You need to be on your guard any time you have to cross the path of other vehicles.  As you’re approaching an intersection, stay alert, assess the view and be prepared for the unexpected.


Keep a sharp look-out for other vehicles and keep in mind that objects around the intersection – parked cars, bushes, power poles - may block your view.

 

At traffic lights, even if you have a green light, it is wise to ease off the power a little and be ready to brake just in case.  Make sure you are scanning the intersection as you approach it and look out for clues that may give you an early warning.  Don't forget to signal your intentions and indicate in plenty of time so that other drivers around you know where you intend to go.


If the light has been green for a while, you know it is likely to change soon, so be ready and plan how you are going to deal with it.

 

Whilst we'd like to think that other drivers are totally on the ball all the time, unfortunately mistakes do happen. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming other drivers are actually going to do what you think they are going to do.


For instance, just because someone’s indicator is flashing doesn’t necessarily mean they’re heading in that direction. What if the driver approaching your intersection has left his indicator running from an earlier turn and now actually intends to keep going straight ahead?


If you pull out, believing he’s going to turn, you’re in trouble. There have been countless crashes caused by this very mistake. If you're stopped at an intersection and an approaching car has an indicator flashing, wait until that car actually starts to turn before you move off. It won't cost you a lot of time and it could well save you in more ways than one.

 

It’s also a good idea to occasionally ask yourself - “is there an easier way?”

 

For example, on your daily commute, is there an intersection that always seems a drama to deal with or that makes you feel uncomfortable?


It may be because you can't really see if there are other vehicles coming until the last moment or the volume of traffic is so great that you always feel that you have to make a sudden dash and squeeze into any gap that appears.


If you find yourself in this situation, it could be a good idea to just see if there isn't another way you could take each day in order to make your life a little easier. It could be as simple as changing the route or driving one block further to another intersection that is controlled by traffic lights.

 

Drive Safely

Russell White - CARMA Road Safety Ambassador