Are you a problem solver?
How good are you at spotting problems while driving? The most common thing that drivers say after they’ve either had a crash or a close call with another driver is “Where did they come from?” and that’s not a good thing. Why didn’t the driver notice the driver, pedestrian or the cyclist ahead of time? Perhaps they weren’t looking for them.
When I’ve been out with licensed drivers I will often ask them what problems they notice. They are often silent for the first few seconds because they don’t see anyone they have to brake for or honk at. That’s part of the problem. Why wait until you have to brake or honk before you’ve recognized there is a problem close by? Why not anticipate the problems and respond early.
Let’s say you’re approaching an intersection and as you get closer you spot a couple of pedestrians crossing through the crosswalk against the light. You would have to brake firmly and/or honk at them in order to avoid hitting them. Instead of doing that, what if you moved your eyes from building to building and spotted the pedestrians walking toward the curb. Would that give you early notice that they may be stepping off the curb?
If you notice a potential problem developing, you’ll have more time to slow down, honk or change lanes. Why wait until you have to slam on your brakes? For most drivers who drive like this, they will most likely crash at some point in their lives. We need to learn to anticipate and respond early; before the problem really develops.
Think about the other things you do in life that are proactive. We will carry an umbrella when it may rain. We bring a sweater or jacket because we know it may get colder later in the day. If this is how we live our lives when we’re not driving, why change that way of thinking when you’re looking for potential problems?
The bottom line is this; look well ahead and from building to building to help spot problems sooner. Remember to use your mirrors often as well so you’ll know of any problems coming from behind. Once you spot a potential problem, do something about it early so you can remain under control of the situation. And remember, you never find what you’re not looking for.