The habit of scanning repeatedly and regularly is the sign of a good driver. This means using your eyes in a scanning motion that sweeps the whole environment – the far distance, the middle distance, the foreground, the sides and rear of your car -– to build up a complete picture of what is happening around you. Scanning should be a continuous process, so when a new view opens out in front of you, you quickly scan the new scene and know where the areas of risk are.
It’s worth noting that what we see depends to a large extent on what we expect to see. You may have pulled out and missed seeing a bicycle or motorbike coming from the direction in which you have just looked. Mistakes of this kind are common because you’re generally looking for cars or lorries, not other road users. We find it easier to detect objects that we expect to see, and react more quickly to them, often failing to see objects that we don’t expect. For this reason it’s important to give as much attention to observation and anticipation on routes you use every day as on journeys you’re making for the first time.