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Unit 6 Review and Adjust Driving

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How you can learn from your driving experience and become a safer driver. The 4 elements are -

  1. Watch your own driving and improve it
  2. Think about how you behave on the road, and change (if necessary)
  3. Watch how other road users behave
  4. Watch for things that could cause a risk and do something about them

6.1. Watch Your Own Driving and Improve It 

to do this you must -

6.1.1  Improve your driving when you notice your bad habits

Drivers start to drive badly when too much is happening at once for them to take in.

Symptoms that show your driving is getting worse include -

  • sudden braking or steering movements
  • not responding to environmental conditions
  • a clenched grip on the wheel
  • sitting stiffly
  • not responding to other road users
  • shallow breathing
  • staring straight ahead
  • sweating

Things you can do include-

  • more scanning of what’s happening around you
  • stop the distractions (asking passengers to be quiet, turning down radio/ sound system)
  • do nothing else but driving
  • take a rest break

6.1.2  After making a mistake, get your driving back to normal

To get your driving back to normal, you must recognise that you have made a mistake and how it changed your driving

6.1.3  Do not repeat your mistakes

To stop repeating a mistake -

  • Spot the mistake
  • Work out the difference between what happened and what should have happened
  • Know why it happened (lack of skill, not paying attention, not knowing how to do it, or not wanting to do it correctly)
  • Take action to avoid repeating the mistake

6.1.4  Don't compare yourself with others

Don’t judge yourself against other drivers - this can make you over confident. You may begin thinking you are a better driver than you are.

6.2   Think about how you behave on the road, and change it if necessary

to do this you must -

6.2.1  Avoid repeating unacceptable risks

An unacceptable risk is one that could have a result that you would be unhappy about.

6.2.2  Know when you are likely to break the road law and change your driving behaviour

6.2.3  Show by the way you drive that you know you are at least partly responsible for any driving incident (any driving incident that you would prefer not to happen) that happens to you

When drivers explain these events in a way that recognises they are at least partly responsible for any driving incident, they are taking a ‘my mistake’ view of driving. A ‘my mistake’ view can help you learn from your mistakes.

The way you describe a driving incident will show the way you think. Generally you will have either the ‘my mistake’ view or the ‘I had nothing to do with it’ view. Obviously, if you think you had nothing to do with it, you are unlikely to learn anything from it.

6.2.4  No matter how often you may have ‘got away with’ risks in the past, be still cautious about risks and risky driving

Driving can be dangerous, but crashes, and even near misses, are very rare events for most drivers. The result is that most drivers do not feel that driving is dangerous. They have become ‘hardened’ to the risks, because they have been in so few crashes.

You should be cautious about risks, no matter how often you have ‘got away with them’ in the past.

6.2.5  No matter how many safety features your car has, still drive cautiously

Safety features may include things like airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control and high-performance roadholding and handling features.

Some drivers believe that because their car is ‘safe’, they themselves don’t have to try so hard. Studies have shown that some drivers with anti-lock brakes (ABS) fitted to their cars drive faster in wet conditions, and follow closer to other cars, than they did before they had ABS. They end up at the same level of risk as they were before.

6.3  Watch How Other Road Users Behave

to do this you must -

6.3.1  Watch how other road users behave, and think about why they do behave this way

Don’t rate other drivers as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ — especially not ‘bad’, as this can make you too confident about your own driving.

Watch what other drivers do, and think about why they do it. A driver who makes a gap to let you into traffic is being courteous. If you add some of that courtesy to your own driving, you will gain something from it, and so will other drivers. If you see a driver being impatient, think about why they are impatient, and watch for it in your own driving. Take note of all the drivers who are doing the right thing (and you’ll see that most of them do, most of the time).

6.3.2  When you see another driver make a mistake, remember it so that you can avoid the same mistake in the future

Mistakes, no matter who makes them, can be learned from. The more you use mistakes, the more chances you will have to improve.

6.4   Watch Out for Things That Cause Risk and do Something About Them

to do this you must

6.4.1  Be aware that risk is higher when you drive at night - particularly on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night

6.4.2  Do not drive with alcohol, or any drug that can affect your driving, in your body

You must also check the label of any over the counter medications that you take before you drive.

6.4.3  When your friends are in the car with you, keep up your safe driving. Don't show off

6.4.4  Know when you are tired and do something about it

Symptoms of tiredness include -

  • Not keeping the car on a steady speed or course
  • Constantly adjusting the radio/tape/CD
  • Moving around in your seat
  • Dry mouth
  • Shivering
  • Constantly adjusting ventilation
  • Rubbing your face
  • Yawning often
  • Heavy eyelids
  • Sore eyes
  • Double vision

Things to do about tiredness -

  • Stop as soon as possible
  • sleep
  • Take a rest

6.4.5  Take action to avoid getting tired

To avoid getting tired -

  • stop and take a rest break at least every two hours or 200km
  • drink plenty of water
  • scan (looking around) your driving environment as much as possible
  • pay attention to the way you sit
  • eat light meals rather than heavy ones
  • keep the car cool inside
  • keep the fresh air coming in
  • don't drive if you didn't have enough sleep the night before

Things you can do before driving include:

  • plan to avoid driving during your normal sleeping hours
  • get enough sleep
  • improve your physical fitness
  • not drinking alcohol
  • cut down car noise inside the cabin
  • avoid driving after a long period of hard work - either physical or mental
  • avoid heavy meals
  • arrange regular eyesight checks