Plotting your obstacle course
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While attending an advanced driving course in Britain, a motoring writer colleague was given a great safety tip by the instructor.
The instructor, who used to train top British police officers how to drive, told my colleague to say out loud the obstacles he could see as he drove along a suburban road.
The instructor pointed out a row of parked cars and gave a demonstration by saying out loud from the passenger’s seat: “Is there a kid on the footpath who could run out? Is there a dog by the road? Is there someone about to exit the car? Is there a cyclist obscured by the cars? Is one of the cars about to pull out without indicating?”
All of that from a few parked cars.
Now you try doing that for five minutes in a busy city route. It’s exhausting.
“Lights have just turned red, so look out for three cars about to drive through illegally. Two lanes are merging and I can see two cars ahead not wanting to give way.
“I’m about to drive past a give way sign, has the other driver seen me? I’m driving by a playground — slow down.”
I was so impressed with the tip that I often do it with my (soon-to-be) learner driver daughter in the car, to teach her the hazards of the road, in particular the motorway, which can have multiple incidents happening.
It’s helped her pick potential hazards, though she did say this week when I was driving her that some of my tips are more road rage than vocal defensive driving hints.
She could have a point. Maybe I need to whisper the obstacles not yell at the offender!