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A turn for the worse

Have you found yourself braking in a bend because it was sharper than you thought? If you have then think about how you assess the severity of bends, especially on country roads. Apart from road signs, markings and skid marks, there are a number of clues you can take from the environment such as the line of trees, hedges, buildings and street lights.

Another useful way of assessing a bend is to use the ‘limit point analysis’. The limit point is the furthest point which you can see, ie, where the left and right hand sides of the road meet. To use this technique make sure that you can stop before you get to it, then ask yourself: is it getting further away? If it is and you can see further ahead then your speed should be fine. Alternatively, if it is getting closer then you should continue to reduce your speed until the limit point begins to move with you and your view opens up again. This technique takes a bit of practice but it will help you to link your speed with your range of vision – and on roads where you can’t see through the bends it gives you a reliable and practical solution to a difficult judgement problem.