Bad drivers often cause accidents because of unexpected maneuvers made without signaling their intentions. However, experienced defensive drivers can read the intentions of other motorists in some situations by picking up on certain cues. Here are five of them:
- Turning the head before a lane change. Before driving beside a car in a multilane highway, watch the driver’s head. Drivers about to change lanes often turn their head to the left to check their blind spot. If this happens, allow the driver into the lane.
- Rapidly approaching a car from behind. When you see a car rapidly approaching you from behind on a multilane road, it will likely pass you. This is a bad time for you to make a lane change. When a car does the same thing to another car in front of you, expect it to change lanes to pass the car. Stay out of its way.
- Car and wheel positioning at intersections. At intersections, people often position their cars on the right side of their lane when they want to make a right turn. They similarly position their cars on the left side for left turns. Sometimes their front wheels are angled toward their intended direction. Reading the intentions of motorists on the opposite side of an intersection helps prevent collisions during traffic light changes.
- Car positioning on side roads. When you see a car stopped at a side road but is slowly inching its way into traffic, there’s a good chance it will dart in front of you. Even though you have the right of way, be ready to stop. If it is safe to do so, allow the car to pull in front of you.
- Rolling wheels at stop signs. Some drivers treat stop signs as speed bumps. They slow down and then proceed ahead. This is often called the rolling stop. When a car approaches an intersection from a side or cross-road, watch its wheels. If you see wheel motion at the stop line, they don’t intend to come to a complete stop.