Forward planning starts with awareness.
1. Scan along the road, and look for movements by all road users; check the rear-view and door mirrors for signs of vehicles closing in.
2. Apply the MSPSL routine when negotiating obstructions or changing direction. Do this in good time. If you are overtaking, is there need, is it legal, is it safe, is it necessary, is it possible. Answer ‘yes’ to all these questions before you commence your overtake.
3. Changing lanes – you should pay particular attention to vehicles in your destination lane. Are they holding back for closing the gap?
4. Be sure to plan your route in good time. Look along the length of the road in front of you, taking into account right turning traffic, road signs/markings, prohibited areas such as bus lanes, and all road users in both directions; junctions; intersections, crossings and other hazards.
5. Show concern for other road users – pedestrians, Anticipate problems concerning disabled people and their vehicles. Plan to allow adequate clearance for other road users, and match this with the appropriate speed.
6. Be alert and react calmly to the movements of other road users. Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front; stay back from commercial vehicles, buses, etc. If you cannot see their mirrors, they cannot see you. If you feel threatened by large or close vehicles, carefully allow some distance to build up between you, especially those at the side of you, and watch out for unsafely loaded trucks, as things do fall off the backs of lorries.
7. Display a tolerant, understanding and calm accepting attitude to other road users. The roads are small and busy, with foreign visitors, and strangers, and the inexperienced – give them a little understanding, without being judgemental – we can all make mistakes.
8. Make allowances for traffic, weather and road conditions. Make use of wipers, demisters and lights. Allow more journey time in bad weather. In sunny weather, use your sun visor, and a good pair of driver’s sunglasses. If the sun is behind you, then it is in the eyes of the oncoming drivers.
9. Learn defensive driving, that is O.A.P.R. Observation, Awareness, Planning and Restraint.