it's in your hands

Detecting Hazards

Most crashes can be avoided by drivers who keep their crash avoidance space free.
If you tried the activity Judge crash avoidance space, you’ve had some practice noticing vehicles and pedestrians that could move into your crash avoidance space.

When you start practicing, you’ll probably be looking for hazards in the area just around your crash avoidance space - doing this will not give you much time to deal with a hazard that could turn into a crash.

You can teach yourself to see hazards earlier by training yourself to be a hazard detector.

Activity: Learn to be a hazard detector

  • While you are a passenger, say to yourself or the driver “The next hazard that could enter my crash avoidance space is…”
  • Notice how many seconds it takes for this hazard to reach you. It will probably be three or less.
  • Now detect hazards that could enter your crash avoidance space that are at least five seconds away, then 10 seconds away, then 15 seconds away. If you need practice calculating seconds, try the activity Judging distance.
  • Now detect hazards that are in the whole situation ahead (not just your crash avoidance space) up to 15 seconds away.

Good hazard detectors know that often there is too much around them for their brains to take in. That tells them to slow down.

Next activity: develop X-Ray vision