New Year's Resolution #1: Become a Better Driver

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By Weston_IAM | Thursday, January 03, 2013, 19:43

By John Teasdale, Press and Publicity Officer at Weston and Mendip Advanced Motorists' Group

It's that time of year again when we all vow to change our lives for the better: whether it's giving up smoking, waving farewell to fatty foods or simply becoming more active, we all start the New Year in a determined burst of well-meaning yet often short lived 'resolutions' for self-improvement. However, if you've already given in to that tempting tasty treat, don't despair – the Weston and Mendip Advanced Motorists' Group can help steer you in the right direction towards becoming a better driver – and provide you with a New Year's resolution that's also a skill for life!

Most of us think we're fairly good drivers if we can navigate from A to B without bumping into anything – or anyone – along the way. It's true that the risk of having an accident is fairly small – around a one in seven chance for the average driver. However, it's also true that road traffic accidents occur on a daily basis, and are responsible for almost half of all accidental deaths in Britain. What's more, in over 90% of cases, these 'accidents' are the result of human error – and therefore it appears we've still got a lot to learn. Whilst there's no such thing as the 'perfect' driver, every motorist could improve an aspect of their driving, whether that's observation, planning, anticipation or hazard management, and in the process reduce their risk of becoming yet another road casualty statistic.

Driving, like any skill, improves with practice and experience, but sometimes experience isn't the best teacher – especially if the experience is an unpleasant or fatal one! The best way to view driving is as a lifelong skill which begins when you pass your driving test, but continues throughout your 'driving career'; a continual process of self-evaluation and adjustment, with re-training where necessary to keep abreast of changes in road traffic law and best driving practice. Most people pick up a bad habit or two soon after passing their test, which can lead to the unsafe or even dangerous driving we often see on the UK's increasingly busy roads.

But enough about other people's driving – it's your driving over which you have the greatest influence. Road safety might be everyone's business, but we all need to take individual responsibility for our actions behind the wheel, and that's where further driver training can help. Training as an advanced motorist helps you to think both for yourself and others, so you can plan for their mistakes, thereby keeping everyone out of harm's way! An example is dealing with the menace of the tailgater: if you're being harassed by the driver behind, keep your cool and back off from the vehicle ahead, allowing more time for both you and your tailgater to brake, and reducing the likelihood of the tailgater ending up in your boot if you have to stop suddenly.

Taking advanced driver training, such as the 'Skill for Life' course offered by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), the UK's largest independent road safety charity, is undoubtedly the best way to develop the observation, planning and anticipation skills that are essential for safe and progressive driving. Combined with expert control of the vehicle and a sound knowledge of the advanced driving techniques taught to police drivers, IAM-qualified drivers are amongst the safest on Britain's roads, and are 70% less likely to crash their cars than the average driver. Why not make a New Year's resolution to become a better, safer driver by contacting Weston and Mendip Advanced Motorists on 07020 934714 for a FREE driving assessment or demonstration drive? For more information, please visit www.weston-iam.org.uk or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WestonIAM.

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