If someone asked you where you should look when driving, your first answer might be “the road.” Yet, there is more to it than that.
If you told someone to look at the road, they would probably look straight ahead. While it is necessary to look in front of you when driving, it is not enough to only do that.
You need to change where you look when driving
Danger can come from any angle when driving, so you need to check all around you to avoid it. Here are some things to consider:
- Use all three mirrors: Scanning your mirrors increases the chance you see things behind you to one side, such as crucial to avoid hitting a cyclist creeping up on your inside or a car about to overtake.
- Make eye contact: When drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists meet at intersections, looking each other in the eyes helps you understand each others’ thoughts. The same applies to pedestrians about to cross the road.
- Scan the road in front: Scan left, center, and right continuously when driving. If you narrow your vision to what lies directly ahead, you may miss important information.
- Look upward: Stop signals are often high in the air, so you could miss them if you only look down. When waiting for the lights to change, you do not need to rev your engine and tear away the second they change. However, other cars will expect you to move as soon as the signal turns green. If you look down at your phone and do not notice, it is more likely someone rear-ends you.
By checking all parts of the road, you can reduce the chance another driver injures you. If they do, being aware of what was happening around you at the time can help you explain why the crash was their fault, not yours.