Safe Driving is about a mixture of techniques

A good, safe drive is about a mixture of techniques, but high on the list must be the need to use the vehicle’s brakes in a smooth and progressive way.  The IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) says drivers need to develop observation and anticipation, so that they can begin braking at an early stage and a leave a decent margin for braking more heavily if the need arises.

Many drivers tend to brake too late and too hard. Or arguably less dangerous, but equally annoying, some drivers have the habit of "comfort braking " - touching the brakes to enable themselves feel better, even if they have no intention of slowing the car to any measurable degree. They do so in the belief that they are being careful drivers.

It is better by far to learn to read the road ahead. Not only do you get early warning of developing hazards, you can respond by adjusting your speed using only your throttle.

Have you ever seen a "cascade" of brake lights ahead of you? An advanced driver will judge the speed and distances involved and, having left a decent gap, be able to follow in safety by letting the speed "fall away" and so avoiding the need to brake.

Think too about your positioning on the road. Can you maximise your forward view by putting the vehicle in a slightly different position on the carriageway? This should not be an abrupt repositioning, but a smooth change in your line to enable you to see ahead that little bit better. Careful adjustment of road position improves the view ahead, particularly through corners.

Applying these techniques will also help save fuel.

9 May 2008 Staff

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