It hangs above us
I think we all know that good observation is a big part of driving safely. Our observation, or lack of, can also affect other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Have you recently made a driving error because you failed to notice something and it affected someone else? I see this happen every week and it doesn’t have to happen if you can change some of the things you regularly do while driving.
Every now and then I find myself traveling on a road that has signs above the lane to indicate the direction that drivers in that lane must or can travel in. Part of planning your route is making lane choices well in advance. Since I have to turn left shortly after my right turn, I opt to take the second turning lane. This allows me to be further to the left side of the new road that I’m turning onto so lane changes are fewer in a short period of time. Unfortunately, a lot of drivers from the inside lane don’t realize drivers in my lane have a choice of going straight or turning right and they immediately drift wide, cutting off other drivers who are also making a turn.
Why wouldn’t the driver from the inside lane not notice the other driver turning? Part of the problem is that a lot of drivers don’t look well enough ahead of them to notice overhead road signs. And when they are close to their destination for a turn, they never think about looking “up” to see a road sign.
The reality is that you shouldn’t have to look “up” to see the sign. Looking well ahead while driving gives you time to see, think and respond to what’s in the lane ahead of you.
When I was out teaching a student from Young Drivers of Canada recently, we witnessed a driver driving straight through an intersection from the right hand lane. Now, that doesn’t seem strange, except that lane was a right turn only lane. There was another overhead sign indicating this to all drivers approaching that intersection, but it only helps you if you notice the sign while looking well ahead of you.
Perhaps some drivers just don’t care what they do, as long as they reach their destination. To the better drivers out there, they want to do the proper thing and avoid causing close calls or even collisions. Regardless what your motive is, look ahead and follow the road signs. It could be a sign of things to come.