Inspired by this weekend's road trip to Ohio and back I thought I'd share a handy driving tip.
First, my credentials: I have attended Bondurant High Performance Driving School, Skip Barber Racing School (3 day session at Indianapolis Raceway Park), BMW Club Schools (at Road Atlanta, Putnam Park, and Mid-Ohio), and Porsche Club Schools (at Putnam Park and Road Atlanta). I can heel-toe downshift, drive the racing line on a track, and most importantly AVOID trouble. Granted, I haven't participated in a driving school since the 1990's (they cost money and I have two kids now), but not much has changed.
The most important, number one thing you can do to keep yourself and everyone else on the road safe is to KEEP YOUR EYES UP!!
I cannot overstate this. If you are looking through the cars in front of you then you are ready for that random piece of rubber that flies up in front of you or the jerkwad on his phone that you noticed miles ago was weaving. Too many people fixate on the bumper in front of them instead of looking beyond the cars they're following.
To see farther ahead, you can do several things. My personal favorite is to ride the left lane line. If there's a big ol' SUV or semi-truck in front of me I simply scooch (no, it's not an official driving term) to the left. You'd be amazed how far up the road you can see by moving a little to the left. You will know that the car five cars up the road hit the brakes even before the car just in front of you realizes it! You will see the cop sitting in the median well before the people in line in front of you! You will be READY for anything that transpires in front of you.
This is probably a little warped, but I can't help but feeling a little smug when I see a situation occurring way down the road before the driver in front of me sees it. I'm able to take action (accelerate, change lanes, swerve, brake...lots of options here) and shazam! I'm on my way while unprepared, unfocused driver in front of me is left to deal with the obstacle. I imagine unfocused driver to be like the stereotypical Dukes of Hazard protagonist...shaking his fist as his car sinks into the swamp and I in my General Lee escapes....mwahahahahahaha!!
Looking ahead is probably the easiest thing drivers can do to stay safe. I urge you to practice it the next time you are behind the wheel. How far down the road can you see?