Where’s your escape?
Knowing where to go and what to do in an emergency is key for survival. What about you while you’re in traffic? Do you know where your escape is?
Drivers tend to wait until the last moment before they do something about a problem. The danger with that is they may not have a place to go to avoid the problem. Other drivers may be blocking their escape route. What if you planned an escape? What if you adjusted your speed to regain your escape if it was blocked? This makes sense to me, and hopefully to you. In heavier traffic we need to work harder to keep the escape.
Which lane do you think provides the best escape from a collision? Would you be surprised to know the right lane is best? It gives you a chance to use a driveway or even the sidewalk to avoid a collision. I had a student years ago that didn’t think my small car could make it up the curb to avoid a collision. I always like a challenge so I asked her to drive up the curb, slowly of course so as not to throw off the alignment (since it wasn’t an emergency). I needed to show her that the sidewalk could be an escape if needed. It worked, but could you imagine what the neighbours were thinking when they saw us drive up the curb?
Where is your escape when you’re in bumper-to-bumper traffic? You’ve got vehicles to your right, to your left and behind you. Leaving additional space in front of your vehicle will give you room to accelerate if you have to avoid getting hit from any of the vehicles around you while you’re driving slowly.
Now, imagine you’re sitting at a red light. There’s a vehicle stopped directly in front of you, a vehicle to your left and to your right. No one is behind you. Are you safe and secure? What if the driver approaching from behind couldn’t stop in time because they were distracted, or sliding on a slippery road? Where could you go? What if, when there is no one behind you, you left additional space in front of you so you could accelerate into an open space? Since most, if not all, drivers brake toward your brake lights, this would provide you with an escape to help you avoid rear crashes, which is the most commonly reported crash in North America.
You have everything to gain and very little to lose when you plan your escape as you drive. Just be ready to use it when needed. This will help you save your vehicle from potential damage, save money because you won’t have repairs and allow you to feel very good about your safety. And besides, everybody could do with a little escape every now and then!