Keeping safe driving habits
Everyday we get into our cars, start our engines and drive off without ever giving things much thought. While driving should feel natural, light and easy for everyone (through proper techniques), in reality, driving is a very conscious effort that requires much concentration, awareness and alertness.
Here are some tips to make sure we are always safe when driving.
1. Before getting into your car, circle around, check for low-lying obstacles and obstructions such as rocks, stones, children’s toys like bicycles and strollers, small animals, or worse, unattended children.
If you are in a dangerous environment, it’s a good idea to detect bad elements hovering near the car and trying to rob or assault you, or steal your vehicle and its contents.
2. Once you have ascertained your safety, get in, lock the doors first, fasten your seatbelt, adjust your seating position, steering wheel and side view/rear view mirrors to your preferred setting.
3. Before starting the engine, ensure that the transmission lever is in neutral if it’s a manual, or if it’s an automatic, in park position.
Step on both clutch and brake pedals (where applicable), then start your engine.
4. Before moving off, plot your destination first, send whatever text messages you will send, or finish your mobile phone calls first.
5. If moving off in the evening or in covered/dark parking areas regardless of time, always turn on your headlights first to alert other motorists and pedestrians of your presence.
6. If you’re on a multilevel carpark with blind corners, always remember that cars going up will have the right of way.
Always leave space for cars going up on ramp entrances and exits.
7. Start driving away slowly but surely so you develop your natural driving rhythm.
Rushing causes accidents. On the other hand, driving too slowly because you’re distracted by your mobile phone or adjusting your seating position and side/rear view mirrors agitates motorists behind you, and could cause an accident or traffic altercation.
8. Always stick to your lane, and in between the lines on the road.
9. When approaching an intersection to make a turn, signal your intent at least a good 50 meters prior, and stick to that lane, don’t straddle two lanes or jump the line, which can block the intersection.
10. When you see the yellow light flash especially in a slow-moving queue on the intersection, don’t force it.
Stop before the yellow-box area or intersection so you don’t block the road.
11. We all think we have the right of way, but it is better if we always yield the right of way to avoid accidents.
12. Slow down on hairpin turns and blind corners even if it’s a one-way road. Something might be obstructing your lane past the corner, and could cause an accident.
13. Likewise, slow down on undulating/camel-back/rolling roads. There might be an obstacle blocking you, and could also cause an accident.
14. When it starts raining, turn on your wipers and your headlights. It’s not just for you to see better; it’s for other people to see you better, particularly on the highway where the spray of rainwater from the road and tires can really impede vision.
Do not turn on your hazard lights. If the rain is so strong such that you cannot see anymore, stop driving, park your car in a safe place, and wait it out.
15. Before turning or switching lanes, turn on your signal lights first, wait a few seconds to make sure it’s safe to turn or switch lanes, and check your side view and rear view mirrors before executing the maneuver.
16. Be a conscientious driver. Don’t hog the road, don’t double park, or do anything that can impede the free flow of traffic.
Drive right at the maximum allowed speed limit. This allows you to get to your destination and out of the roads with a more fuel-efficient drive, and helps in decongesting traffic earlier.
17. Always ensure your vehicle is in tip-top shape. Breaking down on the road can happen, but we can minimize this possibility by ensuring our cars are always in excellent condition.
A breakdown on the road will inconvenience people.
18. Don’t drive when you’re emotional, angry or distracted. Don’t drive when you’re tired or sleepy, under the influence of alcohol, etc.
Sleep, rest, or take the public transport. It’s not just your life you’re risking, but the lives of many others as well.
19. On the highway, don’t hog the innermost overtaking lane. Remember, if you decide to stay on the innermost overtaking lane, you should constantly be overtaking the vehicles on your right, even if it means you are driving above the speed limit.
If you are staying at exactly or simply within the speed limit, you shouldn’t be driving for prolonged periods on the innermost lane.
20. Always give way to emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks, police and military vehicles.
Move to the side of the road, give them as much space as possible, and do not tail-gate or piggy-back behind these vehicles.
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