We have the great opportunity to chat to lots of different drivers and learn about the way they drive and what they think about their own driving. Below are three of the most common comments that we hear and an explanation of why they might not be as accurate as you thought.
Remember - a hazard is something that could present a threat in your driving path/surrounds. You may see something developing up ahead, in your mirrors behind or to the side of you, and it could be that the hazard develops very quickly and requires action.
1. That can't be a hazard, because I see (and deal with it) every day!
This is one we hear a lot. People often believe that something that they encounter every single day, cannot possibly count as a hazard. While it's true that we can practice handling hazards, knowing how to handle one isn't exactly the same as eliminating it altogether. Otherwise what is it that you're handling? Additionally, sometimes being very accustomed to a specific hazard (roadworks near your house, sunstrike at the same time every morning) means that we become a bit complacent about them. Hence making them - you guessed it - MORE of a concern, not less.
So if there is a hazard that you often come across, and you have a solid plan to deal with it, that's fantastic. But it can never hurt to review your plan, make sure it's still relevant and applicable, and ask yourself as you drive - 'are there any situations relating to this hazard that I haven't considered, and what do I need to do about that?'.
2. I'm a great driver, and this programme is much too hard and not teaching me anything.
The Fleetcoach programme is not designed to be a tick-box exercise, so easy that it can be completed eyes-closed first time. It deliberately has tricky pieces in it to make drivers think, attempt, retry, and learn something. We know that material that's much too easy simply doesn't teach anything, so our material is there to challenge. Not unreasonably of course - it's entirely possible to achieve the 5 star driver rating and most people eventually do - but we think more of our users than simply passing them for showing up.
The other important thing to remember is that even the most experienced driver should be able to learn something new from the programme. So learning something (or getting something wrong!) doesn't mean you aren't a competent driver. But we wanted to make sure that the skills of hazard perception, visual search and risk management are the central focus - and every single driver out there can improve on these things! Driving is the most dangerous activity most of us will engage in on a daily basis and so we simply don't believe there is ever a point where someone knows all there is to know.
3. So... every single thing I can see while driving is a hazard then?
Not quite! Hazards are things that may develop into something that requires an action from you of some sort. Someone pulling out into your lane, a car in the way up ahead causing others to swerve, pedestrians about to cross, weather making visibility challenging, roadworks on the road, or a car coming from behind wanting to overtake. These are all good examples of hazards, because they require possible action, even if the action is just keeping an eye on what's developing, and slowing down to assess it.
Things that aren't hazards include things like a car driving at the speed limit in their own lane, pedestrians over the other side of the road making no moves to cross or change what they're doing, livestock calmly grazing behind fences as you drive past.
And remember - the very act of considering if something is a hazard or not, and weighing up your response - this is an essential part of what Fleetcoach is trying to teach. It doesn't matter if it takes a few tries, or if you spend a while deciding - this is the process of learning, and it means you're doing a great job of becoming a safer driver.
Got questions about hazards we haven't covered here? We'd love to hear from you!