What Are We Thinking About When We Drive?

Question MarkWhat are we thinking about when we drive? More and more often I am convinced that we are thinking about anything but the driving task. Please be assured that when I say this I am giving drivers credit that they know how to drive properly in the first place.

I was waiting at a red light watching drivers turn left around me when I began to ponder this. Most of the vehicles I observed turned into the wrong lane and all of those drivers failed to shoulder check and signal as they moved over. If another driver had overtaken them intent on using the outside lane or had decided to turn right from the other side, would these drivers have been able to avoid a collision?

I suspect that their first awareness of any problem would have been the noise and sudden change of direction produced by the collision they were involved in. This is far too late! Awareness of the vehicles around you and anticipation of what their drivers might do are paramount to preserving your own safety as well as that of others.

Defensive driving means following the rules so that others know what to expect of you and maintaining a constant awareness of what is around you. Focus only on where you are going and you are going to eventually have trouble. You may wish to consider this in the context of what the drivers around you might (or might not) be thinking.

Reference Links:

Learn to Drive Smart - BC's Driving Manual

Tuning Up for Drivers - A Companion to Learn to Drive Smart (PDF)

I personally,jump in the vehical I am about to drive,and imagine the boundreys of the vehical,as my 2nd skin.Then try to keep track of everything in my enviroment in every direction,as I travel.

I also like to take pride in trying to be as perfect as I can be,and trying to keep in mind at the same time,I am a HUMAN!

Perception I know can never be prefected,and Emotion I try to controll 100%.But beiing human the percentage points may drop from time to time,as your mood changes,which inturn distorts your preception.

this alone can turn a professinal driver,into a bad driver,,right quick!!

So,,the trick now is to be able to realize,on your travells,when your OWN MOOD changes(to bad) and you are starting to get Frustrated with Everyone eleses bad dirivng habbitts,,,,,,In FACT, it  is when YOU need to start Looking at YOURSELF.

And beiing hotheaded Myself at times, I have to pay extra atten to my own mood,to not be gulty of turning into a bad driver myself.

Yes all this while watching,whats seems at every moment nowadays,no onelse even paying attention,,you have to pay attention for them as well,and bite your own toung the whole way(smile and wave)

I,m a class 1 holder,for just short of a quarter century,with a perfect record,,,,and it,s still hard beiing HUMAN sometimes!


Whether operating a table saw, skiing a steep and rocky run, firing a lethal weapon, or jumping from an aeroplane, a modicum of knowledge, skill, and attention are required to ensure the safety of those around you, as well as yourself. Driving is no different. You need to know the rules of the road, need to have sufficient proficiency operating the vehicle you are driving, and enough focus on the activity you have undertaken, as well as the activities of everyone around you, to ensure the safety of all. Also, some consideration for the rights and the wellbeing of others is a huge asset to a positive outcome.

Your example of drivers making left turns is very appropriate, particularly when viewed as a pedestrian using the crosswalk through which said vehicle is turning, or as a cyclist turning left in front of this vehicle, or right from the opposite side (in either case signalling the turn, or both turns, in the case of the cyclist in front who turns left and then immediately signals and turns into the curb lane), also in front of the left turning driver. Supposing that everyone continues on without a collision, but, that they may meet at the next red light. When apprised of their inappropriate actions, the driver will almost invariably offer up that he or she can turn into whatever lane they want, are not required to signal should they choose not to, and that they had the right of way over the cyclist or pedestrian, presumably via virtue of size and weight. Invariably they offer up the fact that they have never had a ticket, as proof of their righteousness.

Whether you look at how drivers almost get in accidents at stop signs, which they deem to be yield signs, either almost running into a vehicle which does choose to come to a complete stop at said signs, or almost being clipped when they have to stop short to avoid a vehicle which truly had the right of way, watch the impossibly tight lane changes made without signal lights, shoulder checks, or safe clearance margins, or as I witnessed yesterday, see a driver carry merrily along a busy four-lane road, oblivious to cars pulling to the sides from both lanes, both in front and in back of her, for the speeding fire truck with both siren and lights blazing. She must not have had hearing or a rear-view mirror available. No focus or attention to the task at hand as well as the obvious actions of others around her, and the lack of knowledge and skill that would dictate checking mirrors, resulted in a collossal disregard for all around her, and zero consideration of either her own safety or that of others. Oblivious to it all!

Rather than renewing a license every five years, there should be a mandatory, day-long, updating and training course on the rules of the road, new laws, markings, intersections, and/or signage, a knowledge test and a road test to ensure that the driver has, or still has, the aptitiude and ability to be given the priviledge to hold a drivers license. It is a priviledge granted on conditions, not a God-given right! As roads become more travelled and more crowded, the seriousness and the responsibilies of driving need a much greater emphasis, greater training, and greater enforcement to ensure that lapse, disregard, and insufficient abilities are not perpetuated.