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Don't cut corners on safety.

A number of my email requests for help have been from drivers puzzled about the apparent differences between the way drivers have been taught to cope with bends, and the methods advocated by so-called advanced driving colleagues.

The most obvious difference is one where the Department for Transport's Driving Manual advises people to keep to a safety line following the left edge throughout any bend on country roads, and a completely different approach described in older versions of the driving manual, Roadcraft.

Roadcraft describes Police methods of driving and in this case it argued that it is much easier for a driver to see around left bends by moving out to, or even across, the centre line. By taking this wider arc drivers can travel faster as steering needs are less. Unfortunately, those who have not studied the book well assume it is safe to move out on almost any left hand bend. And this is the danger.

The only purpose of moving across the road is to allow drivers to make maximum headway, it has no real purpose in safer or better driving.

However, the obvious justification for keeping to the normal safety line, as advocated by the Department for Transport and myself, is to point out that getting a better view around a bend is no help if it places you on the wrong side of the road, and oncoming traffic forces you to regain a safe position.

That is bad enough if the oncoming vehicle is safely positioned - but what do you do if you meet another white-line driver coming towards you?

The correct path, Safetyline, is to place the near-side wheels about a door width from the left kerb - unless the road is so narrow you have to centre your vehicle in your own lane. To learn more about Better Driving, log-on to: www.drdrive.co.uk
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 22, 2003
Words:311
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