SCANNING THE ROAD AHEAD
When driving, we gather 90 percent of the information about the road and our surroundings through our eyes. Scanning means looking at the entire scene for anything that might come into your path. As you scan the road, avoid a fixed stare. Keep your eyes moving, and learn to read the road. Look ahead, to the sides and behind you. Looking ahead will help you see things early and will allow you more time to react. Expert drivers try to focus their eyes 10 to 15 seconds ahead. In the city, that equals approximately one block. Avoid staring at the middle of the road,however. Scan from side to side, checking for signs, other vehicles or people that might be in the road by the time you reach them.Watch for clues in the road. Look for exhaust smoke, brake or back-up lights and turned wheels on vehicles. Clues like these tell you that a vehicle may pull into your path. Watch for pedestrians, bicyclists and other slow-moving vehicles that may be in the road ahead.When driving in rural areas, watch for hidden intersections and driveways,curves, hills and different road conditions. Watch for other vehicles, especially over sized trucks and slow-moving farm vehicles.Check from left to right before entering an intersection. Whenever you reach a place in the road where other vehicles, people or animals may cross your path, look to both sides to be sure that the way is clear. These include intersections, crosswalks, shopping centers, construction areas and playgrounds. At any intersection, look to the left first, since vehicles coming from the left will be closer to you. Then look to the right, and take one more quick look to the left before you drive through.Look behind as well. Use your rear-view mirror to check the trafficbehind you frequently, about every 10 seconds. This will alert you if someone is moving up too quickly or tailgating you. Check the traffic behind you when changing lanes, backing up, slowing down quickly or
driving down a long, steep hill. But don't take your eyes off the road for
more than an instant.