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Astraist
Master Driver



Joined: Mar 27, 2010
Posts: 209

PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:19 am Reply with quote Back to top

My former posts in this board related to two aspects of driving:
a) Creating a safe enviornment before you drive: Adjusting the seat, wheel and mirrors for maximal safety and efficiency.
b) Basic emergency handling: What to do when things get out of hand.

Today, I intend to "fill" in the gap between the two and relate to how to deal with hazards, prevent emergencies or reach them with a "head start" -- all applicable in every standard drive. In relation to this I will talk about the following terms: Concentration, Vision, Observation, Anticipation, Planning, Visualization, Hazard-perception, scanning pattern.

This whole thing begins from the realization that driving is obsolutly NOT a simple chore. It's not something you can do "automatically". You need to drive with awareness: Not in a mental "autopilot". Once you will get accustomed to the guidelines below, you will find that it's nothing of a difficultly.

In order to drive up to conditions, we need:
- To pick up information from the road ahead "through" our eyes.
- To recieve that information in your head, which require concentration
- To process that information, which is observation
- To create a pattern, which is planning and visualization
- To execute the plan

I will begin with concentration: CONCENTRATION is our ability to be HERE and NOW. HERE means: On the road, not looking at the radio, passenger, back seat, newspaper, etc...NOW means bearing the road in mind and not neglecting it for the sake of deep thoughts, a fiery conversation or a disscussion over the phone. Without concentration we are not driving, we are riding in the car, we are being driven by it, we "fight" with the car...

Maintaining concentration
Maintaining concentration is done by various ways, which are related to the subject of observation like hazard-perception and planning, but for now our main countermeasure is simply avoiding distractions:
- Do not wander into deep thoughts
- Do not take your eyes off of the road to look behind you or besides you. Tuning the radio should be done without looking down, as does talking to a passenger. Looking in the mirror should not require a dramatic movement of the head, just the eyes.
- Do not go into fiery debates with your passengers.
- Do not talk on the phone. Where possible, avoid talking or don't pick the phone up, especially in traffic, unknown road or in the dark/other adverse conditions. If you must pick up, try finding a place to stop in order to make the call.
-If you must keep on driving, tell the person you talk to that you are driving and try to make the disscussion short. Decrease speed by at least 20%, Increase following distance by at least one second, Increase concentration by keeping a "mental red alert" in mind. Whenever extra concentration is requird (like intersections), use the magic words "just a sec.".


Looking up
Concentration is the ability to our mind to recieve the information, but the information itself must be picked up through the eyes. Concentration is our ability to be HERE and NOW. Looking up allows for observation which enables to be THERE and THEN -- Planning a few seconds in advance, knowing what is going to happen and what you are going to do about it.

This relates to two question: WHERE to look and HOW to look. The problem is there our minds are suitable for a walking or running pace, not for driving. In order to pick up information when driving and using that information, we need to "filter" out superflous or repititive information and pick up the important bits. When we read a book we focus to see the letters. When we drive, we do things a bit differently.

First, we must realize we humans have to sorts of vision: Focused (focal field) and peripheral vision. Our focal field is the small field of focus, which is little but can capture details. Our peripheral vision is the rest of our visual field. It is blurry and often subconcious, but is very sharp in detecting color, shape or movement. Our focal field captures details. Noticing detail enables to observe and make plans i.e. PLANNING. To optimize our planning, we need to be planning as far ahead as possible -- so we need to turn our focal field to the furthest visible point on the road.

Our peripheral vision is entrusted with "guarding" our immediate surroundings, and especially with TIMING -- when to brake, when to turn and how much. This takes practice, though.

So, this means two things: First, relax the eyes to a point of feeling the eyes "sinking" in their sockets, to provide the widest visual field possible. Second, to keep our field of focus to the horizon of the road. This has several advantages: It automaticaly makes us drive as straight as possible up to that point, making less steering corrections and less movement along the lane and road. It reduces "ground rush" making driving at motorway speeds easier. It enables to see anything that happens ahead in advance. If a car starts slowing down drastically in our lane, we can see it prematurely, slow down more gradually, look the mirrors, signal, move our with ease.

* An example of where to look.

Planning ahead
So, we pick up the information with our eyes. We recieve this information into our mind through concentration. We than use that information to plan ahead. PLANNING is done by VISUALIZING. When first adjusting yourself to this habit, get into the habit of mentally scetching the line we want the car to take through the road ahead. Soon, it will become subconcious.

The next stage is to always keep our SPEED and POSITION fit to conditions. Several points to punder on:
* The further ahead you can see with your focal field, the faster you can go. This also relates to driving conditions like darkness, rain, snow and fog that limit vision.
* The wider is the road and your visual field -- the faster you can go. This also relates to whether there are hard-paved shoulders and how wide they are, how many lanes there are and how wide they are.
* The darker the tarmac is looking -- the faster you can go. Look for dark, rugged tarmac with no traces of moist or dust and with no cracks.
* The lighter the traffic, the faster you can go.
* Mind the enviornment: Intersections, tight city streets and schools require slowing down. Rural roads and winding mountain roads also carry hazards of animals, agriculturcal vehicles and questinable road surfaces.

"Reading" the road surface
Besides looking for cars ahead, and for how wide and "deep" your visual field on a given road is, we must also look unto the surface of the road itself. Our goal is to look for the higher quality tarmac and drive over it. Other road surfaces should be avoided where possible -- or driven over with a reduced speed and with more ease in operating the car.

Good tarmac is dark, clear of dust, grease and water. Bad tarmac is bright, bumpy, "bright", cracked, full of "black snakes" of tar and covered in dirt. Similar grip levels are offered by road made of concrete, hard earth or tiles. On those types of road, drive a bit slower.

Slow down more on wet road. Keep in mind three laws:
(1) The more dry and hot the surface is, the more slippery it becomes when it is first soaked in water: When a small shower of water drops after about a dry week, the road is twice as slippery due to grease and dust on the road. On long drives, the grip level can change en route.
(2) The more traffic is driving on the road and the slower, the more slippery it becomes when wet. Therefore, the main danger is on urban districts, especially intersections, roundabouts and bus stops.
(3) The more slippery the road is, the more slippery it becomes when wet: The same low-quality tarmac or concerete, and likewise anything slippery like sand, ice, grease -- they all become more slippery when wet.

So, when it rains after a dry week, look out, espeically for intersections and bus stops. Search for damp surfaces that are either glaring or appears murcy. Look for traces of grease, mud and leaves.

Besides merely adjusting your speed to the changes of the road conditions, reading the road surface can help dealing with more difficult situations: A pile of mould on the road, a deep puddle of water, a pool of mud, patch of ice or sheen of oil, a potehole or crack, and shards of glass -- every one of these hazards can put you sideways and off of the road. You should look for any evidence of gravel, water and mud, or for the shiny glare of oil or ice AT THE DISTANCE. Upon noticing the glare of, say, a sheen of oil, slow down as best as possible (including performing an emergency stop) and try to drive around it or at least drive over it at a straight line (with straight steering).

The problem with reading the road surface is that in adverse conditions (like in the dark) it's somewhat difficult: You keep your eyes up to the distance. In the distance you can see details like car tail lights and pedestrians, but not nessecarily see a patch of ice, so you need to move the eyes constantly between two points: One further ahead and one a bit closer to you.

* An interview about dealing with changing road conditions in light of a collision caused due to sliding on a stain of diesel on the road. Images of various road conditions included.

Hazard Perception
By now, we had talked about the following:
a) Stay concentrated
b) Keep your visual field open and the focus of your eyes -- the furthest visible point on the road.
c) Imagine the line you want the car to take to that point and let your peripheral vision cover the area close to you. Adjust the speed to the conditions.
d) Look not only for changes in the movment of traffic ahead, but also for changes on the road surface in the distance. Adjust your speed and, in case of a seriously hazardous surface ahead, try slowing down and driving around it. If you cannot go around it -- go over it as slowely as possible and as straight as possible.

The next stage is to percieve HAZARDS. A hazard is anything that makes you either change your speed and/or your position on the road: Any change of the traffic ahead, any intersection or roundabout, any nessecary lane change, any turn -- all are HAZARDS.

We deal with hazard with the following "system": PSGPA
--------- Perception ----------
Speed Gear Position Attitude

We begin by percieving the hazard "Okay, there's a HAZARD." We recieve information about it, and pass information to it or to other road users, with our lights, signals, horn -- all as required. We than adjust our speed, match the right gear (not required in an automatic), adjust our position, and than maintain acceleration\deceleration\constant speed (attitude).

The point is to reduce to overlap between the stages: We don't brake, downshift and veer simultanously. We slow down, change gear and move over. There should be a slight overlap of the stages: Between the braking and downshifting and maybe between the braking and the veering -- but only very slightly.

* The System.

Gathering it up
We maintain concentration by avoiding distractions. We look up to the distance to plan in advance as early as possible. We imagine the route we want to take and we adjust our speed to match the conditions as we see them. We look for hazards on the road surface itself as well. We detect everything that makes us "change" our pace of driving as as a hazard and deal with it in a calculated manner. If you get all of this done in time -- you are driving too fast. This might slow you down at first, but once it becomes a habit you will drive better and faster.
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Misha
Site Owner



Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 704
Location: McLean, VA, USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:12 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Wow! This is a whole driving encyclopedia! I did not read it through carefully yet, but at the first glance no disagreement here. I really appreciate you posting your so well thought out thoughts. Once I find some undisturbed time I certainly will be back to this post to read it with a level of attention it deserves. Smile

Oh, and I am promoting this post to the homepage, it really deserves this Smile
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myownworld
Site Admin
Site Admin



Joined: Jan 06, 2010
Posts: 485

PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:01 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Excellent points, as always Astraist! I agree, caution is the best form of prevention. I hope your insights help many of us stay safe, and keep others safe too! Smile
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mablukablu
New member



Joined: May 10, 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 3:32 am Reply with quote Back to top

Astraist wrote:
My former posts in this board related to two aspects of driving:
a) Creating a safe enviornment before you drive: Adjusting the seat, wheel and mirrors for maximal safety and efficiency.
b) Basic emergency handling: What to do when things get out of hand.

Today, I intend to "fill" in the gap between the two and relate to how to deal with hazards, prevent emergencies or reach them with a "head start" -- all applicable in every standard drive. In relation to this I will talk about the following terms: Concentration, Vision, Observation, Anticipation, Planning, Visualization, Hazard-perception, scanning pattern.

This whole thing begins from the realization that driving is obsolutly NOT a simple chore. It's not something you can do "automatically". You need to drive with awareness: Not in a mental "autopilot". Once you will get accustomed to the guidelines below, you will find that it's nothing of a difficultly.

In order to drive up to conditions, we need:
- To pick up information from the road ahead "through" our eyes.
- To recieve that information in your head, which require concentration
- To process that information, which is observation
- To create a pattern, which is planning and visualization
- To execute the plan

I will begin with concentration: CONCENTRATION is our ability to be HERE and NOW. HERE means: On the road, not looking at the radio, passenger, back seat, newspaper, etc...NOW means bearing the road in mind and not neglecting it for the sake of deep thoughts, a fiery conversation or a disscussion over the phone. Without concentration we are not driving, we are riding in the car, we are being driven by it, we "fight" with the car...

Maintaining concentration
Maintaining concentration is done by various ways, which are related to the subject of observation like hazard-perception and planning, but for now our main countermeasure is simply avoiding distractions:
- Do not wander into deep thoughts
- Do not take your eyes off of the road to look behind you or besides you. Tuning the radio should be done without looking down, as does talking to a passenger. Looking in the mirror should not require a dramatic movement of the head, just the eyes.
- Do not go into fiery debates with your passengers.
- Do not talk on the phone. Where possible, avoid talking or don't pick the phone up, especially in traffic, unknown road or in the dark/other adverse conditions. If you must pick up, try finding a place to stop in order to make the call.
-If you must keep on driving, tell the person you talk to that you are driving and try to make the disscussion short. Decrease speed by at least 20%, Increase following distance by at least one second, Increase concentration by keeping a "mental red alert" in mind. Whenever extra concentration is requird (like intersections), use the magic words "just a sec.".


Looking up
Concentration is the ability to our mind to recieve the information, but the information itself must be picked up through the eyes. Concentration is our ability to be HERE and NOW. Looking up allows for observation which enables to be THERE and THEN -- Planning a few seconds in advance, knowing what is going to happen and what you are going to do about it.

This relates to two question: WHERE to look and HOW to look. The problem is there our minds are suitable for a walking or running pace, not for driving. In order to pick up information when driving and using that information, we need to "filter" out superflous or repititive information and pick up the important bits. When we read a book we focus to see the letters. When we drive, we do things a bit differently.

First, we must realize we humans have to sorts of vision: Focused (focal field) and peripheral vision. Our focal field is the small field of focus, which is little but can capture details. Our peripheral vision is the rest of our visual field. It is blurry and often subconcious, but is very sharp in detecting color, shape or movement. Our focal field captures details. Noticing detail enables to observe and make plans i.e. PLANNING. To optimize our planning, we need to be planning as far ahead as possible -- so we need to turn our focal field to the furthest visible point on the road.

Our peripheral vision is entrusted with "guarding" our immediate surroundings, and especially with TIMING -- when to brake, when to turn and how much. This takes practice, though.

So, this means two things: First, relax the eyes to a point of feeling the eyes "sinking" in their sockets, to provide the widest visual field possible. Second, to keep our field of focus to the horizon of the road. This has several advantages: It automaticaly makes us drive as straight as possible up to that point, making less steering corrections and less movement along the lane and road. It reduces "ground rush" making driving at motorway speeds easier. It enables to see anything that happens ahead in advance. If a car starts slowing down drastically in our lane, we can see it prematurely, slow down more gradually, look the mirrors, signal, move our with ease.

* An example of where to look.

Planning ahead
So, we pick up the information with our eyes. We recieve this information into our mind through concentration. We than use that information to plan ahead. PLANNING is done by VISUALIZING. When first adjusting yourself to this habit, get into the habit of mentally scetching the line we want the car to take through the road ahead. Soon, it will become subconcious.

The next stage is to always keep our SPEED and POSITION fit to conditions. Several points to punder on:
* The further ahead you can see with your focal field, the faster you can go. This also relates to driving conditions like darkness, rain, snow and fog that limit vision.
* The wider is the road and your visual field -- the faster you can go. This also relates to whether there are hard-paved shoulders and how wide they are, how many lanes there are and how wide they are.
* The darker the tarmac is looking -- the faster you can go. Look for dark, rugged tarmac with no traces of moist or dust and with no cracks.
* The lighter the traffic, the faster you can go.
* Mind the enviornment: Intersections, tight city streets and schools require slowing down. Rural roads and winding mountain roads also carry hazards of animals, agriculturcal vehicles and questinable road surfaces.

"Reading" the road surface
Besides looking for cars ahead, and for how wide and "deep" your visual field on a given road is, we must also look unto the surface of the road itself. Our goal is to look for the higher quality tarmac and drive over it. Other road surfaces should be avoided where possible -- or driven over with a reduced speed and with more ease in operating the car.

Good tarmac is dark, clear of dust, grease and water. Bad tarmac is bright, bumpy, "bright", cracked, full of "black snakes" of tar and covered in dirt. Similar grip levels are offered by road made of concrete, hard earth or tiles. On those types of road, drive a bit slower.

Slow down more on wet road. Keep in mind three laws:
(1) The more dry and hot the surface is, the more slippery it becomes when it is first soaked in water: When a small shower of water drops after about a dry week, the road is twice as slippery due to grease and dust on the road. On long drives, the grip level can change en route.
(2) The more traffic is driving on the road and the slower, the more slippery it becomes when wet. Therefore, the main danger is on urban districts, especially intersections, roundabouts and bus stops.
(3) The more slippery the road is, the more slippery it becomes when wet: The same low-quality tarmac or concerete, and likewise anything slippery like sand, ice, grease -- they all become more slippery when wet.

So, when it rains after a dry week, look out, espeically for intersections and bus stops. Search for damp surfaces that are either glaring or appears murcy. Look for traces of grease, mud and leaves.

Besides merely adjusting your speed to the changes of the road conditions, reading the road surface can help dealing with more difficult situations: A pile of mould on the road, a deep puddle of water, a pool of mud, patch of ice or sheen of oil, a potehole or crack, and shards of glass -- every one of these hazards can put you sideways and off of the road. You should look for any evidence of gravel, water and mud, or for the shiny glare of oil or ice AT THE DISTANCE. Upon noticing the glare of, say, a sheen of oil, slow down as best as possible (including performing an emergency stop) and try to drive around it or at least drive over it at a straight line (with straight steering).

The problem with reading the road surface is that in adverse conditions (like in the dark) it's somewhat difficult: You keep your eyes up to the distance. In the distance you can see details like car tail lights and pedestrians, but not nessecarily see a patch of ice, so you need to move the eyes constantly between two points: One further ahead and one a bit closer to you.

* An interview about dealing with changing road conditions in light of a collision caused due to sliding on a stain of diesel on the road. Images of various road conditions included.

Hazard Perception
By now, we had talked about the following:
a) Stay concentrated
b) Keep your visual field open and the focus of your eyes -- the furthest visible point on the road.
c) Imagine the line you want the car to take to that point and let your peripheral vision cover the area close to you. Adjust the speed to the conditions.
d) Look not only for changes in the movment of traffic ahead, but also for changes on the road surface in the distance. Adjust your speed and, in case of a seriously hazardous surface ahead, try slowing down and driving around it. If you cannot go around it -- go over it as slowely as possible and as straight as possible.

The next stage is to percieve HAZARDS. A hazard is anything that makes you either change your speed and/or your position on the road: Any change of the traffic ahead, any intersection or roundabout, any nessecary lane change, any turn -- all are HAZARDS.

We deal with hazard with the following "system": PSGPA
--------- Perception ----------
Speed Gear Position Attitude

We begin by percieving the hazard "Okay, there's a HAZARD." We recieve information about it, and pass information to it or to other road users, with our lights, signals, horn -- all as required. We than adjust our speed, match the right gear (not required in an automatic), adjust our position, and than maintain acceleration\deceleration\constant speed (attitude).

The point is to reduce to overlap between the stages: We don't brake, downshift and veer simultanously. We slow down, change gear and move over. There should be a slight overlap of the stages: Between the braking and downshifting and maybe between the braking and the veering -- but only very slightly.

* The System.

Gathering it up
We maintain concentration by avoiding distractions. We look up to the distance to plan in advance as early as possible. We imagine the route we want to take and we adjust our speed to match the conditions as we see them. We look for hazards on the road surface itself as well. We detect everything that makes us "change" our pace of driving as as a hazard and deal with it in a calculated manner. If you get all of this done in time -- you are driving too fast. This might slow you down at first, but once it becomes a habit you will drive better and faster.


The tipping about safety driving is worthy and valuable for newbies.After studying this,It is needless for me to point anything more about the safety driving.Hoping this guidelines of safety driving will help and followed by most of the people.

Thank you!
*link snipped*
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kooper
New member



Joined: Feb 24, 2012
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:14 am Reply with quote Back to top

Indeed, Safe driving is not as difficult as it seems. Simple approaches to common sense techniques can become habits. cell phone spyware

Thanks for the convincing arguments.


Last edited by kooper on Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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myownworld
Site Admin
Site Admin



Joined: Jan 06, 2010
Posts: 485

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:48 am Reply with quote Back to top

Welcome to Fun And Safe Driving Kooper. Thank you for joining the forums.
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Anturako
New member



Joined: Mar 01, 2012
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:09 am Reply with quote Back to top

The thread is rather interesting and informative. Just what I am interested. Thanks for sharing it!
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myownworld
Site Admin
Site Admin



Joined: Jan 06, 2010
Posts: 485

PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:17 am Reply with quote Back to top

Welcome to Fun And Safe Driving Anturako. Thank you for joining the forums Smile
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FRE
Active member
Active member



Joined: Oct 05, 2008
Posts: 79
Location: Albuquerque NM

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 3:24 am Reply with quote Back to top

Many accidents occur because drivers treat driving as a casual activity that requires little attention, like loading the washing machine. If people were more responsible and took driving seriously, there would be fewer accidents.
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