Tag Archives: occupational driving

Defensive Driving in the Big City

Planning your drive for greater safety.

Yesterday I delivered a one day defensive driving course on behalf of a commercial company. The first time I’ve done this kind of work in quite adefensive driving course nottingham while. I’ve got to say I enjoyed it and my client, Richard, found it challenging and helpful. Let me tell you all about it.

I arrived at the company’s site at about 8.30am. Not too far away from where I live actually. I must update my sat nav maps soon because they were telling me the speed limit was 70 when it has been 50mph for some time now. Could lead to problems if a person is not looking out for signs.

The people at the company office were really nice. They showed me Richard’s insurance certificate and had a word about his driving in a jovial style. After a quick cigarette out in the yard we began our journey of discovery. The vehicle we were using was a Ford Ranger. A well beefy pick up truck. Much larger than my normal driving school car.

In the area surrounding the work place there were no driving problems at all. As is the case with many drivers, there will be fewer problems on familiar ground. We first encountered some of Richard’s driving issues when turning right at a major crossroads. Too quick on approach and a lack of all round observations. It became apparent that Richard tends to stare at one area rather than taking in the whole traffic scene. Planning a drive begins with seeing what’s there, If you don’t properly observe then everything else is shaky. Planning also allows for a more economical driving style.

Next came a few dual carriageways and a motorway drive. Smooth as silk with no problems at all. Richard was looking relaxed behind the wheel and we just rolled along with it. Overtaking was up to standard but we could have returned to the left earlier before leaving at the slip road of the motorway. Always a tough call that. Do you tuck in now or keep your speed up and overtake some more? Always return to the left in good time before the slip road and take the stress out of it.

Defensive driving for fun and safety.

Next up was city driving which was the source of all Richard’s woes. Tense behind the wheel, staring at the space ahead and zero planning all took their toll on the drive. Failure to see signs almost led to us driving down a 24 hour bus lane which has a camera on it. Would have been points on the license for that one. Not moving the eyes around meant not seeing people waiting at pedestrian crossings and trying to overtake buses that were about to pull out.

I offered a short commentary to the drive to illustrate how the eyes should be moving and how far ahead to look to get information on upcoming hazards. Richard really responded to this and his driving improved as he started to look around more. Earlier and smoother braking, more safety space around our vehicle and a relaxed posture all came from taking effective observations.

Another issue effecting commercial drivers is meeting deadlines set by the company. No matter how tight a deadline is we cannot let safety be compromised by the pressure we feel about a job. Risks taken in city driving don’t bring any real time benefits anyway and aren’t worth it.

Upon arriving back at base we discussed the drive as I filled in the assessment form. I gave Richard a few pointers on how to further improve his driving in the future. You’ve got to keep working on your driving if you want it to improve.

This was a fantastic experience. Working with a qualified driver made a nice change from working with learners and is something I would like to do again in the near future.

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