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Reading the road ahead

A good, safe drive is about a mixture of techniques, and high on the list is using your car’s brakes in a smooth and progressive way. To do so you need to develop observation and anticipation, so that you begin your braking at an early stage and always leave a decent margin for braking more heavily if the need arises.

Many drivers tend to brake too late and too hard. Arguably less dangerous, but equally annoying, is the habit of ‘comfort braking’ – when a driver touches the brakes to feel better, even if they have no intention of slowing the car to any measurable degree. They do so in the belief that they are being careful drivers.

It is better by far to learn to read the road ahead. Not only do you get early warning of developing hazards, you can respond by adjusting your speed. Have you ever seen a cascade of brake lights ahead of you? A good driver will judge the speed and distances involved and, having left a decent gap, be able to follow in safety by letting the speed ‘fall away’ and avoid abrupt braking.