Your November Drivers Brief
Subconsciously, when we drive, we sometimes use a system of driving. In a basic form, everyone remembers MSM - Mirror Signal Manoeuvre. But hand on heart, do we use it? Maybe, maybe not.
Different driving organizations and charities use different systems, that boiled down encourage us to look at our surroundings and then communicate that information to the other road users.
We use COAST. Concentration, Observation, Anticipation, Space and Time.
Concentration; When we drive, we should concentrate on the task in hand, driving. We should not be distracted from it by whatever means. Remember distractions can be Visual, Audio, Mental or Physical (VAMP). If we break concentration, we increase the time it takes to respond to what is unfolding in front of us. Not always the actual braking distance, but the thinking distance. We apply the brakes later. A ‘normal’ reaction time is 0.7seconds. If a car is travelling at 30mph, you travel 45ft/second. Information from the Transport Research Laboratory suggests being on a handheld mobile telephone increases our reaction by about 50%. In plain terms, at 30mph, instead of putting the brakes on within 32ft, you brake after 47ft. Increasing the stopping distance by 15ft. At 70mph you add an extra 36ft because of the distraction.
Observation; A driver should read the road. Looking near, middle and far distance. A good driver will respond to what is developing in front of them, being Proactive. A poor driver will react to whats happening in front of them. These are two different drives. Moving your eyes up and down the road, lifting them from a Lo Beam, to a Hi Beam, helps collect information that a driver can then use Proactively, remember to look ‘Funnel’ fashion, not Tunnel fashion. There are clues at the side of the road to what can develop. Children stepping out, balls and bicycles are all clues. Next what about your mirrors? There is information behind and around you that can be of use to help defend the space around us. Good drivers are always spatially aware of what is around them.
Anticipation; What is it you expect to happen when driving? If we plan for the worst, and then the best happens, bonus. We go home without causing any injury or harm and many of you will have heard the phrase ‘Always expect the unexpected’, but what is the next line? ‘And then the unexpected becomes expected’. As we approach a bend in the road, do we question what is going on around that corner? A walker? Cyclist? Horse rider?
Space; If we leave space, we produce time. The more space we have, the less likely it is that you will collide with anyone or anything. Having Space gives us time to Think and Plan.
Time; Have time to make adjustments to your Speed and Position on the road. If we don’t have time, then we become a statistic. Dont get added to the list of fatalities and serious injuries, keep yourself safe. get home safe.
Eyes on the Road, Hands on the wheel,
Mind on the Driving.