Drive With Care

It’s high priority as a motorist to look at what is around you.

When making our usual daily commute to work and back, we do get used to seeing pedestrians on the streets, motorcyclists on the road and even some cyclists appearing on the road now that we’re finally having some sunshine. However, as motorists, we do get used to the things that are usually around us and may unintentionally stop paying attention to our surroundings.
So, Richard Gladman, IAMRoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, provides a set of tips to refresh your knowledge on how to manage vulnerable road users.
  • Check to see the type of pedestrians around you; do you see an elderly person crossing the road? They may be walking at a slow pace, therefore to ensure they feel safe, reduce your speed. Also, children are another consideration to keep in mind, as they can be easily distracted and very unpredictable too. Therefore, do your bit and make sure to drive with care and be vigilant.
  • A cycling club will often cycle as a group rather than in a single file formation – as a simple overtake on a short group is easier and safer than doing 30 overtakes on separate cyclists. When overtaking, make sure you have given yourself and the group enough room as they could re-adjust their road positioning unexpectedly if there is a pothole or drain.
  • It is worth taking note that there are two types of mobility scooters: class 2 scooters are only allowed on pavements and have a top speed of 4mph and class 3 scooters should be registered and are driven on the road with a top speed of 8mph. Keep in mind, these individuals may have impaired vision and hearing, or restricted movement, so it’s a requirement that you give them plenty of space and time.
  • Have you thought of taking a more scenic route now that the days are getting lighter for longer? You may come across a horse and its rider walking along the side of the road. To avoid scaring the horse, turn the radio down and keep the engine revs low. Slow down and take your time when passing a horse and keep your car well away from them and proceed with caution.
  • Who has heard of SMIDSY (“Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”)? This is a regular acronym in a motorcyclist’s dictionary and often our strategy when looking for a culprit! The science behind this is called Saccadic Masking. The simple explanation is that people don’t see clearly when their head or eyes are moving, and they don’t pick up objects travelling toward them very well. So, make sure you have a good look, not just a quick glance. A good tip is that if you’re specifically looking for motorcyclists or cyclists, then you are more likely to see them.
To conclude, the importance of sharing the road space and understanding the needs of other road users cannot be stressed enough. If we are aware of vulnerable road users, we can make provisions to keep us all safe. Remember to treat others how you would like to be treated.
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