind you is following too closely or approaching too quickly. This allows you time to adjust speed or change lanes as necessary to avoid potential problems. Always check to the rear before changing lanes, slowing down, entering traffic or driving down a steep hill.

Develop good scanning habits.
The ADTSEA recommends a systematic search pattern. When looking ahead, they recommend that you look far ahead, down the middle of your lane. When searching for potential hazards, look 20 to 30 seconds ahead, scanning carefully from side to side.

While these tips were written for new drivers and are part of the association’s curriculum (Version 2.0), it also provides valuable reminders for more seasoned drivers.

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