After you’ve grasped the fundamentals of how to control the car and use its controls to a reasonable level of proficiency while learning to drive, anticipation and planning are two of the most important next steps in not only learning to drive but also maintaining safe driving throughout your life.
“Anticipation and planning” allow you to:
- anticipate – forecast what might happen, such as a potential hazard ahead while driving plan – take necessary action before the scenario occurs
- “Anticipation and planning” is a skill that takes practise and isn’t expected to be achieved overnight. To properly foresee a potential hazard, you must be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Why Anticipation an Planning is Important
In order to pass the driving test, you must study and grasp anticipation and planning. However, one of the most significant strategies for avoiding road accidents is to employ anticipation and planning consistently and correctly when driving. It is heavily employed in advanced driving and defensive driving instruction courses since these strategies can assist you, your passengers, and other road users avoid accidents.
Anticipation and Planning when Driving
Pedestrian crossings – pedestrian crossings with traffic lights and pedestrians waiting as you approach are likely to change. Keep an eye out for waiting pedestrians way ahead of your position; as you draw closer, the ‘wait’ light on the crossing control board may glow, giving you another hint that things may change.
If there are parked automobiles on your side of the road, expect to have to give way to oncoming traffic. If there are parked cars on the opposite side of the road, expect to slow down or halt to allow an oncoming vehicle to manoeuvre into a gap between them.
Cyclists — cyclists, especially near junctions, can be unpredictable. Expect a bicycle to change direction suddenly and without warning to other vehicles, and give them as much distance as possible.
Emergency vehicles — you may hear the sirens of an emergency vehicle, but determining where they are coming from can be tricky. Always keep an eye out in front of you and in your mirrors, and be ready to pull over if necessary to clear a route.
Pedestrians – keep an eye out for pedestrians crossing the road near intersections and crossroads. They are unpredictable, so expect them to cross in front of you. If necessary, come to a halt and give them the right of way. Be especially cautious of children and the elderly. Young people are typically willing to take needless risks, whereas the elderly may just not notice you.
Maintaining eye contact with other drivers is important. For example, if a car waiting to turn in front of you is looking elsewhere other than at you, they may not be aware of your presence and may proceed with the turn regardless of your presence.
Vehicles moving away – be on the lookout for indicators that a vehicle is about to pull away from a parking spot and into your path. This could be a vehicle that is signalling, going forward slowly, and/or turning its wheels into the road.
When approaching a closed roundabout (one where traffic approaching or going around it from afar is impossible to observe), always expect and presume that you will need to give way to a vehicle on the right. Plan ahead of time to slow down and arrive at a pace that allows you to safely stop.
Motorcyclists – especially in slow traffic, motorcyclists have a tendency to pass you. Motorcyclists approaching from behind will be easier to see if you check your mirrors often. If it is safe to do so, shift over slightly to give the motorcycle rider more room, or stay in your current road position.