Awareness Planning and Anticipation

Awareness, Planning and Anticipation 


To anticipate, is to take action when you expect something will or might happen, or rather when a road hazard will cause you to slow down, change direction or stop. The way you anticipate what might happen is to make early use of all the information available to you. To do this effectively you need to be constantly aware of what is happening around you. You should constantly be scanning the road ahead and checking your mirrors. Take in as much information as you can. Be aware of what is happening:

  1. ahead

  2. behind

  3. to the side

Keep your eyes moving. Pay attention to the middle and far distance, not just what is happening immediately ahead of you. Try and see the bigger picture, don’t allow your eyes to be drawn to just one area. Looking further ahead will enable you to see things earlier and give you more time to deal with any hazard that might be developing.

Always expect the unexpected – not all hazards can be anticipated

The laws of physics make it impossible for a car to stop dead. Similarly it is impossible for you to instantly react and apply the brakes. (See braking/thinking distances in the Highway Code). This is why you need to anticipate what might happen next and plan a course of action rather than wait until it actually happens. Although the examiner is not requiring you to do this as well as an experienced driver he or she will expect you to anticipate and act upon the more common hazards that occur.

What the examiner is looking for The examiner is checking that you

  1. Take every opportunity to look, see and act on what’s happening well ahead and around you

  2. Particularly recognise the potential hazards that vulnerable road users can present and act accordingly

  3. Use the MSM routine on approach to any potential hazards

  4. Act upon any potential hazards by adjusting speed or position or both

  5. Slow down and stop where it becomes necessary to avoid dangers.

Driving faults recorded 26 Awareness and planning:

  1. Not anticipating that pedestrians are about to cross the road at any time.

  2. Not giving way to pedestrians at junctions or pedestrian crossings.

  3. Not anticipating that cyclists may be passing on the left or right.

  4. Not anticipating that cyclists are about to make a change of direction.

  5. Not anticipating or showing awareness of direction signals given by other drivers.

  6. Not anticipating or showing awareness of vehicles displaying hazard flashers.

  7. Not anticipating or showing awareness of vehicles reversing lights.

  8. Not anticipating or showing awareness of brake lights on other vehicles.

  9. Not anticipating the actions of other drivers changing speed or direction.

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