Looking further down the road or driving at a different speed can help you anticipate a greater distance ahead keeping you from danger.

There are some simple techniques you can use on the road to help in multiple situations;

  • Scan the road ahead when doing observations
  • Look further down the road
  • Slow down upon identifying a hazard
  • Expect to stop
  • Be able to stop within the distance you can see to be clear
  • Use road signs and information to form a plan
  • Do not become distracted or complacent on familiar routes
  • Follow the speed limit and following distance rules


1. Improve Observation Techniques

When driving, looking further down the road improves the length of time you have information available and what action you might need to take. Scanning instead of fixing your stare allows you to take in a wider aspect of information therefore meaning you need to look 2, 3 or even 4 times in any given direction. Always look where you are going and try to always have your vision on ‘full beam’. It is easy when following a vehicle to simply stare at their boot.

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Looking over the car in front to the distance means you can see the curve in the road and any traffic coming towards you.

2. Slow Down and Expect to Stop

When looking further down the road and picking out hazards earlier, you can then take action earlier. Slowing down even if the view is clear will allow you to react to those drivers that are not anticipating you approaching. Always expect to stop and changing your speed by even 5mph will give you greater time to stop if needed.

Rule 126 of The Highway Code states you should ‘Drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear’.

Follow this link to read the full Highway Code https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code

3. Stick to the Speed Limit

Anticipation will be increased if you drive with discipline and stick to the speed limit. This will allow greater room in your thought processes to assess what is ahead or what might be ahead. Keep your following distance to the correct gap in wet and dry conditions and this will also allow you to see further down the road.

Look out for traffic lights, yellow boxes and road blockages in particular.

4. Use Road Signs and Information

By scanning further and wider with your vision as you drive along will allow you to take in road signs and information. This can include

  • road signs
  • road markings
  • change in the colour of the road or markings e.g. red means danger

This will help you take the right action before you get to the hazard meaning you can plan well ahead.

30 mph road marking

Red paint here is to draw the drivers attention. This would be due to the limit being regularly broken.

5. Avoid Distraction and Complacency

The statistics speak for themselves in relation to accidents relating to distraction, in particular the mobile phone. It is important for your safety and of those other road users that you do not let yourself become distracted. Any length of time where you are not focused on the road whether it be changing the radio station or updating the SatNav can prevent you from anticipating the road ahead.

Recent surveys show that many accidents happen within 1 mile of your home on roads you are most familiar with. The most common conclusion is complacency where you think you know what is happening. Remaining vigilant and anticipating the unexpected at the very start or end of your journey is important to prevent those needless little bumps.


Start your advanced driving course with First Drive and improve in all areas of anticipation and car control. Follow the link to our page https://www.firstdrivesouthwest.co.uk/advanced-driving-course/