Predict and prevent road fatalities
As you traverse the Jamaican roads, can you predict what the other driver may do? Could you predict that driver in front may turn right, left or overtake or stop suddenly? Through defensive driver education programmes, the concept of predicting can be made easier, as our intention ought to be to drive to save precious lives, time and money.
When we predict we are interpreting information we have identified and are judging where possible points of conflict may occur. In fact, we predict the actions of others, as well as our own. Once we have identified a possible hazard in the driving scene, the next step is to predict how the hazard might affect you and the others, and your planned path of travel.
Predicting involves what is happening, what could happen, and if it does happen, how it may affect you. The more complex a traffic situation is, the more difficult it is to predict the outcome. Your ability to predict improves as you gain knowledge, experience and practice in making judgements.
The basis of your defensive driving knowledge should come from your study of the road code, driver training and driver education materials.
“Whenever you drive a motor vehicle, you continue to store up knowledge by gathering information,” says Lurkent Hanson, a senior driver instructor. “In fact, the longer you drive, the more you can relate new information to what you have already learned,” he adds.
In addition to storing up knowledge, experience also helps you to develop and improve your ability to predict accurately. Exposure to a greater variety of driving experience provides a solid base for making sound judgements. It must be noted that knowledge and experience work hand in hand to sharpen your predicting ability. Each time you drive in different types of weather like rain, fog or snow (if overseas), you gain experience in knowing what to expect and to cope with those conditions.
Both knowledge and experience help you in making judgements. Making a judgement involves the process of evaluating, of measuring and of making comparisons. You will be judging speed, distance, time, space, traction and visibility. “As a defensive driver, you must develop the ability to make sound judgement in order to make accurate predictions,” advised Hanson. Being a defensive driver, you anticipate possible problems and predict that others will make mistakes and that the worst can happen, this is what defensive driving is all about.”