VIDEO:  Ford's Driving Skills for Life – Look Ahead!

To avoid sudden braking or turning, drivers need to continually scan their surroundings. It’s easy to get in the bad habit of focusing too much on the vehicle in front of you, especially on a long trip. That’s a dangerous habit, though.

To have more reaction time, drivers need to keep their eyes moving so they can maintain an adequate space cushion on all sides of their vehicle.

Scanning ahead helps drivers identify and anticipate problems down the road. As a result, they’re better prepared to stop or change lanes if needed. What’s more, this approach helps keep traffic moving at a steady pace and saves money on fuel.

The Connecticut DMV advises drivers to periodically look at least 12 seconds – or about one city block – ahead of their vehicle while traveling in city traffic. In other words, take a look at where your vehicle will be in 12 seconds. Is there a lane closed? Is there construction? Is a big truck signaling to change lanes? Is a motorcyclist driving between lanes? These are all potential hazards that you’re approaching.

On the highway, 12 seconds translates to about a quarter of a mile.

Scanning ahead also gives drivers more reaction time for road signs that warn about hazards or provide directions.

Just remember, if you find yourself developing a fixed stare at the car ahead, snap out of it and keep those eyes moving. To watch a brief Ford-produced video on the subject, click on the photo or link above.

You may want to pass this advice along to your fleet drivers as a friendly reminder.