What is Anticipation?
Anticipation is the amazing and possibly unique human ability to THINK ahead: to imagine possible scenarios in the future – like fast forwarding a film frame by frame.
To anticipate is to conceptualise; to predict; visualise.
Anticipating in a driving context, is basically spotting and expecting possible dangers or hazards before they occur. This then enables the driver to be prepared and stay safe.
Road signs and markings
Of course, the ability to anticipate potential hazards is enhanced by taking note of road signs and road markings early.
This is further facilitated by SCANNING and PLANNING. In other words, an alert driver is not only looking directly ahead but scans ahead in the following areas: far distance; middle distance; near distance; speedometer; rear view mirror.
C O A S T
The acronym COAST stands for Concentrate, Observe, Anticipate, Speed and Time.
COAST helps us understand, that if Concentration is lacking then this will impact our ability to Observe everything around. This will further impact our ability to Anticipate and of course if we don’t react – we are going to fast and run out of time!
Open your eyes!
Developing Observational skills therefore, is very important, as you can’t anticipate a hazard you haven’t seen – unless of course you have been pre-warned by a road-sign or road-marking!
How can an instructor help the pupil in this regard? Questions such as: “What can you see?”, “What’s the next hazard?”
Use your imagination!
The question: “What if?” is also a good one. “What if that car ahead pulls out?”
Commentary driving ( talking out loud what you can see and are doing) is also a helpful tool and helps concentration. It can also be done even when sitting in the passenger seat!!
Of course, it is important not only to see hazards ahead ( SCAN) but we must also PLAN and make a DECISION of how we are going to react. If we just ‘wing it’ and hope for the best then we are likely to fail at some point – have an accident.
So a good question to ask yourself when you see a hazard ahead is : “What are you planning?” “What are you going to do?”
“If we fail to plan we plan to fail!”
The first step in a good plan is to prioritise. Imagine for example if you are given five college assignments due in in the next two weeks. What’s the best approach? The sensible solution is to sort, prioritise and order the tasks
Its obvious then, that if we don’t plan we may run out of time!
How do you make a good decision? Firstly, you must have all the relevant information to hand. So for example, when we emerge to turn left, we must look at least twice to the right and once to the left.
Secondly, we need to give ourselves time to make a good decision? If we not sure we should go- then don’t! Don’t rush a decision!
If there are multiple hazards ahead how do you decide which to react and plan for? Generally, this is the one closest at the highest level.
For Example: Ahead you see a pedestrian on the pavement (green hazard), a car coming towards you (green hazard), a cyclist at 6 car lengths away (amber hazard) and a junction on the left with a car waiting to emerge at 12 car lengths (amber hazard).
The cyclist would be the priority but we would also be aware of the car at the junction.
For most hazard situations the following simple plan is all we need:
Hazard Plan M,S,G
Mirrors – Slow or signal – Gear
We’ve dealt with this situation in detail in Meeting other vehicles . As we don’t have right of way (we’re the AA car), then we must be prepared to stop and we should be going for a low risk solution.
A low risk solution would be to time it so that when we arrive the red car has passed the blue car. This is the preferred solution.
A high risk solution would be to just go through the gap regardless!
The lowest risk solution would be to holdback.
So using MSG, maybe we check mirrors, off the gas to slow , signal by covering the brake without braking and maybe change down a gear.
In this situation who has right of way? No one really, but say the red car was much further back, you might use MSG in the following way:
Check mirrors, move to the centre to signal intention to go through gap, maybe even use an indicator to further signal and change down gear if further acceleration is required.
Busy Town Driving
As you approach from the south what can you see? What hazards can you spot?
What speed and gear are you going to arrive at?
Is it safe to go?
What if a car comes the other way, which gap are you going to head for?
Look out for buses and bikes!
If you decide to get into the gap what issues are there if you look parked. What could happen and how might you prevent that?
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