CHICDRIVEN

Driving situations women fear

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When I was 16, I learned how to drive under the instruction of my father and older brother. I didn’t go to any driving school, but I learned how to drive.

I learned in a manual transmission car without any driver aids that people are enjoying now (parking sensors, backup cams, self parking).

In my mind, I was a good driver, but I had my shortcomings. I would go around the long way just to avoid any hanging intersections, and I would never, ever overtake (I had an accident where our family driver passed a car and hit an oncoming truck).

Then I met my husband in college who happened to be a racecar driver; he slowly tried to make me a better driver (and still at it after 20 years) by addressing and teaching me the things I hate or fear the most when driving.

So here I am sharing what I have learned.

Uphill driving (hanging)

Not so much of a problem, now that we have automatic cars, but for those driving manual, it’s scary.

I learned how to use the handbrake in this situation.

1. When the vehicle is about to stop, press on the brake pedal and put your car in neutral.

2. While still stepping on the brake pedal, engage the handbrake and release the brake pedal.

3. When it’s time to go, step on the clutch and engage the first gear.

4. Slowly disengage the handbrake, while applying steady pressure on the gas pedal and releasing the clutch. The operative word here is slow.

5. When your car starts moving, disengage entirely the handbrake and release the clutch fully.

Overtaking

Every time you see a review of a vehicle, torque is mentioned. Torque is the sudden burst of power when you step on the gas pedal, which is vital in overtaking.

Here are some tips:

1. First, make sure that passing is allowed. Check the lines on the road. If it’s a continuous line, it means no overtaking. But if the lines are broken, it is allowed.

There will be instances that one side has a broken line, while the other is continuous. This mean overtaking is allowed on the side of the broken lines.

2. Never overtake on a blind corner or when approaching a bridge.

Park beside the space and see if you fit. There should at least half a car’s length to comfortably park

3. Check if there is a car behind you and signal before overtaking, not while overtaking. He might be attempting to overtake you ask well.

4. Don’t tailgate the car in front of you. Leave ample space for you to see the road ahead or to stop when something happens.

5. Use the space between you and the car in front (about 2-3 car lengths) to gain momentum to overtake.

Merging into a bus lane to turn

The problem in our country is that there is a bus lane, but buses don’t stay there.

So, to successfully transfer to the bus lane without being trampled on, you need to:

1. Give sufficient distance from where you plan to turn or merge, maybe around 100-150 meters depending on the speed of the buses on the lane you are trying enter.

2. Always use your signal. Buses have blind spots so it is important they see you before you try to merge.

3. Look for an opening, and slowly inch your way into it. Don’t do this abruptly because buses need a longer braking distance and might just hit you if you don’t give them enough space or catch them by surprise.

Parallel parking

Here are some tips to make parallel parking easier:

1. Check if you fit by going side by side with the space. You will need about half a car space in front of your car and back for you to slide in easily.

2. Use your power side mirrors on the passenger side, and point it down to see your wheels and the sidewalk.

3. Invest in a parking sensor and/or camera. Why give yourself a hard time?

4. Consider where you park when buying a car. If you need to park on the side of the street, get a smaller car.

Driving at night

Safety is the primary concern while driving at night. In our household, we made some rules, some of which are:

1. Identify roads on your way home that are hazardous or notorious for incidents.

For example, don’t pass C5 after 10 p.m., especially if you are alone.

2. Don’t pass small service roads. During the wee hours of the night, service roads that have residential and small establishments lined up will probably have some drunk patrons and or road users.

3. Always tell your friends to check on you and vice versa.

4. Never drive drunk. You can take an Uber or Grab, ride with a friend, or call Lifeline’s 16911 services. The latter drives your car home with you for more or less P500.

They say you fear things you don’t know. Sometimes, the fear is founded, and sometimes you just need practice.

Happy driving!



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