April 14, 2023
Over the years we have learned that many experienced drivers do not look ahead as far as they should.
Defensive Driving Instructors sit beside many experienced drivers. We watch people drive then help them develop safer habits.
The main ‘poor habit’ we notice is lack of observation. Drivers just don’t look around and they definitely don’t look far enough ahead.
This is not about staring down the road and looking nowhere else. It is about developing good observation habits. Learning to scan the whole road. Looking as far ahead as you can see, looking wider to see what is happening, then looking middle distance and closer to deal with more immediate hazards.
Most drivers look only ‘a few cars ahead’. Very few look as far as they can see. Looking well ahead is equally important when driving straight as it is through bends or on winding roads. Most drivers look ‘at’ the bend or turn. Safe drivers look ‘through’ the bend to where they are going.
Driving, steering and staying safe on the road is all about looking and seeing. It’s all about the eyes. If the eyes look the correct places, everything else will follow.
When people first learn to drive, they tend to look only a few metres ahead of the car. They are desperately trying to miss stuff. This is very fair and reasonable. Unfortunately some drivers never look beyond this distance. They may learn to look a bit further ahead but often don’t. People don’t look ahead because it is scary. It means looking away from all those things you are worried about, all those things you might hit.
Focus on where you want to go and you will get there. Of course you still have to deal with the obstacles along the way but if you don’t keep looking ahead to see where you are going, you will never get there. The same goes for driving. If you spend your whole time looking at and worrying about the the things you might hit, you will never look up and see where you want to go.
Look ahead and plan the best path through all the hazards you encounter. Steering will be smoother and more relaxing. No more constantly trying to keep the car in place, just let it stay in place, simply guiding it along the chosen and planned path.
If you are learning to drive a good driving instructor will teach you about safe observation and looking ahead. Experienced drivers can choose to do a Defensive Driving course and find out how to look ahead and stay safe.