Vehicle Space Management
To drive defensively, you must manage the road space around your car. You can do that by controlling your speed, properly positioning your car in a lane and communicating with other road users. The crucial concept is keep a safe distance from the car in front of you. The more space you allow between your car and the car ahead, the more time you will have to see a hazard down the road and avoid it! You will have to increase your following distance in some cases, e.g., when you follow a motorcycle, pull a trailer, carry a heavy load, drive in adverse weather conditions or slippery roads. The same rules apply to the sides and back of your car. Don't drive in the blind spot of another driver. The other driver may not see your car and could change lanes and hit you. And if you see someone is following you too closely brake lightly a few times to warn the driver behind you that you are slowing down. Change the lane whenever it is safe to lose the tailgater.
To be a safe driver—to drive defensively—you must manage the road space around your car. There are three basic elements to space management:
- Speed control
- Lane positioning
We need to determine the kinds of spatial conditions that exist while driving on the road
There are three types of conditions you encounter on the road:
(1) Open Conditions This means that you have a space or a larger area in which to drive that is without restrictions—you see only wide, open spaces on the road ahead, with no restrictions around your car—you are free to move forward or to change lanes without conflict.(2) Closed Conditions A closed zone means that it is not available for your car's path of travel—that there is a restriction to the drivers view or that space is unavailable in a particular zone.(3) Changing Conditions This often occurs when the driving situation changes from an open to a closed zone. Changing conditions can include speed limits, roadway or weather conditions, lane width, environmental conditions, visibility, traffic flow, time of day, traffic controls, etc. Each of these conditions should have an influence on what speed is appropriate, the path of travel, and what type of communication is used.