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Safer Driving Tips Page 5

I have to start writing this with an apology to those of you who may have noticed its absence from the Winter edition of Driver. I am afraid it did not appear quite simply due to me not having the time to write it. I am sorry for that but at least here we are back again.

How many times when S A F E R you are driving along do you look in your mirror? I expect you don't actually know, as it's not something that you would normally time is it? But how often do you think that you should? Should you check before you commence any manoeuvre or just some that could possibly inconvenience the drivers of any following vehicles. Do you sometimes emulate the Italian racing driver in the old film the Gumball Rally where he removes the rear view mirror to improve vision ahead and states "What ees behind ees behind and does notta matte!" How often do you check over your shoulder as well as looking in your mirrors? When you are leaving a roundabout do you ever think of glancing over your right shoulder in case someone is trying to creep past on your nearside? Especially the ubiquitous despatch motorcyclist intent on getting to his destination quickly so that he can start another job and earn more pennies. Just before you turn right do you have a quick lifesaver look over your shoulder to ensure that it is really safe to do so? Or do you just turn right happy in the knowledge that you are protected by the signal being given by your indicators?

Mirrors are vitally important aids to safer driving. Used correctly they undoubtedly save lives one of which could be yours. Mirrors should be checked about four or five times a minute, I mean the scene in front of you is constantly changing so it is not unreasonable to expect that the scene behind you is changing just as much. Therefore a constant scanning of your mirrors is just as important as the constant scanning ahead of you is for safe motoring. Whilst you are scanning ahead remember to try to look further ahead than maybe you do now, the sooner you see the hazard the sooner you can react to it and prepare to deal with it.

If you think about it and say to yourself 'Maybe I could use my mirrors a bit more' then here is a way to help you to do so. Every time you see brake lights ahead of you say or think the words, Brake lights, MIRROR. Whenever a car in front signals, say or think Signals MIRROR. Whenever you pass a road sign again say or think the words, Road sign MIRROR. You can add on any other occasions that you might like to add for yourself and by doing this you will find that the frequency with which you use your mirrors will increase and eventually you will not need to use the phrases at all but you will find yourself looking in the mirror anyway. It is a very useful learning aid, I know because I use and teach it. So remember use your mirrors more, add to the information that they give you by having a look over your shoulder and then give a signal if one is needed.

Take information - Use information - Give information

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