Road Safety - Driving Through A Bend

Driving through a bend can be harder than first imagined. Bends can be tighter than initially percieved to be especially when approached at speed. In the UK a majority of accidents that involve only one vehicle happen at bends. Put simply these accidents are a result of poor and inappropiate driving.

When approaching a bend the first question the driver should ask themselves is - could I come to a stop, on my side of the road in the distance I can see to be clear? If the answer is no then the driver needs to slow down. This is because most bends are blind meaning the driver has no way of knowing the speed or position of any oncoming traffic.

On the approach to the bend the driver should read their surroundings, trying to gain as much information as possible. Many bends have road signs and road markings that show the direction of the bend. If the bend doesn't have such markings then the dribver can read the enviromental signs such as tress, hedgerows or buildings which may line the side of the road. These will often give a good indication how sharp the bend actually is.

On nearing the bend the driver should check their mirrors. If required to reduce speed then the driver should do so on the approach to the bend. Changing gear whilst driving through a bend will result in the driver taking a hand away from the steering wheel which could be dangerous.

If taking a right-handed bend the driver should position their car close to the kerb as this will create a better view ahead. If taking a left-handed bend the driver shoud never move to the centre of the road in order to improve the view ahead. This could put the driver in danger from oncoming traffic especially from a vehicle that cuts the corner. On taking the bend steer lightly and progressively. As the driver exits the bend they should smoothly increase speed until the appropiate speed is reached.

A more advanced technique of safely taking a bend is the limit point analysis technique. The limit point is the furthest point of the bend ahead which can be seen i.e. the point at which the left and right hand sides of the road meet. To use this technique the driver should first make sure that they can stop before the limit point is reached. They should then ask themselves - is the limit point getting further away? If the answer is yes and the driver can see further ahead then the speed at which the car is being driven is is fine. If the limit point is getting closer then the driver should continue to reduce speed until the limit point begins to move with the driver and the view begins to open up.

Taking a bend when the road is wet or icy greatly reduces the grip the car tyres have with the road. This increases the chances of the car skidding out of control. In such conditions a reduction is speed is always the safest option.