Most motorists would say that they are safe behind the wheel and pay close attention to the conditions and other road users. But the reality is that we all, from time to time, suffer small lapses and are not as observant as we like to think. Kids arguing in the back seat, a favourite song on the radio, pedestrians who seem to walk out without looking, a sudden change in conditions and so on can all affect our concentration and out us at risk of an accident.
So how can we boost our driving skills and work to prevent accidents when behind the wheel? It is easy to say “concentrate harder and pay close attention to the road” but not always easy to do every single second when driving. But there are a few key ideas you can ensure are part of your motoring.
Perhaps the simplest thing you can do to prevent accidents on the road is to keep calm. This means taking a deep breath before doing anything like telling the children to be quiet or honking your horn at a fellow motorist. These vital seconds where you pause to think can alter your behaviour for the better.
Respond, don’t react
Another thing to train yourself into the habit of doing is responding, rather than reacting. Instead of shouting abuse at someone who pulls out in front of you, respond by adjusting your driving accordingly in order to stay safe.
Minds have a habit of wandering, particularly on long motorway journeys, but try not to let your concentration lapse. This also means not getting distracted by changing the radio or looking at your mobile phone – this is a complete no-no.
Expect the unexpected
Another thing that is easier said than done – try to plan ahead for what might happen. Be aware of upcoming junctions or crossings and be prepared to stop if necessary. Many accidents could be prevented if motorists learnt to expect the unexpected a bit more. If you are coming up to a tricky junction slow down and get ready to brake in case someone pulls out at the last minute. If you pass near a school at home-time reduce your speed in case a child runs out.
Become an advanced driver
Advanced driving courses are a great way to boost your skills. And they can also reduce your insurance premiums too. The courses are run by experienced instructors and teach you additional techniques for observing the road and other road users and preventing accidents.