Who are you looking at?

When you are driving how far ahead do you look? Do you always know what other road users are around you?

Observation is one of the most important key skills of being an advanced driver. Why? because if you do not see a potential problem how can you deal with it?

How often do you find yourself having to brake harshly because something has happened in front of you which you were not anticipating? 

By looking well ahead of us and knowing what other road users are behind and at the side of us we can reduce our risk and the risk we pose to others.

By looking well ahead you will be able to see potential risks early and be able to deal with them before they become a problem.  For example, driving along someone steps out onto the road in front of you and you have to brake sharply. You never saw them and had to react.

Alternatively, as you look into the distance you notice a group of pedestrians on the path walking towards to. You could carry on driving in your normal road position and at the legal speed limit. Chances are nothing will happen. But what if one of the pedestrians steps out into the road just as you are approaching? What are you going to do? How are you going to react? Slam on the brakes, swerve or hit the horn? What happens if you hit them? However, having already done the hard work by looking well ahead and scanning for danger, you now have options. You decide to slow down a little and move away from the kerb to create more time and space just in case someone steps out. As you get closer to the pedestrians you watch out for any of them getting closer to the kerb edge. If they do you can slow down more, maybe sound your horn or come to a stop. But because you have proactively managed the risk, you are more likely to have slowed under full control and in good time. By being proactive you have avoided the need to slam on your brakes, reducing the risk of hitting the pedestrian and/or being hit from behind, because the car which was following you too closely, can't stop in time. 

Practice developing your observational skill by starting to look further ahead than you do now. For example, if you are use to looking a couple of cars in front of you, try to glance up every now and then to the the end of the road and back. As you become more comfortable with this, start to look further ahead more often to give you an earlier view of any potential danger ahead. Try looking to the end of the road, scanning for junctions, pedestrians, other road users. As you practice you will start to notice more and more things. 

Imagine your eyes are the head lights of your vehicle. If you have been driving on dipped beam what you see is limited to a few cars ahead. Imagine what you will see if you turn your eyes onto main beam.