Have a look at the video in the URL below. This was captured by the in-car camera during a late afternoon/evening lesson, just on sundown. An integral part of my training regimen is chatting to my students as we drive around. I do this for two reasons. To create a companionable association between teacher and pupil, and to provide a constant distraction through conversation. This student, male and early twenties, was quite engaged with me in conversation, to the extent that he completely lost track of where he was on the road, and what was going on around him.
Take note of how far off the controlled intersection we were when the lights ahead changed from green to amber, and then to red. The change to red happened well before we crossed the threshhold, the end result, while not actually life threatening, could well have been worse.
It is absolutely vital that drivers pay attention to the job they are undertaking, which is piloting a moving vehicle in company with and opposition to other moving vehicles. At 60 kilometers per hour, a moving vehicle covers 16.66 meters EVERY SECOND. Add to that distance some 2.5 seconds for reaction time, and the distance covered at 60kph from realisation of a missed red light to a complete stop is 58 meters. Almost half the length of a rugby league field from dead ball line to dead ball line. In the video linked below, we would easily have covered that distance, and then some from the time I said “are you gonna stop?”
These lapses can occur, quite literally, in the blink of an eye. Those eyes MUST be constantly scanning the environment all around the driver, evaluated and assessments made on a fluid basis. Simply put, watch what you’re doing, pay attention to the job at hand, think about where you are from moment to moment, and make the appropriate decisions to preserve your own life AND those of the other road users around you.