As I write there is talk of some easing of the lockdown measures and now might be an good opportunity to consider what standards of driving we may face once travel restrictions are lifted.
Getting back behind the wheel with heavier traffic will require a bit more caution not least because the majority of drivers will be out of practise. Although lockdown hasn’t been that long, people may have lost some confidence in their own competence. Their ability to judge things that previously were second nature will be poorer and in some cases dangerous. For instance the familiarity with their own vehicle initially could be a problem, their level of concentration on longer drives, and their general awareness of what is happening around them - we know people don’t use their mirrors enough in normal circumstances.
We will also need to be even more aware of other road users lack of skills including their emotions such as their patience or lack of it. Some drivers will be used to having the roads to themselves for months with the added temptations to speed so they may have some difficulty adjusting to the frustrations of slower journey times again in the new driving and riding environment post lockdown.
Another consideration should be given to the fact that more people will be cycling and walking now than drivers were previously used to seeing and negotiating. They won’t be used to heavy traffic so more care will be required when sharing the road with them.
As Advanced Drivers we should be prepared for anything and understand and make allowances for our own level of competence. We know the importance of using IPSGA and most of us haven’t had the opportunity to keep our skills honed, a short trip to the supermarket once a week on empty roads definitely isn’t enough! Without regular practice we get rusty and other road users who don’t have our awareness will undoubtedly be less prepared than us to adjust.
Once lockdown measures allow it may be useful to take some time to complete some practice drives using the SYSTEM.
Advanced drivers are well versed in IPSGA and using the system will be crucial however let’s try to be proactive by being prepared for poorer driving standards in general. Using our Observation, Anticipation and Planning (OAP) skills, will be essential to keeping us and helping other road users to stay safe.
Peta Steadman Bee
National Observer & Events/PR Lead, IAM Lincolnshire