Improving your braking: reading the road
You've probably heard the phrase "reading the road" loads of times during your learning to drive journey, but what does that actually mean?
In a nutshell, it means being able to interpret and react to what's happening around you, so you never have to come to an abrupt stop. Think about the 4 S’s when your driving - anything that has the potential to make you Stop, Slow down, Swerve or Swear.
When you see one of these hazards developing, take your foot off the gas and get it over the brake pedal as early as possible. You'll have a safer journey and your ingenie driving score will stay in the green.
Scanning the road
If 1 is the bonnet and 10 is the end of the road as far as you can see, we'd say aim for 10! Obviously that doesn't mean completely shut your mind off to what's happening immediately in front of you - definitely not. But often the event that is causing you to slow down is happening a few cars ahead.
Road works, car crashes, floods, pedestrian crossings - the roads are constantly changing and so focusing on the road further forward allows you to adapt your driving quicker to avoid late braking.
You'll feel super smug when you've come to a nice, smooth stop because you saw a car way in front slowing down due to a diversion sign.
We're all guilty of being distracted by things that seem more interesting than what we're doing at that time. Like not finishing an essay because your mate sent you a hilarious video or only clearing out half of your room because the 5th Harry Potter film is on and well, it's Harry Potter.
BUT, behind the wheel there really is no excuse for distraction.
Don't be embarrassed about asking your mates to quieten down in the car if you're struggling to concentrate. It's your car which means your rules and let's face it - they'd much rather be quiet than get the bus.
ingenie's Driving Feedback Team
Each driver will have different things they find off-putting when driving, like music, a chatty passenger, a phone ringing, or a can of de-icer rolling around. The key is to remove any possible distractions before you start driving (obviously don't just kick your mate out) so your attention can be focused on the road. Your friend would hate to think they were the cause of you crashing and no text message is worth you losing your licence.
Another concerning distraction that has made its way onto the roads is Digital Rubbernecking. This is when a motorist slows down to take a photo or video of an incident they're driving past. Not only is it against the Highway Code to drive unnecesarilly slow, but it's also illegal to use your phone at the wheel - not to mention insensitive to those involved in the crash.
The curiousity in us all can sometimes get the better of us, but letting yourself get distracted to the point of potentially being banned from driving is madness. If you see a distressing incident at the road, do the right thing and drive pass safely.
Katey Joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of all things social and content. She passed her driving test in 2015 and her first car is a Toyota Yaris T3 named Tyrone.