From thowing away your L plates to showing off to your mates
Is there really nothing else to learn?
Before you take your life in your hands,
perhaps you should find out exactly how safe you are
this Personal Assessment
What sort of driver are you? Name....................... Date …………….
Please select the answer closest to your normal attitude towards driving
a I hate large vehicles around me whilst I am driving
a I worry about my route when I’m on strange roads.
a I often imagine an accident happening whilst I’m driving
a If others wish to overtake I slow down immediately
a I worry in case my brakes or any part of my car might fail
a I usually end a long drive feeling exhausted
a If I hear a horn sound I get self conscious
a I get nervous when I am following lots of other vehicles
a I hate driving at night or in very bad weather
a I approach green traffic lights slowing down
This is not a competition of course, but giving honest answers
enables us to be more aware of ourselves as drivers - and people!
One of the problems with driving is the Isolation factor. You never see any other driver properly. You look at them and note the kind of car they drive and sometimes the way it is being driven. You may even make a judgement of their age, social grouping, or even what sort of job you think they may hold down. But you rarely see them as a person. You normally only see a blue Escort or Golf Gti and assume that the driver is sporty, rich, fast, docile, sluggish, or just a pratt, based on what you observe about the vehicle, and the way it is driven.
Personal characteristics matter. You have just answered some questions on anxiety and aggression. Not only are your answers likely to be different from everyone else in the room, even if your marks are exactly the same as the person next to you, the degrees of variation are still considerable.
You will have realised that there were no correct answers to the questions posed, only that they should be correct from your own point of view, if you are to understand yourself a little bit better. It is only by understanding yourself and how your moods may change when you are driving, that you are likely to begin to understand how other drivers’ minds work, and how other people’s behaviour can change as the result of internal or external pressures. All drivers are susceptible to changes in conditions of weather, traffic, work, relationships, or even their hormones. The more we study ourselves as drivers the more we see the need to make allowance for other road users’ feelings and errors.
Road traffic incidents are caused by human behaviour. Or to be more precise, by their misbehaviour. Drivers, pedestrians and cyclists who obey the rules, and who only meet others obeying the same rules will rarely come into conflict. But even if you never break the rules (of the Highway Code) yourself, it would be ridiculous to assume you are safe from others who will and do. The principles of ‘Defensive Driving’ are that we must assume all other drivers around us will be breaking the rules all the time. But our own attitude towards them is to keep a safe distance from them and their potential accidents all the time. Looking for our own potential vulnerability or involvement, and actively deciding how we can avoid becoming ensnared in other people’s incidents, are the main aims of our driving.
Each error that we make is really a silly or a stupid action. Two road users each committing a silly error together can lead to a confrontation and become a minor incident. If one of those road users commits a stupid error at the same time as the other is silly, then the results can be more harmful. Two stupid errors combine to result in death and serious injury. If we replace those words silly and stupid with minor and serious, we can put them into DSA perspective. Risk assessment, risk identification and risk avoidance is what our driving job is really all about.
Defensive driver training, in layman’s terms, simply means never making any silly error when there is any danger of anyone else making a silly or stupid error at the same time. And, more to the point, never risk making a stupid error.
Please select the answer closest
to my normal attitude towards driving
a I try to ignore what other
drivers do whilst I am driving
a I ignore other drivers who
want to cut in on me
a I would never use the horn
on my car
a I sometimes frighten myself
when I am driving
a If I am annoyed by anyone
I save my anger until later
a I never flash my lights as
it is potentially dangerous
a I choose my speed to suit
the mood I am in
a Certain types of drivers
and their cars annoy me
a Other drivers sometimes make
rude gestures at me
a I have lost control of my
car on occasions
This is not a competition
of course, but someone else’s honest answers enables us to be much
more aware of ourselves as drivers!
(Your Name)…… . is an Anxious driver; or Average; or Aggressive ?
Did your regular passenger
give you a majority of B answers? If not, why not?
How can you find out? How can you change your attitudes towards other road users to make you safer, and become an ‘Advanced - or better still - Defensive’ Driver?
There are two parallel paths
of training to be followed. Initially we need to think in terms of Vehicle
Control, which itself has three stages; and also
The Three Stages of Vehicle Control are:-
• Smoothness of the transmission chain, which is effected through:
Situation Control appears to be a little more difficult to pin down in stages. It is really dependent upon your abilities to look as far ahead as possible and take note of all that is happening, is likely to happen and that which might conceivably happen; and at the same time make contingency plans for each option. This can only be done by applying a consistent driving plan. If the plan is used consistently the driver can rely on quick reactions and excellent observational skills to maintain total control over any potential situation change. Skilful drivers often believe their reactions will always get them out of problems created by their lack of observation. Others hope they can rely on excellent observation to make up for weak reactions. Foolish drivers are those who rely on the safe actions of all other road users to keep them from danger. This is what Situation Control is all about - making sure that your own vehicle and its occupants remain perfectly safe regardless of what any other rod user may do.
This is why the DSA system
of driving test marking is so successful. Dangerous and serious errors
are automatic causes of failure at any stage of testing. Minor errors
are only acceptable, (to the DSA), for those drivers who are taking their
initial ? driving test. Advanced driving assessments cannot allow even
minor errors to be ignored. Uncorrected and repeated, minor errors are
the real cause of most road traffic accidents. Advanced and defensive
driver training courses are aimed at identifying and removing or reducing
all minor errors. Repeated minor errors eventually kill.
To everyone else it may be a statistic; to those involved it is often a matter of life or death.