A- A+

Previous Page

Table Of Contents

Next Page

Proactive driving

Proactive driving is driving with the aim
to anticipate possible hazards and take
action to reduce, minimize or avoid danger
before it can occur.

Never assume other drivers are
always going to drive carefully or respond
correctly at all times. Anticipating what
might happen can help you to avoid
collisions caused by the driving errors of
others. This chapter describes the skills
and techniques you can use to drive

Scan all around your vehicle

Most of your attention should be given to
looking forward and scanning for hazards
that are developing ahead of you. When
you are driving in an urban area, look at
least 12 to 15 seconds ahead of your
vehicle. This is about one to one-and-ahalf
blocks. When you are driving in rural
areas, look at least 20 to 25 seconds
ahead of your vehicle. This is your visual
lead time
, which provides you with time to
respond to hazards ahead of you.

Check behind you by glancing in
your rear view mirrors every eight to 12
seconds (about every block in an urban
area). Glance in your rear view mirrors
when you anticipate slowing or stopping.
Be aware of vehicles on both sides and in
your blind spots. Do not forget to glance
at your speedometer to check your speed.

Watch for potential hazards

Proactive driving involves a continuous
process of watching your surroundings


and thinking about whether hazards
are developing, and then taking action
to reduce risks. There are two types of
hazards that should be recognized. These
are fixed (those that do not change) and
variable (those that change).

Fixed hazards are permanent
conditions and situations along the
roadway, including:
• restricted vision areas such as curves,
   hills and hidden driveways
• intersections
• merging roadways

Variable hazards change through the
day, including:
• school children and other pedestrians
• left-turning vehicles
• icy road surfaces
• “stale” green lights
• emergency vehicles

Be prepared to take action to avoid a
problem as the situation changes. Expect
the unexpected and always plan an
escape route.

Have a space cushion

Leave enough space between yourself
and the vehicle ahead, behind and to
either side to stop safely or steer around
a possible hazard. If someone is following
too closely, and if it is safe, reduce your
speed just enough to encourage them to
pass. If the person does not pass, create a
wider space cushion between you and the
vehicle ahead.

When stopping behind another vehicle
in traffic, leave enough space so that you
could move your vehicle into another
lane without having to reverse. The extra

88  A Driver's guide to Operations, Safety and Licensing 

Previous Page

Table Of Contents

Next Page