I’ve often written about having an escape route in case of trouble, but when should you use your escape? Remember when you were a kid and were playing “tag”? You often waited until the person who was “it” was close to you before you moved out of the way. Wasn’t that too late? Couldn’t they still touch you to make you “it”?
We teach our students at Young Drivers of Canada to look for an escape each time they drive, and not just when they’re stopped. The true question becomes, when do you use your escape?
I’m an optimistic person and always feel there’s good in everything, but the reality of it is that drivers just don’t always stop in time before hitting someone. The moment I feel a driver approaching me needs room, I give it to them. If I wait too long until they get very close to me, they may do a panic move. They may do a sudden swerve into you or someone else if you wait until the last second to get out of the way. If you move out of the way sooner, they’ll see the space you’ve given them early enough that may help them escape the situation. Besides helping you survive, it may help them survive.
I recently watched a video of selected drivers running through red lights or hitting drivers sitting at red lights. The interesting and frustrating thing in most cases is that the driver running the light hit the only vehicle sitting at the red light. Some of those drivers were approaching the intersection at a high rate of speed, but the driver sitting there just….sat there. Why didn’t they move out of the way?
Knowing where your escape route is at any given time is important, but using it is even better. If you use your escape but realize the driver approaching you eventually stopped in time, there’s no harm. However, waiting until the last second to move, may not give you enough time to move. Remember, they’re coming at you at full speed and you’re starting off from a dead stop. Use your escape route early, or else the stop may not be the only thing that’s dead.