In-the-Know; Safe driving - hazards & emergencies
One of the most important things you can do to be a safer driver is to look well ahead of you when you're driving, so you can pick up potentially dangerous situations before it's too late. The earlier you spot a potential hazard, the more time you will have to take evasive action. Rather than looking only as far as the vehicle in front of you when driving, you should actually be scanning the road in front to a distance of at least 12 seconds ahead of where your vehicle is – that is, the place you will be after driving for 12 seconds.
As a rough guide, at 50km/h, 12 seconds is 166 metres or about two city blocks. At 100km/h, 12 seconds is 333 metres. This means at 100km/h you should look ahead as far as you can see.
Following the tips above will help you avoid many potentially dangerous crashes. However, despite all your best efforts, there may still be occasions when you find yourself on a direct collision course with another vehicle or other hazard. For this reason, it is wise to identify possible escape routes all the time while you're driving. That way, if you find yourself in danger of a crash, you'll be ready to take quick evasive action. Most escape routes will be to your left, so take note of what's on the left-hand side of the road as you drive. Ask yourself questions like:
- 'Is there a wide shoulder I could steer onto?'
- 'Can I steer off the road safely if I need to?'
If there are no safe escape routes, reduce your speed and increase your following distance so you can stop in plenty of time if a crash situation develops.