The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Fleet Safety Tip of the Week

January 04, 2012

Here’s some advice from the Connecticut DMV on the art of driver scanning. You may want to pass this along to your drivers as a friendly reminder.

To be a good driver, you must know what is happening around your vehicle. You must look ahead, to the sides and behind your vehicle. Scanning helps you to see problems ahead -- vehicles and people that may be in the road by the time you reach them, signs warning you of problems ahead, and signs giving you directions.

To avoid last-minute braking or turning, look well down the road. By looking well ahead and being ready to stop or change lanes if needed, you can drive more safely, save on fuel, help keep traffic moving at a steady pace, and allow yourself time to better see around your vehicle and along the road. Looking well down the road will also help you to steer more straightly with less weaving. Safer drivers tend to look at least 12 seconds ahead of their vehicles. This is the distance that your vehicle will travel in 12 seconds.

In the city, 12 seconds is about one block. When you drive in city traffic, you should try to look at least one block ahead. On the highway, 12 seconds is about four city blocks (or a quarter of a mile).

Here is how to figure how far ahead you are looking:

1. Find a non-moving object (a sign, a telephone pole, etc.) near the road about as far ahead as you are looking.

2. Start counting “one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand,” etc. until you reach the object.

3. The number of seconds you have counted is the number of seconds ahead that you were looking.

You can be a safer driver by looking well ahead. By doing so, you can avoid the need to stop or turn quickly. The least amount of times you have to stop or turn quickly, the less likely you are to run into someone or have someone run into you.

By looking well ahead, you can also save on fuel. Every time you have to stop quickly, it takes time and fuel to get your vehicle back up to speed. Drivers who look ahead can slow down gradually or change lanes and avoid the unnecessary braking, which leads to lower miles-per-gallon.

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