Safety Tip: Peripheral Awareness
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Drivers need to be constantly aware of what’s to the left and right of their vehicle. It’s not enough to scan what’s straight ahead. Here are some tips from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to pass along to fleet drivers as a friendly reminder:
- Any time you come to a place where people may cross or enter your path or a line of traffic meets another, you should look to the left and right sides of your vehicle to make sure no one is coming. Always look to each side of your vehicle at intersections, crosswalks, and railroad crossings.
- Look both ways even if other traffic has a red traffic signal light or a stop sign.
- Look to the left first, since vehicles coming from the left are closer to you than vehicles coming from the right.
- Look to the right.
- Take one more look to the left in case there is a pedestrian, bicyclist, or vehicle you did not see the first time.
- Do not rely on traffic signal lights. Some drivers do not obey traffic signal lights. Before you enter an intersection, look left, right, and ahead for approaching traffic.
To maintain a space cushion on each side of your vehicle:
- Do not stay in another driver’s blind spot. The other driver may not see your vehicle and could change lanes and hit you.
- Avoid driving directly alongside other vehicles on multilane streets with or without traffic in the opposite direction. Another driver might crowd your lane or change lanes without looking and crash into you. Drive either ahead of or behind the other vehicle.
- If possible and when safe, make room for vehicles entering freeways even though you have the right-of-way.
- At freeway exits, do not drive alongside other vehicles. A driver may decide to exit suddenly or swerve back onto the freeway.
- Keep a space between your vehicle and parked vehicles. Someone may step out from between them, a vehicle door may open, or a vehicle may pull out suddenly.
- Be careful when driving near motorcyclists or bicyclists. Always leave plenty of room between your vehicle and any motorcyclists or bicyclists.