Must admit that anyone's concentration can waver after hours on motorway driving, especially at night when traffic is a lot lighter.
Most cars these days are quiet, comfortable and well capable of cruising above the motorway speed limit, so its easy to drift into a false sense of security.
You are thinking the same way as me smudger, modern driving easily lulls the driver into believing there is nothing to do.
I find that with the amount of idiocy I find occurring on hard shoulders of motorways, I do stay alert. I have seen drunks on foot throwing debris at passing cars, people running across motorways, cars with no lights or indicators pulling from the hard shoulder onto carriageway and foxes, badgers, horses, cows, sheep wandering on the live carriageways. All on unlit stretches of motorways.
The final point that I think follows from post # 2 is; having been exposed to faster driving, on track, (not necessarily higher speeds) most drivers are better road drivers on several counts. They no longer have anything to prove. They now are using what the vehicle is telling them and will look for this information in any vehicle they drive. They have experienced stopping distance for that vehicle, rather than abstract numbers and it becomes part of their driving experience, this has the effect of correcting speed issues. All add up to a better driver, less likely to use inappropriate speed, drive too close, take risks out of ignorance or attempt to do the impossible.
Never been on a race track; never felt that I had anything to prove. Know what my car's capabilities are; don't need to push them to the limit. Know what my vehicle's stopping distance is; don't need to drive close enough to have to use it. Know what the traffic laws are; don't need to defy them.
When behind the wheel, I am still an intelligent person; not transformed into a robot subservient to the vehicle.
What do I get in return? Better fuel economy, less vehicle wear-and-tear, more than average return of courtesy, and more chance of a relaxing drive in modern traffic conditions. Not a bad trade.
Some people just paint; others make it a work of art. I hope I am at least close to this with my driving.
Hopefully Snowball, you and I are well past the age of trying to prove anything when driving just still learning. My comments are about young bloods that seem to think that high revs and tyre smoke pull the birds.
There was a bloke on the Radio 2 talk show today who said that he attended a "speed awareness course" after he got done for speeding.
He said that it did him so much good, that he now gets a further 100 MPG from a tankful of petrol, and arrives at his appointments in time, just by driving more carefully and within the speed limit.
I think Wagolynn, that your analogy with photo albums correlates to experience. I agree that unless you have the required experience, as well as education, to fall back on, you cannot be considered proficient in any practical endeavour. However, I think there is more to it than that. It is that element whereby we can forestall events that makes a difference in driving. My daughter works in an opticians, and one of her jobs includes checking peripheral vision, and now, as she becomes more aware of the use of peripheral vision in driving, she occasionally passes comment on how bad some people's are, and questions their ability to see hazards developing. (Child chasing ball into road springs to mind.) Then there is of course the ability to 'see' events in peripheral vision, and being able to reason a safe manouevre to negate the hazard.
In the case of the guy and the lorry wheel, why was he taken by surprise? Was he driving too fast for the relevant conditions? (Bend in road, brow of hill etc.) Now that he has seen a hazard he could not predict, maybe he will 'put it down to experience' and learn from it, or curse the fact it was there, and file the episode in WPB13?
Unfortunately, I do not believe that the education of drivers is good enough, and the 'mindset' of some people will never allow them to become good drivers, as they just blunder their way through life with no regard to anyone else. An example of this would be to count how many times I have started to slow for pedestrians at a zebra crossing, only to have the guy behind pull out and accelerate through the crossing, narrowly missing people using the crossing. Probably never seeing either the people or the crossing.
Your driver overtaking at the crossing was probably muttering about the silly old sod crawling along...
It appears we are looking in a similar direction with regard to driving; the driving test really does little more than prove a new driver knows how to take the handbrake off. Most of the restrictions on young drivers have gone, it is now almost a right not something to be earned in terms of maturity and financially, also modern cars are much better in a safety sense, when mistakes are made they tend to be more serious.
Driving is such an emotive subject, (due I think to firstly the macho connection and the dross churned out be the road safety lobby and the media) it is difficult to discuss without any comments being taken personally, rather than being seen as an opportunity to share experience.
Then we look of the limitations of the human being as a driver, again an emotive subject but if drivers take the trouble to recognise them, it is possible to compensate.
I see a connection with teaching people to write (simple) computer programs and driving, the one thing students have the most trouble with is, any mistake in a program is attributable to the writer and no one else.