Anticipation – What could happen?

Anticipation is the skill of accurately expecting the unexpected. Anticipate the danger, then use the MS-PSL routine to good effectAnticipation skills are vital to your success at the part 2 test of driving ability. You simply cannot drive a car from A to B without using anticipation.

If you think about it, you can’t do very much without anticipation. Imagine walking round your local supermarket, pushing a shopping trolley . . . if you didn’t exercise a degree of anticipation, you’d bump your trolley into other people all the time. You wouldn’t be very popular.

With a car, all you really do is Control the speed and the direction. Not much else.

Without basic anticipation skills, you wouldn’t be able to turn any corners or steer along any road that wasn’t straight.

What happens at a very basic level, is that you:

  •  look ahead,
  • you use what you see to determine what might happen, and
  • you prioritise what you see and decide what to do about it.

So, what set’s an Advanced Driver above a ‘normal’ motorist?Well, an Advanced Driver will have much greater developed car Control and driving skills. They will also have much higher levels of skill in Anticipation.

Think about the simple three stage process above . . . we see, we determine what might happen, and we prioritise what we see and decide what to do.

Every driver in every car in the world goes through these processes. It is simply not possible to drive without them. What varies between each and every driver, is the skill that each displays in these three areas.

Advanced drivers will use and continually practice their advanced observation techniques, allowing them to recognise hazards and hazardous situations far sooner than a ‘normal’ driver. They’ll have a very large ‘mental filing cabinet’, full of observation links, to help them decide what might happen. And they’ll have greater driving skills to help them with the physical actions of Controlling the car through the hazard.

Anticipation is the culmination of observation skills, recognising hazards, determining what might happen and deciding what to do.

There is a very old Chinese saying, which goes . . .

Expect the unexpected

Expecting the unexpected is what anticipation is all about.

We anticipate that the car at the junction may pull out because we expect it to. If it doesn’t, all well and good. But if it does, we expected it and we’re ready for it. In the same way, we anticipate the child on the pavement to run into the road because we expect that it will happen, and we are ready for when it does happen.

You must strive to constantly look for these situations.

You won’t have to look far. If you continually practice these techniques, expecting the most unexpected of events, you will soon gain a valuable skill that will stay with you for life. Indeed, it may just one day save your life. Now, that’s worth thinking about.

As practice for your driving instructor training, why not
thoroughly read the pages on this site about advanced observation techniques and observation links, then teach them to your family? You could be giving them something that’s priceless.

If you want to read more about Police Advanced Driving methods,
you can do no better than study the Police Drivers Handbook – Roadcraft.

You need to be aware that Advanced Driving does not make
use of the MS-PSL routine. Instead the i-psga routine is used. This is
far more flexible than MS-PSL, but is totally unsuitable for learner drivers.

You should therefore use all of the skills of Advanced Driving to develop your observation and anticipation skills, but always ensure that you deal with hazards using MS-PSL routine, not i-psga. The SE will be looking for good use of MS-PSL . . . after all, that’s what you’ll be teaching!