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Motorists need to be aware of all road hazards, including racing cyclists such as these

Cyclists, professional or not, require care to pass

By Tanvir Nandra, IAM

HAZARDS. For business car drivers and van drivers it’s more than missing your next appointment.

The sort of hazards I mean are everywhere. The child walking along the pavement with their school friends on the right, and a cyclist on your left. The bends of a country lane, the road works blocking your side of the road and the junctions hidden behind buildings.

One of the ways to stay safe while driving is making sure you are aware of everything that is going on around you and on the road ahead.

Use your mirrors to help you keep a 360 view of the road users and obstructions. For example, ask yourself, is the biker behind going to filter around you? There’s also a traffic island ahead.

Understanding both the hazard ahead and those around you will ensure you drive with more consideration.

Easing back on the accelerator will give you more time to react because you’ll have more space and will have prepared for the child running out into the road to catch their ball.

As well as using your mirrors, observe the road further ahead of you and beyond the car in front. This will help you to spot hazards earlier and give you enough time to take action. Is that cyclist ahead steady on their bike? Give them some extra space. You can overtake at a later point and when it’s safe to do so.

Don’t forget to observe road signs; they are there to warn you. While driving, try and look further ahead in the road for junction warning signs that give you early notice that someone may pull out. This way you’ll be prepared to take action at a much earlier stage.

When you’re looking ahead, remember that hazards are not just on the road. Keep an eye on the pavement too.

Pedestrians can also be a hazard which you need to prepare to deal with. The child who walks along the pavement might run out into the road or the elderly couple who could step out to cross the road. Remember, it’s hard to judge speed at night and this may affect the decisions a pedestrian may make. You can train yourself to anticipate these hazards and stop within the distance you can see to be clear.

Hazards can include bends and junctions, so expect that there may be a car or even a cyclist around the bend. This way you’ll have enough time to slow down and respond safely.

To keep business drivers safe this winter, the IAM has a new website, drivingadvice.org.uk, with traffic updates, weather forecasts and tips on how to drive safely in winter.

Tips cover rain, snow, ice, fog and wind – everything you can expect in a typically unpredictable British winter. Check it out before you travel.

Previous articles by Tanvir Nandra
Read Keeping your eyes fixed on the road!



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