I drove probably 9000 miles last year? Maybe more.
I consider myself an above average driver - while I do consider navigation to be an important skill, I think the most important skills in determining what is a good driver are:
- accident avoidance - safety first
- situational awareness
- communication and anticipation
- maneuvering skills
I'm constantly refining my driving techniques. After watching a series of crash videos on youtube, I've realized that knowing the lay of the land is critical when something goes wrong - you need to know what's up. Whenever I'm on the highway I try to practice reading the terrain, and I've developed my own nomenclature to describe my environment.
"Center 3, to 4 with a merge clear, Jersey and open, pulling two left, Acura on the right crunch, anchor ahead far, with a clear horizon" would indicate:
- I'm in the center lane on 3 lane road.
- 1 lane is merging in, but no cars are coming in
- (read left to right), there is a Jersey (hard concrete wall) on the left shoulder and open grass or similar on the right
- In the left lane there are two cars behind me which are coming to pass (moving faster than I am)
- In the right lane there is an Acura aligned with my fender. A passing car will go from pulling, crunching, to pushing, from my perspective.
- anchor means a car (or truck) with a constant rate of speed, probably slower than me, in my lane, far varies but usually more than 10 seconds.
- clear horizon means low traffic, a bumpy horizon is a lot of traffic. similar wording for "rearview" - ie. "bumpy rear."
By doing this scanning constantly, I'm able to train myself to assess what's going on around me quickly because I'm learning to fill in the information in a standardized fashion, eventually possibly even unconsciously.
Also, by making up this nomenclature I've started to assess specific situations more closely, creating sets of sub-routines for merging, having cars merge in, predicting behavior, changing lanes, etc.
All said and done, I still like to screw around.