Habits Never Die
Habits don’t die, they merely change. And can lead to many driving decisions.
It’s no secret we do things without thinking. Sometimes it’s good things, but other times it’s not. We do many things by habit. Whether these habits are good, or not so good, many happen while we’re driving. One thing to realize is that these habits never die, they just change. Sometimes these changed habits can lead us into making many poor driving decisions.
It’s no secret that as a commercial driver you had to go through training and licensing to get where you are. You had to build solid habits to control your vehicle and keep your vehicle going where you want it to go. But as time went on, you may have developed a few poor habits. One of the habits that have to remain strong is how you effectively use your eyes. Looking in the wrong places can seriously affect the safe operation of the vehicle.
Many drivers may get a little complacent with their driving as the years continue. This is especially true for those who tend to drive for long periods of time. They often get into the habits of having a fixed stare – or target fixation as it’s often known. There are solutions to help these drivers get back the good habit of having proper eye use.
Those drivers who tend to look just a few vehicles ahead of them have less time to make good driving choices if the traffic pattern ahead of them changes lanes or stops suddenly. That can often lead to panic and poor choices. However, looking where you feel you’ll be in at least 15 seconds in the city (approximately two blocks) and 30 seconds on the freeway/highway (roughly one km) will often give you more time to see the trend of the traffic ahead, time to decide what the best way to deal with it and then time to actually do it. Again, you did know this information previously, but your habit may have changed over the years for whatever reason.
Drivers with target fixation tend to focus on the vehicle directly ahead of them, especially at night when tail lights are so obvious. They often get a surprise when traffic ahead of them brakes hard or quickly comes to a stop. Quite often these drivers tend to follow a little too closely as well, which adds to the problem. Looking well ahead will give you the ability to use your peripheral or fringe vision to judge if you’re gaining on the drivers ahead of you. This early detection means you’re able to make adjustments before trouble begins. Again, that’s a good habit to have.
We all know where we look is where we go, especially while driving a tractor-trailer, yet drivers tend to forget that over time. Staring at anything that doesn’t relate to driving safely means we may miss something more important. Keeping the habit of moving your eyes every few seconds at driving-related things can keep you up to date with the ever-changing traffic environment.
The fact remains that we drive with our eyes. Our hands and feet are tools for what our eyes see. Using your eyes effectively can give you more time to identify driving issues and then time to safely deal with them. That alone can give you peace of mind allow you to remain safe on the roads, in all traffic situations.
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