All of a sudden! Suddenly! Or, Out of nowhere!

If you ever listen to someone talking about a road traffic crash that they were involved in, they will often use one of these phrases:

“All of a sudden the traffic ahead stopped, there was nothing I could do.”

“Suddenly the car pulled out of the junction, there was nothing I could have done.”

“The child ran out of nowhere; I couldn’t do a thing about it.”

Traffic doesn’t suddenly stop; nothing happens suddenly and where is nowhere! What drivers are saying is; “I wasn’t concentrating, I wasn’t looking, my speed was too fast, or my road positioning wasn’t good”

If you maintain full concentration, most crashes will be avoided but it is easy to say, “You should fully concentrate when driving”. Doing it is much harder.

So, how can you improve your levels of concentration?

Firstly, you need the correct attitude to driving. I have often heard people say “I use my driving time to catch up on phone calls, or as thinking time for my next project etc.” Driving is for most people the most dangerous thing you will do at work, so it’s deserves your full concentration.

Once you have the right attitude, you can maintain full concentration by avoiding other distractions, so switch the mobile off or put it on silent and out of sight. Take regular breaks on long journeys and if you find your concentration slipping, try the technique of actually saying out loud what you are seeing and what you will do about it. For example.

“I am approaching a left-hand bend and the warning sign informs me there is a junction on the left after the bend, I will slow down a little and position towards the centre line, to give me more time and space to take avoiding action if anyone pulls out of the junction.”

You may be laughing at this suggestion, saying ‘there’s no way I’m going to drive along, saying what I’m seeing’ but I can assure you, it’s a very good technique and a lot better than having a collision through lack of concentration.

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