How the ‘oops

factor' can save

your life

Driver thinking at the wheel

HAVING a close call while out driving could become a life saver, according to road safety experts.

They say that reflecting on hazardous moments at the wheel can help drivers prevent similar situations developing.

The advice comes from road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist which is encouraging drivers to reflect on the dangerous moments they have experienced on the road to reduce the risks they face on future journeys.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: "We are all familiar with those ‘oops factor' moments, where no harm was actually done but where we came close to disaster."

"We're encouraging drivers to set aside time to think about their own particular ‘oops factor' moments. But rather than allowing themselves to dwell on the danger and risk being distracted, we suggest they wait until the end of a journey and set aside a few moments to think about why it happened.

"That short period of reflection may be all that's needed to identify the reason, and to adapt techniques of observation or concentration in order to prevent a similar situation happening again."

GEM has produced the following four tips to reduce risk for drivers:

1: Think about risk on journeys. This risk could come from a dangerous stretch of road, from adverse weather, an unwise choice of speed or from a lack of focus on the driving task.

2: Expect the unexpected. This is especially true on familiar stretches of road. Keep your guard up, anticipate what could happen and stay ahead of the situation, rather than having to react urgently.

3: Eliminate the word ‘suddenly' from your driving vocabulary. By identifying all the possible areas of risk, you can adapt and update your speed and position to keep yourself away from trouble.

4: Learn from mistakes. You're sure to be familiar with the ‘oops factor'; the realisation that a risky moment just happened. Take time later to think about why that moment happened. Did you fail to see another vehicle? Did you misjudge distance or speed? Did you gamble with a changing traffic light? Most important, what different action could you take next time to reduce the risk?

"We all make mistakes; but unfortunately a lot of us look to blame everyone or everything else - making it difficult or impossible to learn. But we are all more vulnerable on the road than we think we are," said Mr Worth.

"By recognising the situations that may lead to greater danger, and learning from those ‘oops factor' moments, we can actively reduce risk, both to ourselves and to those around us."

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