• Adrian Fedyk

**** O is for Observation ****



A skilful driver constantly watches and interprets what's happening around them.


Always drive at such a speed that you can stop safely within the distance you can see to be clear.


A good driver will constantly scan the road ahead and to the side and, by frequent use of the mirrors, be aware of the situation behind.


Look at other road users and assess their:

  • speed

  • behaviour

  • possible intentions.

If you're not observing effectively, you can't assess a traffic situation correctly.


At junctions there's no point in just looking if your view is obstructed, for example, by parked vehicles. You must also move carefully into a position where you can see without moving out into the path of oncoming traffic.

  • Look

  • Assess and

  • Decide before you

  • Act.

That's what effective observation is all about.


Approaching a bend - ask yourself:

  • Can I see the full picture?

  • How sharp is the bend?

  • Am I in the right position?

  • Is my speed right?

  • What might I meet?

  • Could I stop if I had to?


Approaching a junction - ask yourself:

  • Have I seen the whole junction?

  • Can other drivers see me?

  • Am I sure that they have seen me?

  • Have I got an escape route if they haven't?


It can be difficult to see some other road users, especially when you are emerging from a junction. Those who are particularly at risk are:

  • Pedestrians; they frequently cross at a junction and often find it difficult to judge the speed and course of approaching traffic, especially if they are 'plugged-into' their phone!

  • Cyclists; they can be difficult to see, because they can be easily obscured by trees and other objects, especially if they are riding close to the side of the road or on the pavement. They may be approaching at a higher speed than you expect.

  • Motorcyclists; like cyclists they are often less easy to see than other traffic, but they are likely to be moving much faster than cyclists.

Never rely solely on a quick glance - give yourself time to take in the whole scene.


If another vehicle or a pedestrian is not in your zone of vision, you're not usually in theirs.


Making eye contact with other road users helps you know whether they have seen you.



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