Driving Hazards: Perception & Negotiation
iii) Hazard Procedure Basics
As previously discussed, as far as we are concerned while driving, a hazard is anything that could cause us to change speed or direction. The best drivers have a simple procedure when faced with a driving hazard:
Check Mirror(s), Ease Off the Gas, Decide If Change in Speed/Direction Is Safe & Necessary
This may sound complicated, but with a few hours’ focused training & coaching it will become absolute 2nd nature. There are several techniques which can help teach/instil this discipline. We’ll use just one here.
As you drive along, as soon as anything changes in front of you (e.g. you see brake lights come on / a parked vehicle encroaches on your lane / a pedestrian crossing / a vehicle signalling to cross your path etc), glance in your mirror(s) and gently back off the gas.
This will give you a chance to assess the situation without drastically changing your speed. It also allows you to see what any following vehicles are doing and how close they are. This is vital information to have BEFORE you apply your brakes, step on the gas, or turn the steering wheel.
Our next blog post will explain how to safely change speed and or direction whenever necessary.