That was close!: How every driver can learn from near misses

LONDON: Drivers must reflect on the dangerous moments they have experienced at the wheel, to reduce the risks they face on future road journeys, says British road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist.

It said those "oops factor" moments we have all encountered offer a golden opportunity to reflect on our driving and to find ways of being safer in future.

GEM has produced the following four simple tips to reduce risk for drivers:

> Think about risk on journeys. This risk could come from a dangerous stretch of road, from not taking breaks, from bad weather, from unwise speed choices or from a lack of focus on the driving task.

> Expect the unexpected. This is especially true on familiar stretches of road. Keep your guard up, anticipate what could happen and stay ahead of the situation, rather than having to react urgently.

> Eliminate the word "suddenly" from your driving vocabulary. By identifying all the possible areas of risk, you can adapt and update your speed and position to keep yourself away from trouble.

> Learn from every journey. What went well? Where were the biggest risks? Take time later to think about why that moment happened. Did you fail to see another vehicle? Did you misjudge distance or speed? Did you gamble with a changing traffic light? Most important, what different action could you take next time to reduce the risk?

“We all make mistakes; but unfortunately a lot of us look to blame everyone or everything else – making it difficult or impossible to learn. But we are all more vulnerable on the road than we think we are,” said GEM road safety adviser James Luckhurst.

“By recognising the situations that may lead to greater danger, and learning from those ‘oops factor’ moments, we can actively reduce risk, both to ourselves and to those around us.”
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