Toms Tips Number 4: Awareness and Anticipation, Adequate Clearance, Making Normal Progress.

Welcome again to Toms Tips. In this post we’ll remind ourselves of how to keep safe by not being taken by surprise on the road and how you can keep others safe by using correct speeds and positioning.

Let’s dive in!

Awareness and anticipation.

These skills that you will develop during your driving lessons are part of what’s called defensive driving.

Anticipation means planning well ahead and acting promptly to changes going on around you. Always ask yourself what other road users are likely to do and how you can fit in with their actions.

Awareness of scenes around you will usually prevent you being taken by surprise, prevent hazards arising, and leave you able to take action when necessary.

Effective use of your mirrors is essential.

Adequate Clearance.

  • Overtaking parked car – about a metre clearance.
  • Stopping behind a stationary car – make sure you can see its entire rear tyre. “Tyres on the tarmac.”
  • Passing cyclists – as much clearance as you would give a car.
  • Separation distance from the car in front – learn your stopping distances from the Highway Code.
  • Learn and use the two second rule.

Making Progress.

This means assisting the free flow of traffic by driving at an appropriate speed, within the limit, without causing frustration, inconvenience or annoyance to other road users.

This requires good forward planning. Progress must be neither too fast, or too slow for the conditions. Avoid rash decisions.


Avoid undue hesitation. If there is a safe opportunity to go, should take it. Do not necessarily wait for the road to be completely clear.

“Awareness and anticipation is a big subject that is being used all the time when you are driving, so you develop it with the help of your driving instructor throughout your driving lessons. The more driving you do, the easier it becomes, but it’s important to be fully aware of what’s required.”

Nicky Jarvis, Gloucester.

If you want to know more about defensive driving techniques, or just want to really learn to drive well, get in touch by calling us on 01452 313713, or click here for our contact form.