5 things professional drivers do better than ordinary drivers
By Ferenc Boroczky - 12.10.2020 - Company
On the 11th of October, 2020 Lewis Hamilton secured his 91st Grand Prix race win, a truly impressive feat, equalling the record set by Michael Schumacher. Without a doubt, the skills, training and knowledge required to be a champion driver like Hamilton aren't the same requirements required to have a UK or European driving licence. Which is just as well!
How can you improve your driving?
By the simplest definition, a professional driver is anyone who has completed formal training and is paid to drive. Racing drivers are not the only drivers classed as professional drivers. Lorry, HGV and taxi drivers are also professional drivers. All of them are subject to strict codes of conduct and have to comply with rigorous industry regulations. While not suggesting we all become champion drivers, could we all drive better by taking a leaf out of the book of professional drivers? Here are some of the things they do differently.
- Higher level of concentration: How much do you concentrate when you’re driving? Chances are you take the same route which you know like the back of your hand. This makes it more likely that you’re on autopilot as you navigate your route and therefore probably not paying full attention. If you have other passengers in the vehicle, your level of concentration diminishes further. Pro drivers endeavour to avoid any distractions, remaining on high alert as much as possible throughout their journey.
- Constant observation: Professional drivers are able to look at the constantly changing landscape on the road and apply their super-enhanced situational awareness. This helps them make decisions within seconds and adjust what they are doing as required. This is particularly essential for identifying hazards and mitigating an appropriate response.
- Apply world-class skills and knowledge: To be able to handle any situation while driving requires a range of skills that can be tapped into at any time. It isn’t just having the skills but knowing when to apply it and which skills to apply according to the unfolding situation being faced. A good driver, professional or ordinary, should have adequate driving skills to control their vehicle in every situation at any time. Pro drivers also have in depth knowledge about their vehicles, basic mechanical understanding and the regulations their specific roles are bound by.
- Anticipation: Whether it’s a change in the weather, obstructions in the road or unplanned events like accidents, anticipating what is around the corner enables split second decisions to be made to avert a bigger disaster. The power to anticipate is critical for pro drivers, especially the anticipation of what other road users might do.
- Self discipline: This is easily the hardest thing for all drivers - remaining calm, courteous and considerate, especially when you feel totally aggrieved by another road user’s actions. But discipline isn’t just about not reacting in anger. It also means knowing when to rest and not driving fatigued, driving at the right speed and not overtaking just to prove a point.
"While there are huge differences between driving professionally and simply navigating the roads in your town, it is possible to apply a lot of what professional drivers are required to do. Concentrating, anticipating and observing the environment around you is something that can be actively practiced."
While there are huge differences between driving professionally and simply navigating the roads in your town, it is possible to apply a lot of what professional drivers are required to do. Concentrating, anticipating and observing the environment around you is something that can be actively practiced. Pro drivers get lots of practice and ongoing training in order to improve their skills. We can all drive better just implementing some of the above as regularly as we can to form better, more empowered habits on the road.