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Safer Driving Tips

Edited by Dennis LeWorthy and Bob Isaac, who are retired police officers and now driving instructors at the Metropolitan Police Driving School, Hendon, London.

The Volvo Owners Club has always supported Volvo's message of road safety, and we recently formed the 'Advanced Drivers' Register'. This is a register of all the UK members who have passed the Institute of Advanced Motorists test. (Visit their web site and find out more about them)

ONE OF THE statements frequently heard by police officers when they start to question drivers who have been involved in an accident is, "He came from absolutely nowhere. One second he wasn't there and the next he was. I didn't have a chance". Well unless the other vehicle was one of the shuttle craft from the USS Enterprise and had arrived by being materialised from nowhere, then the vehicle had to approach the scene of the accident from somewhere. The trick here is to see the approach of the other vehicle and take appropriate action before anything happens. A large number of accidents would be avoided if only drivers would do what is called, on police advanced driving courses, lifting your vision. When police drivers are being taught the skills of driving at high speed to enable them to answer calls for urgent assistance from members of the public the skill of observation is one that has to be quickly learnt.

How many times when driving along a motorway have you seen a line of cars brake lights come on one after the other. Each driver watching just the car in front and reacting only to what the driver of that car does and if one driver does not react quickly enough we end up with a rear end shunt that can quickly end up as a multiple shunt. By lifting vision and looking beyond the car in front, in fact looking ahead as far as you can see it is possible to spot a problem building up before you become just another statistic. This does not mean ignoring the car in front who should, of course, be two seconds driving time ahead of you (the two second rule) just that you should not concentrate on them all the time. Lifting vision or to give it another name, observation, can be a major factor in improving your driving. Constantly watching what is going on around you by checking in your mirrors, then looking at your immediate surroundings' then looking further ahead and I really do mean checking ahead as far as you can see can mean being given those extra vital seconds to avoid the incident that could happen if you don't take the appropriate action. Try it next time you go out. Look further ahead and try to spot the problem before it happens and because of you the incident might never happen at all. More on observation next time.

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