Driving Test Success

Anticipation and Planning - Avoiding Road Hazards

Anticipating trouble and planning how to avoid it are fundamental to safe driving

To anticipate, is to take action when you expect something will or might happen, or rather when a road hazard will cause you to slow down, change direction or stop. The way you anticipate what might happen is to make early use of all the information available to you. To do this effectively you need to be constantly aware of what is happening around you. You should constantly be scanning the road ahead and checking your mirrors. Take in as much information as you can. Be aware of what is happening:

Keep your eyes moving. Pay attention to the middle and far distance, not just what is happening immediately ahead of you. Try and see the bigger picture, don't allow your eyes to be drawn to just one area. Looking further ahead will enable you to see things earlier and give you more time to deal with any hazard that might be developing.

Always expect the unexpected - not all hazards can be anticipated

Pay attention to:

Times and Places to be extra careful:

Ask yourself questions based on the road traffic conditions:

Ask 'what if?' questions:

Pay special attention to the following:

Improve your view:

Other factors such as the road you are driving on and the weather conditions will also affect your ability to anticipate what might happen.

On busy roads such as dual-carriageways drivers have more options, they can change lanes and drive at higher speeds for example, so anticipating what might happen is more difficult.

Driving at night or in poor weather will also make anticipation more difficult as visibility will be reduced.

Look Assess Decide

Look well ahead. Continually look out for hazards, especially those that are, or might, move and change. Prioritize which is the most important hazard.

Assess and weigh up the whole traffic situation.

Decide on a means of action. Your decision should be based on

  1. what can be seen
  2. what cannot be seen
  3. what you can reasonably expect other road users to do.


Author Richard Jenkins

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