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Commentary Driving…

If you’ve done any advanced driver training in the past, you may already be familiar with the skill of commentary driving. If you haven’t completed any formal advanced training, you might find commentary driving is a brilliant way to improve your driving skills.

What is commentary driving?

The dictionary definition of the word commentary is “a series of comments or explanations”

It’s fair to say that commentary driving means different things to different people and that what is said is very much dependent on what the aims of the individual driver are.

For example:

All of these drivers will be providing commentary, but if you were to sit and listen to them, they’d say very different things!

How do you do it?

If we assume you’re an average driver looking to improve your skills, then what you want to be looking at is the type of commentary driving that involves describing the road around you, identifying and prioritising hazards.

The easiest way to develop a commentary driving habit is to take it in stages. There are three types of hazard on the road to look out for and mention:

  1. Fixed hazards are those that are there and won’t change - examples are road signs, road markings, junctions or hills
  2. Variable hazards are those that are moving and can therefore change - other road users or animals are examples
  3. Temporary hazards are similar to fixed hazards in that they don’t move, but they only appear in certain conditions and for a limited length of time - examples may be weather and road surface conditions such as mud, ice or fog

To begin with, simply take the first group of fixed hazards and mention them as you drive along the road…

“I’m approaching a junction on the left”

“The sign on the left tells me there may be cattle in the road”

“The centre line shows me that over taking is allowed but hazardous”

When you first start, it’s amazing how much information is there to inform you about the road around you that you realise you just weren’t noticing before - on the assumption that you have no desire to be involved in a crash, your driving will immediately improve just by noticing all these things! It’s also common for people to realise just how much information from the highway code that they’ve forgotten!

The next step is obviously to add the variable hazards

“I’m approaching a give way junction”

“There is a car behind”

“There is a cyclist coming from my right”

“As I wait, I can see that there’s a sign in the new road telling me that there’s a height restriction             ahead”

And finally, add the temporary hazards

“I’m approaching a bend in the road”

“There’s mud on the road on the bend”

“There is a car following very close behind”

“As I come around the bend, I can see the road surface is now clear and road markings allow                 overtaking”

The trick is to talk about what is actually happening in the road, rather than waste time discussing theoretical events that might happen in a different time and place

Common mistakes include:

17th February 2017

Safe Driving