How to build more buffer space around you on the road

Space = safety, at any speed

Try to drive with a clear picture of what is going on around you – literally 360 degrees around you. Manufacture a buffer zone around the car, to the extent that it is possible to achieve this in some traffic environments.

Try dropping back from the car in front, making it easier to brake if they do. On the highway, and on freeways and arterial roads, try not to drive right next to another car or truck, allowing some swerving space if required.

Large or heavy vehicles often need to cut into the inside of a corner when they drive – so it’s good if you can avoid being on the inside of a bend relative to a truck or bus.

This is definitely a little too close for comfortIf you see a car in the breakdown lane on a freeway, move to the right lane and allow one lane of buffer space in case a person steps out or in case the car pulls into the traffic, having failed to see you approaching.

When overtaking, move to the wrong side early, before you are close to the car you’re overtaking. This cuts the risk of a crash with them (check you rear-view mirror before pulling out, to ensure nobody is overtaking you).

If you are driving next to a row of parked cars, move towards the side of the lane away from the parked cars in case someone opens a door or in case somebody steps out from between two cars.

When you stop in a queue of cars at traffic lights, stop well back from the car in front – in case the person behind you crashes into you. (Doing this means in a worst-case scenario, you will be in only one crash, not two.) The acid test for this is simple: stop so you can see some road ahead, between you and the car in front. If all you can see is the car in front’s rear bumper, you’re too close.

Manufacturing space around you at the right time and place can cut your risk of crashing considerably.