Your car may well be sleek, fast and amazing. It could also be a lethal weapon in the wrong hands. Make sure those hands are not yours by regularly checking on your ability to drive safely.
It is a fact that when we pass our tests, we have very little experience. In theory it is possible to get behind the wheel of a powerful car never having driven at night. It is possible to be a perfectly legal driver without ever having driven in ice, sleet, fog or snow. A city driver may well be inexperienced in driving down narrow country lanes.
The truth is we could all use an update of our driving skills now and again. We all need a reminder of how to drive safely. Here are some tips to refresh the excellent and considerate and safe driver in you.
There is a worrying statistic that says most drivers are only concentrating 25% of the time! That is slightly alarming if you think that means 75% of the time we are not. What then are we doing?
Distractions are everywhere. The modern day menace that springs to mind is the mobile phone. Naturally enough it’s use while driving is a major distraction.There is no excuse for this. How many people do you see who are unable to resist taking or making a call? Handsfree or Bluetooth is the way to go. Of course phones are not the only distractions.
We need to focus on our concentration and not allow outside interferences to take our focus off the moment. That could be something as simple as loud music. We’ve all heard those cars approaching. The ones with the heavy bass pounding or loud music blaring. It is a fact that this kind of distraction takes away from the driver’s awareness of what is going on. High music volume encourages greater speed.
Sat Nav seems like a simple solution to getting somewhere. The reality is, as many of know, they are not always as accurate as we’d like them to be. They also affect our focus and concentration.
The trouble is we focus on the instructions and not on the driving. The sat nav has no idea about the conditions or how close the car in front or behind you is.
Sometimes there is a delay in the sat nav response and we have to react too quickly, turning to the right or left. Satnav has to be taken with a pinch of salt. You come first and your assessment of the situation is paramount. If a road or a turning looks wrong, or it is dangerous to manoeuvre, don’t take it.
Distractions can be everywhere. They are in the scenery and on the billboards. They are in the sweet packets and the coffee cups. They are in the cigarettes and even in the water bottles. try and stay focused at all times on the road.
Looking around is one thing, being observant is another. We have to constantly be adapting to the situation. That situation is changing all the time. Adjust your speed and keep your distance. You’ll have heard of the two-second rule. If you haven’t, it is simply a guideline for driving distances. In normal driving conditions allow two seconds worth of space between you and the car in front. Measure it by a mark on the side of the road. This distance should be doubled when the conditions change. That means in fog, rain or at night. If things are worse than this, then you should allow even more time. This applies to ice or snow, or even a heavy downpour.
You should understand and know your braking distances. Adjust your speed accordingly. The risk of fatalities is directly linked to the speed you are travelling. It has often been said that speed signs are not targets and it is a good idea to remember that. The best thing you can do is to allow space between you and any other vehicle.
That extends to the sides of vehicles as well at those in front or behind. Try not drive immediately alongside vans or trucks. Both will have a blind spot and won’t be able to see you at certain moments. Back off and stay visible. If another vehicle is parallel to you, adjust your speed to stagger yourself and stay aware of other road users. We have all been subject to cars that approach is too close from behind. Always try and anticipate situations. If you can see it, you can avoid it.
Allow more time
Allowing more time for your journey will mean less chance of you making mistakes. The vast majority of accidents happen in towns and built up areas. If you leave more time for your journey you’ll be less stressed and less willing to take chances. There are going to be a lot more pedestrians, bikes and cars in London than in a small village. So make sure you remember to account for the traffic.
Look after your car
Some basic maintenance and good driving habits can make your journey safer. Ensure your fuel is topped up rather than running your tank down low. Check your lights from time to time. This means the main headlights but also includes the indicators, fog lights, tail lights and sidelights.
Check your oil and fluid levels and make sure you keep your radiator filled with water. It’s amazing how quickly a dirty windscreen can obscure your view, so make sure that you wipers and washers are working correctly.
Tyres are the palm print that connect you to the road. If you have worn tyres your ability to brake is going to be severely restricted. This is especially true in the wet when your will essentially be aquaplaning on water. It is vital that your tyres are fit for the job. That means checking the depth of your tread and the noticing any wear on the surface of the tyre.
Take an advanced driving skills course.
One way you can ensure you are up the job of driving your car is to undergo a course in advanced driving skills. This is not just about safety. A course like this will give you greater confidence and will enhance your enjoyment of your car. It will help you learn how to navigate hazards and deal with unexpected situations. Naturally you want to best driver you can, and the truth is an accident does not have to be your fault. Being a safe driver is also about being an aware driver. Be a safer driver and enjoy your driving your car for all the right reasons.
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