Drivers urged: 'Give yourself time to react'
THE difference between drivers casually looking and really observing has been underlined by a study from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) which says that a lack of concentration is to blame for near misses.
A poll of its members revealed that in the last six months fifty-eight per cent have been cut-up by another road user who didn't look properly and forty per cent of these near misses took place in 30 mile per hour zones. Fifty-eight per cent of drivers said a lack of concentration is to blame.
Cyclists and motorcyclists are especially vulnerable because they present a smaller object to drivers.
Simon Best, IAM chief executive, says: "SMIDSY (Sorry mate I didn't see you) moments are happening far too often, and very few people are prepared to take responsibility for their part in them.
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"It's always someone else's fault. All road users need to be more aware of who they are sharing the road with, and the risks they present.
"Other road users' intentions can often be guessed by their body language and position on the road, so drive defensively and leave room so that if somebody does do something unexpected, you have time to deal with it."
The IAM recommends these top tips for drivers to share the road:
Keep an eye out for motorcyclists and cyclists and give them extra space;
Use your mirrors so you see bikes approaching from behind;
In particular check your mirrors before changing direction, especially in traffic queues;
If a motorcyclist or cyclist is trying to get past in heavy traffic, let them;
Don't try and hinder their progress because you are stuck;
Give clear and early signals to allow other road users time to react;
Don't cut up a cyclist when turning left. Never overtake then turn left across their front wheel;
Overtake gently. Passing a cyclist quickly might feel safe to you, but it doesn't to the cyclist and the closer you are, the more this is the case;
Leave cyclists enough room when you pass them to allow them to move out to negotiate drains and potholes;
Check for bikes before opening the driver's door when you've parked.