Eyes on the Road

We all know what when driving, you simply can’t take your eyes off the road. In fact, 90% of the decisions we make while driving is through what we observe with our eyes.

Two common visual errors drivers make that AMA driving instructors have noticed through the years are:

  • Not using the mirrors properly.
  • Not checking the blind spot (the areas not often visible in your mirrors). In fact, recent statistics show 346 casualty collisions occurred in Alberta as a result of improper lane changes.

Check Your Mirrors

Car mirrors are necessary for proactive driving and help keep you safe. While your main focus should always be looking at the road ahead of you, briefly checking your mirrors easily helps you be aware of what is happening around your vehicle.

Here are some proactive strategies to help keep you on track:

  • Prior to your drive, make sure all mirrors and windows are clean and in good repair.
  • Keep windows free of obstructions – never put anything in your windows that will block your view.
  • When driving in traffic, glance in mirrors every five to eight seconds.
  • Anytime prior to braking or slowing down, check your mirrors.
  • Prior to left turns check the mirror and blind spot in that direction.
  • Prior to right turns check the mirror and blind spot in that direction.
  • Prior to lane changes check the mirrors and blind spot.
  • Check the mirrors and blind spot when moving into or out of the curb lane.
  • Avoid changing lanes in intersections.
  • Stay out of other driver’s blind spots (particularly semi trucks and other large vehicles).
  • When passing a larger vehicle, pass quickly (If you can’t see the driver’s face in his mirrors, then he can’t see you).
  • Avoid passing on the right, especially larger vehicles.
  • Prior to backing, make sure the way is clear behind you.
  • Remember, always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows other road users to anticipate your movement and find a safe lane position.

Ready to take our Quiz? We recommend that you read Off-Road Recovery and Ditching the Ditch, or, you can take the quiz now.

I am a Fleet Safety Operations Manager with 30 years of experience teaching traffic safety across five provinces, and in four countries. Outside of work, I am an avid traveller, a fervent Flames fan, and a Mustang enthusiast.