Throughout your driving, from the very first time you got into the driving seat of a car, right up until your last drive, you’ve based all of the decisions regarding which way to steer and how fast to go, on the various hazardous situations ahead of you.
For our purposes, a hazard can be very simply defined as anything which could potentially cause you to change speed or direction.
Hazards range from the very obvious . . . a sharp bend ahead, a child running into the road . . . to the much less obvious . . . the crown of a hill hiding the view of the road ahead.
One of the main principles of Advanced Driving is that you actively look for the hazards so that you can react to them, or you anticipate the danger and plan your driving accordingly.
If you don’t see or anticipate the danger, you cant do anything about it.
As I’ve said elsewhere, here is danger lurking every time you drive. Find it, because if you don’t, it will almost certainly find you.
There are three main types of hazards:
- physical features of the road, such as bends, junctions, camber, hedgerows obscuring view, roundabouts
- position or movement of other road users, such as children on cycles, pedestrians, other vehicles, emergency vehicles
- variable hazards, such as changes in road surface, loose chippings, weather conditions, reduced visibility, fog
Hazards can come as a single, isolated area of danger, or they can come in numbers. Your task as a driver to is recognise them and decide what to do about them.You have to maintain a flexible approach . . . for instance, you see a parked vehicle ahead with someone sat in the drivers seat and you suspect they may pull out . . . you start your MS-PSL routine to negotiate the hazard . . . then a child steps into the road not far ahead . . . you have to re assess the entire situation, starting again with a mirror check, and now plan your approach so as to deal with both of these hazards.
It sounds like a tall order. In reality, it’s what you do every time you get in your car.
Having identified a hazard or anticipated a potential hazard, it is essential that you put the MS-PSL routine into use. The idea is that you gather all the information you need (mirror checks) and get the car to the right speed in the right gear, at the correct position in the road, before entering the hazardous area.
- Do you ever enter a bend and then realise that you are going too fast?
- Do you ever have to change gear in a junction, because you were in the wrong gear to get through it?
- Do you ever ‘drift off’, thinking about what’s for tea, then find yourself braking sharply for a developing situation ahead?
Practice your skills in recognising hazards. Not just for your part 2 test. Can you imagine how much easier it is to instruct a learner when you can see so much more ahead?