What is anticipation while driving?

Anticipation is a key aspect of driving. Good drivers can anticipate the actions of other road users. They have the ability to work out what could happen next thus preventing possible accidents.

1. Observation

A pedestrian is walking straight ahead along the pavement to your left. You notice that they look over their right shoulder. What could it mean?

Action: This pedestrian could be about to cross the road. Look in all three mirrors and reduce your speed just in case they do cross the road. You must check all three mirrors to see if anyone is travelling so close behind that you have to temper your braking.

2. Observation

You are driving along a road and a football bounces over a fence. What might happen next?

Action: Children often follow balls into the road. Do the same as before: check mirrors and reduce speed.

3. Observation

You are about to turn right into a side road. A pedestrian who is waiting to cross, smiles and waves at you. What does it all mean?

Action: The pedestrian could be thinking that you are going to let them cross. Their smile could be a thank-you signal. You cannot ignore this. You must slow down and stop to let them cross safely.

4. Observation

A cyclist is riding along the road ahead of you. They are approaching an obstruction – a double-parked van – but they don’t look over their shoulder or raise their right arm. What’s likely to happen next?

Action: Cyclists don’t always give arm signals. Assume that they will move out to pass the van. Slow down so that you are ready for that action.


As these examples show, anything is possible. You have to be ready for it. You have to look ‘OUT’.
Over vehicles for pedestrians’ heads
Under vehicles for pedestrians’ feet
Through glass and into wing mirrors for passengers who could suddenly open a door.

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