Why wait until it’s a panic move?
I was recently out with my teenage son bringing him back from his hockey practice. Yes, apparently my life goal is to drive my kids to and from their activities. Anyway, it was dark and raining while we were traveling on a multi-lane one way street with four lanes in our direction. I was in the far left lane approaching a slower vehicle who was on my right. I try to anticipate the actions of other road users and because of that mentality; I spotted the driver on my right trying to change lanes into the side of my vehicle. What would you do if that was about to happen to you?
Since I was able to see the wheels of the vehicle beside me begin to get closer to the lane markings, I was able to honk and reduce speed quickly. I didn’t wait to see if they crossed the lane markings and I didn’t rely entirely on my horn to stop the potential crash from happening; and why should I? What if they were distracted and didn’t realize my horn was for them? Since they were trying to change lanes
while I was there, why would I assume they would respond to the sound of my horn?
My son was sitting in the front passenger seat and the sudden horn use and the hard braking startled him. After he figured out what was happening and why I did what I did, he was happy. He said he was okay with “getting the crap scared out of him” as opposed to having someone hit the side of his door and risk getting injured. As he’s learning each time he’s in the vehicle with me, why wait until the last second to respond when a proactive move would stop a crash from happening?
A proactive style of driving means we need to anticipate the actions of other road users and respond early. By responding early, you reduce the severity of the crash and quite often, the crash doesn’t happen.
Another example of proactive driving and anticipating the actions of other road users is when traffic ahead begins to slow down. You see brake lights ahead of you and although the driver directly in front of you isn’t braking yet, you start to brake. Why wait to brake late and risk a rear crash? I’ll often get my students at Young Drivers of Canada to look beyond the traffic directly in front of us and respond before that vehicle can. My students feel completely in control…and they should. That’s because they won’t wait until they need a panic move. Do you?