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Have a highway visual search pattern

Published:Sunday | November 8, 2020 | 12:05 AMPaul Glenroy Messam - Contributor

Highway driving often seems quiet and routine, therefore drivers can be falsely lulled into thinking they have little to worry about. With various highways in effect or coming on stream, motorists should take the necessary precaution so as not to fall prey to highway hypnosis. “Driving is essentially an activity of the mind” says Dr Hame Persaud. “Our bodies are important only that they translate the impulses of our thoughts as we encounter the challenges of our roads” he adds. According to Dr Persaud, sometimes when we drive mile after mile at a steady speed quite comfortably, the best of drivers can be lulled into a passive state which is referred to as highway hypnosis.

To stay alert, motorists should establish a regular visual search pattern to repeat and to adjust for any unusual event. We must be alert, awake and aware of all that is happening on the rural highway scene.


Look well ahead of your motor car and read the road ahead. Identify cues in the distance.


Observe, look, make mental notes.


Glance to the sides. If you notice a blind-side road in the distance, predict that traffic could emerge.


Glance into the rearview mirror every 4 to 7 seconds, to ascertain if a driver from behind has become a tailgater or is trying to overtake.


Check your speed as well as dashboard warning lights, after you make all visual highway checks, to determine that there are no immediate hazards.


After looking away briefly, return your attention to the road ahead. Take quick glances from the scene ahead only when you have determined that the situation is stable.

Before a driver hits the highway, he must bear in mind that the automobile is a complicated machinery that requires steady care.

Take note of the following:

A preventative maintenance schedule that checks gears, battery, steering wheel, tyres, brakes.

Strong reliable brakes are an absolute necessity; any pull or fade that decreases the stopping efficiency.

Test your lights: turn signals, brake lights, tail lights, head lights, back-up lights.

“Surely, the basis of a well–maintained car is a well-tuned engine,” says Keith Austin, auto electrician/auto mechanic. According to Austin, without an engine that operates at full efficiency, a motor vehicle is a hazard on the highway and a source of despair for its driver.