The problem with driving the same route every day
Home, work, Mum's. Mum's, home. Home, work, home. Home, work, Tesco, home.
That's what most of us are using our cars for on the daily. This ain't America; our journeys are mainly short and often on ickle winding roads or barely-moving city streets.
But what we have to remember is: however used to our regular routes we are, every road is different every day.
Why regular routes can cause problems
You switch off
The road is always changing
People are not to be trusted
You get complacent with the basics
There's a huge temptation to let yourself get distracted
"It came out of nowhere!" Hmmm, no. Usually, when things suddenly appear in front of us, it's because we'd switched off. It's just so darn easy to do that if you're on the same road every day.
If no one comes out of that driveway on 364 days of the year, when it does happen - are you ready?
We've all experienced that heart-thumping feeling of not knowing if you have time to stop. That happens because we weren't paying enough attention.
However mundane the journey, however many times you've driven it, you're still piloting a death machine. Crashes can happen to you - and if you let yourself switch off because you're just driving to work for the millionth time, they WILL happen to you.
I take a very rural route to work to avoid traffic and many times, I've rounded a bend to find half a tree in the road or a tractor bearing down on me like a charging elephant.
Even if you're not taking rural roads, there's still danger. Sudden traffic when you were cruising at 60. School letting out earlier than usual. Roadworks. Floods. Crashes.
Have a look at why that random speed limit change might have a hidden reason.
Humans are unpredictable beasts and the world is stuffed with them. They mess up and do things without thinking. Everyone on the road should be paying attention but at the very least make sure you are.
Check out the hazards you're likely to find on your average urban street. Humans. Humans everywhere.
Once you start to leave behind the new driver nerves, you won't feel like you're under test conditions every time you set foot in your car.
BUT - that doesn’t mean that you should forget the important basics like your safety routine.
There's a fine line between being confident behind the wheel and being complacent. By not buckling up or checking your mirrors before pulling away, you're putting yourself at risk of a very avoidable crash.
Read up on your moving off process.
Driving down that same road every day, knowing the route, checking your phone... NO!
When you're feeling like you know exactly where you’re going, the temptation to do other things in the car can start to creep in.
Checking your WhatsApp group chat or applying another coat of Kylie Jenner lip-gloss is an easily-done distraction that could leave you in a dangerous situation. Don't do it - leave it for when you’re not steering 4 wheels.
Feeling smug about using your hands-free for calls? Yeah...might be time to quit that.
What our Driver Behaviour Unit has to say
- Don’t get complacent with your speedometer. Most of the speeding we see from ingenie drivers is on roads they drive every day. A big problem is speeding on steep hills - if you don't pay attention to the speed you're going already, that speed will creep up quickly without you realising.
- Be prepared for roundabouts and traffic lights changing. Even if they're 'always' clear or 'always green', or if other drivers aren't indicating right now, it could all change in a second. We see these reasons a lot when we're looking at sudden braking among ingenie drivers.
- Dont rely on your auto-pilot mode. If you've ever arrived home from work and realised you have no memory of the drive, you know this phenomenon. Driving in familiar places can cause us to rely more on muscle memory than on our active driving skills - making us less likely to be hyper-vigilant on the road.