Adaption to Surroundings

Scanning and Adaption to Surroundings

It’s common sense to pay attention to your surroundings when you’re driving thousands of pounds of heavy machinery on wheels, right? Especially when you know that you’re not the ONLY one that is capable of causing massive amounts of damage or harm. Scanning is a very important skill that keeps you aware of the ever-changing road conditions. According to experts from the University of Texas, you should be checking all of your mirrors every five seconds (UT Dallas Police Department, n.d). While this sounds like a shocking number, constant scanning is critical for defensive drivers.

Scanning Tips:

  • Check your mirrors every 5 seconds
  • Scan your intended driving path 10-12 seconds ahead
  • Check your mirrors when you slow down and while you’re stopped
  • Before you change lanes, check your blind spots

Shockingly, 40.6% of accidents attributed to the driver are due to some sort of recognition error (NHTSA, 2008). Recognition error occurs when drivers are inattentive, distracted or simply don’t properly survey their surroundings.


mirror on car


Using Your Scanning Skills

When you develop your scanning skills, you increase the time you have to respond to various road situations. When you scan ahead 10-12 seconds, you will notice immediately when a light turns from green to yellow. With this time, you will be able to slow down at a safe speed to stop behind the white line at the intersection. Similarly, if you see cars ahead of you with their brake lights lit, you will be able to adjust your speed to match the traffic conditions.


National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey“. NHTSA. 2008.


Explore More

Florida BDI Course Online

The Florida BDI Course Online Looking to complete your Florida BDI course online (also called the Florida Basic Driver Improvement Course)? You’re in the right

Read More »