“As a company car driver we are provided with Driver Awareness Training from time to time, and if I’m honest, like most drivers I felt that my driving could not be improved and that it was, for the most part pointless. However, my view changed recently due to an incident that would have been a lot worse had I not had the Driver Awareness Training.
For anyone who has taken the training, you know that part of it involves defensive driving techniques. One of these techniques is to leave a gap approximately one car length in front of you if you are the last car in a traffic queue, with your foot brake on and in first gear with clutch depressed. This is so that if you see a possible collision from behind, then you can avoid it by pulling to the side because of the gap you have left.
Now I have to be honest, I thought this an unlikely scenario and had never used it until recently.
I was in a traffic queue on the A5 just outside Oswestry and it was pouring with rain. For some reason, I left the gap in front as per my training and was in gear as instructed. In my rear view mirror I saw a rather large articulated lorry approaching faster than I would have liked and it was clear that the driver was having difficulty in stopping as the cab was jerking back and forth as the driver pumped the brakes. What was also clear was that he was going to fail and that he was going to collide with my car.
Fortunately, there was a cycle track on my left and a soft grass verge which provided my escape route and I pulled into the space to the left of the car in front of me. No sooner had I done this when the space I had vacated was completed filled with the lorry, which I later found out weighed some 32 tons. The driver had managed to stop the lorry in time to miss the car that was in front of me so no-one was injured.
So my message is for all drivers. Don’t knock Driver Awareness Training. Had I not had it, I may have been writing this from a hospital bed, or worse, via a séance.”
Cardinus has been developing effective safe driving programmes for over 15 years, providing all types of fleet risk management products including online driver training, driver risk assessment, in-vehicle driver training and fleet risk management consultancy.