Monday, March 14, 2011

Be Careful about Assumptions

Merging onto a highway requires several skills: knowing what's in front, knowing what's coming and accelerating to a speed that allows an easy lane change. Like many others, I usually focus on the last two skills, assuming that it is clear ahead. However, someone once shared how he watched a merging car plow into a stopped vehicle that had unexpectedly stopped on the entrance ramp. Apparently, the driver was so concerned about the oncoming traffic and lane change that he forgot to glance ahead, even briefly.

My takeaway from the story was to acknowledge the risk with assumptions. I've almost made the same mistake myself on "yield" turns on suburban roads. I typically assume the driver will merge without stopping when there is no cross traffic. Sometimes, a driver chooses to stop anyway. Fortunately, I am generally looking ahead and have stopped in time.

After such an incident, I remind myself to not make assumptions about the actions of other drivers. By not making assumptions, I think I become a better and safer driver.

For more on Strategies and Plans, check back every Monday for a new segment.

This is not financial or driving advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

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