Changes can be tricky
As most people do, I like new things. I tend to buy new things for my family instead of myself, but I do like new things regardless. Sometimes doing something different is just what I need to change things around in my day. After all, who wants to do the same things over and over again?
Our communities do their best to change things around too. For example, a new stop sign was placed at an intersection that I travel through on my way to work. Adding stop signs and traffic lights is something your city or township controls. For various reasons, they may add, remove or just change the place of these signs and or traffic lights. Has that ever caught you off guard? This particular stop sign was added to help keep the speeds lower within the school zone.
As the week continued I did see a driver ahead of me drive right through that new stop sign. Did they see it or just ignore it? I’m pretty certain they weren’t paying attention to it and as a habit they continued along as they have previously. They weren’t expecting the stop sign to be there, so they weren’t looking for it.
I was once with a licensed driver doing an evaluation with Young Drivers of Canada when we came across an intersection that had a ‘new’ stop sign in place. The driver failed to slow down early so I asked them to begin braking. They didn’t so I asked again. Eventually I had to apply my brake to stop them. The driver glared at me and asked me why I stopped them. When I pointed to the stop sign they said the stop sign wasn’t there yesterday. So what? It’s there today, so we obey the sign, right?
Moving your eyes on the sides from building to building and well ahead allows us as drivers to get the big picture. It helps us spot all of the information we need to drive safely. If you do that and miss the sign the first time, constantly moving your eyes will give you the chance to spot the sign before it’s too late.
I also once had a student who stopped where there wasn’t a stop sign. There was no one near us so I let them stop the vehicle. I wasn’t exactly sure what they were thinking and since it wasn’t risky I let them continue. After they stopped I asked them why they were stopping. They said they stopped because of the stop sign. When I pointed to the fact the sign was removed from where it once was, they giggled and continued along their way.
As a creature of habit we tend to continue to do the same things day in and day out. Keep your eyes moving to pick up the changes within our driving community. Stay observant and keep your mind on what you’re doing when you’re behind the wheel and you’ll avoid making mistakes like these. It will be safer for you and less embarrassing too.