How ‘oops factor’ moment can help make drivers safer

Don’t just put your head in your hands after a near-miss but learn from it. Picture supplied by GEM

Dont just put your head in your hands after a near-miss but learn from it. Picture supplied by GEM Motoring Assist - Credit: GEM Motoring Assist

We’ve all had near-misses while driving but now motorists are being urged to think what they could have done differently to reduce the risks on future journeys.

Drivers are being encouraged to reflect on the dangerous moments they have experienced at the wheel, to reduce the risks they face on future road journeys, by road safety campaigners.

Neil Worth, GEM Motoring Assist road safety officer, said: “We are all familiar with those ‘oops factor’ moments, where no harm was actually done but where we came close to disaster.

“We’re encouraging drivers to set aside time to think about their own particular ‘oops factor’ moments. But, rather than allowing themselves to dwell on the danger and risk being distracted, we suggest they wait until the end of a journey and set aside a few moments to think about why it happened.

“That short period of reflection may be all that’s needed to identify the reason, and to adapt techniques of observation or concentration in order to prevent a similar situation happening again.”

GEM has produced the following four simple tips to reduce risk for drivers:

Think about risk on journeys. This risk could come from a dangerous stretch of road, from adverse weather, an unwise choice of speed or from a lack of focus on the driving task.

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Expect the unexpected. This is especially true on familiar stretches of road. Keep your guard up, anticipate what could happen and stay ahead of the situation, rather than having to react urgently.

Eliminate the word ‘suddenly’ from your driving vocabulary. By identifying all the possible areas of risk, you can adapt and update your speed and position to keep yourself away from trouble.

Learn from mistakes. You’re sure to be familiar with the ‘oops factor’ – the realisation that a risky moment just happened. Take time later to think about why that moment happened. Did you fail to see another vehicle? Did you misjudge distance or speed? Did you gamble with a changing traffic light? Most important, what different action could you take next time to reduce the risk?

“We all make mistakes but, unfortunately, a lot of us look to blame everyone or everything else – making it difficult or impossible to learn. But we are all more vulnerable on the road than we think we are,” he said.

“By recognising the situations that may lead to greater danger, and learning from those ‘oops factor’ moments, we can actively reduce risk, both to ourselves and to those around us.”

Have you had an ‘oops factor’ moment other motorists could learn from? Email motoring@archant.co.uk

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