Dealing with Hazards can be hazardous!
What is a hazard?
A hazard is something that might make you change your speed or direction. Either by slowing down, speeding up, or turning left or right.
Hazards come in several guises:
- Static Hazard such as a road feature (i.e. a roundabout or a corner)
- Moving Hazard such as other road users
- Environmental hazards (i.e. rain, puddles or low sun)
Give it a TUG – Take – Use -Give Information
Seeing is believing
Recognise the hazards early. The earlier you can spot them the sooner you can plan to deal with them. As a learner you may spot one hazard at a time but as you get more experienced, hopefully you can spot not just the first hazard but maybe ones beyond that. Spotting hazards early means more time to think.
Can you see over, through or under obstructions? Use your other senses to identify hazards. (Hearing a car coming or smelling diesel on the road.)
Don’t just scan the road ahead but check out what is behind you and towards the sides of your car / bike. This gives you information and helps you decide what you can do about any hazards ahead. For example a car too close behind; brake earlier and more gently or ensure your road position / indication is given in plenty of time for them to react safely.
Your road position and indication as well as speed can all give a clue to other road users of your intentions. Do this early if it will benefit other road users but beware not to mislead them i.e. they think you are turning into a road before you intend to.
Your best defence for driving safely is clues to what might happen next and giving yourself time and space to deal with them i.e. a car door opening or a lorry cutting a roundabout / junction.
A safer driver is always in the correct position for the hazards or situation, travelling at the correct speed for the conditions, is in the correct gear and is alert to changing road or traffic conditions.
As you learn to drive the important elements are to Identify the potential hazard and give yourself time to deal with it safely.