"Do I go or stop?"
The driver in the picture on the right has made a late decision to stop for the cyclist - this is possible because he wasn't paying attention or he might have been indecisive. If it was indecision, there is a simple remedy that you can start to apply next time you go out in the car...
The three choicesThere are three distinct choices that you can make in any situation ...
- Don't know
If it's obvious that the road is clear ... You go. If it's obvious that it's not clear... You stop.
Don't know ...What might not be so obvious is that it's also perfectly OK to 'don't know'. When you are learning to do something new, like driving, it is natural to want to get stuff right - but sometimes you will not know what to do for the best. Well the good news is that 'Don't know' is what expert drivers do all the time. It's what keeps them alive!
Don't know means don't go, but you must make sure you take action as soon as you are uncertain, not at the last moment!
You will know when you feel uncomfortable; this is the start of your 'don't know' situation - as soon as any uncomfortable feeling starts, take action - slow down. By slowing down you will give yourself more time to think and give other drivers more time to react. If find that you go too slow or stop, you can easily start again. If you go too fast you might get a ride home in an ambulance (if you're lucky).
As a general guide, as you approach any situation, ask yourself "Is it safe to carry on". If the answer is "Don't know", slow down, and keep slowing down as you approach. If you still don't know when you are about eight car lengths away from the situation (by which time you will be going very slow!) the decision is easy ... Don't go!
You will find much more information about decisions and routines in different situations in the DriverActive Online Course.
This information is not only essential for safety while you are learning to drive - it is absolutely essential for safe driving after you pass the driving test.
Stay safe...Next time you don't know ... remember, that being unsure is an automatic safety warning designed to keep you safe.
As you gain more experience you will find the decisions become easier to make ...
But 'don't know' will be keeping you safe when you are out with your instructor on driving lessons, when you pass the driving test and for the rest of your driving life!