We often hear the term “defensive driving” used when it comes to describing how we should perform on the road.

 

Whilst this terminology is used widely, it may limit a person’s mind set and perception about how we manage on-road situations.

 

The term may also lead a person to think about driving in a largely reactive way and simply be ready for the actions of other road users. Whilst this is certainly necessary, it is also important to look at ourselves and what we can do.

 

Perhaps a better way to think about it is to shift our thinking from defensive driving to proactive driving.

 

So what is proactive driving?  Let’s take a look.

 

* Continuously observe all situations, including looking as far ahead as possible;

* Maintain safe space cushions;

* Frequently check mirrors;

* Stay focused;

* Plan our moves well in advance;

* Slow down to negotiate all driving situations;

* Select the most appropriate gear for each driving task;

* Try to anticipate possible dangers;

* Use appropriate speed, stopping and turning techniques and warning devices to negotiate and leave hazardous situations; and finally

* Drive to suit the conditions on the day.

 

Following these points will help to give you a better understanding of what’s happening around your vehicle and more importantly, start to trigger early warning signs if something isn’t quite right up ahead.

 

Now it’s important to remember too that even fighter pilots will employ a similar technique.

 

They’ll often talk about this ‘what if scenario’, in other words what would you do, if something out of the ordinary happened.  And you can apply that same level of thinking, every time you’re behind the wheel.

 

Drive Safely – Russell White CARMA Road Safety Ambassador