Driving is one of the highest risk activities conducted by law enforcement today. Thus, being aware, managing space and avoiding collisions are three components of safe driving officers must develop.
Awareness is vital when driving. It's the immediate recognition of any changes in the environment that could interfere with the vehicle. Stopped traffic, brake lights, intersections, pedestrian traffic and roadway detours are just some of the things you'll encounter while driving.
Space management involves planning ahead to ensure that you can control the intended path of the vehicle without interruption. Having the time to react is the key to safety, and space enables you to have that time. Following another vehicle at least three seconds behind, slowing down when vision is limited and using a turn signal well ahead of time are just some examples of space management.
Collision avoidance is the act of moving your vehicle into another path of travel to avoid a collision. A critical component of driving is what to do to avoid a collision. If you wait until the collision is imminent to think about it, it's too late.
Each day before you hit the streets in your cruiser, consider what you'll do in what-if scenarios: What will you do if a truck pulls in front of you without warning? What if a car runs a red light when you're traveling through an intersection? What will you do if one of your tires blows out?
These scenarios are just some of the examples that can cause collisions. You must have a plan in place for what you'll do in a given circumstance and what you can do to avoid them.