With great driving comes great responsibility. Follow these 10 safety tips for a trouble-free drive every time.
1. Stay Focussed
They don’t call it the driver’s seat for nothing. Being behind the wheel of a machine requires undivided attention and presence. It’s a great practice in being completely mindful in the moment. On a long stretch of road, one tends to daydream and become complacent. Try to keep your mind actively engaged by paying attention to the scenery. Car games may seem like a distraction, but keeping it related to events on the road will help.
2. Be Aware
Keep in mind, driving is not a self-centered act. You are driving for others. When doing so, it’s important to know your fellow motorist. The longer you drive, the more experience you gain to help differentiate between different driver personalities and behaviors, and better predict what another driver may do before they do it. Turning without indicating first, or driving through a red light are some of the behaviors you can learn to predict and prepare for with careful observation.
3. Know Your Vehicle
As a driver, your vehicle is an extension of yourself. A sound driver needs a sound car. Familiarize yourself with the basics of roadworthy maintenance. The AAA sets the international standard for roadworthiness. Even without a membership, their website provides helpful advice to keep you safe on the road.
4. Remove all Distractions
Luxury car brands are constantly updating gadgetry on their newer models. If you’re going the gadget route on a new car, opt for a vehicle with the latest safety features instead of the latest in screen entertainment. Encourage all passengers to use their car voices when communicating – clear, even and calm. Keep your music, GPS and phone engagement handsfree at all times. Failure to do this will at best, get you a hefty fine on most roads around the world, and at worst, well…
5. Always be three moves ahead
Remaining hyper-vigilant means, you are completely engaged when a sudden change occurs on the road. However, being prepared for those changes is what makes all the difference in the moment. While driving, keep regular checks on all mirrors and make a note of anything that may be cause for concern. While doing so, evaluate your ability to avoid the worst-case scenario should things suddenly take a turn. Keep a good following distance between you and neighboring vehicles, and avoid traveling in the adjacent blind spot. Always have an exit strategy.
6. Drive Safe
This is more than just a well-wish to travelers. All the decisions you make behind the wheel should be primarily motivated by that old adage ‘safety first’. Whether the choice is premeditated or in the moment, always choose the safest option. Contrary to popular belief, the driver’s seat is no place for ego, so leave that at home.
7. Stay on the Defensive
This is not a campaign for road-rage. Quite the opposite. Defensive driving asks that drivers remain calm, maintain moderate speed and avoid confrontational behavior at all cost. If you notice aggressive driving, report it if you have to, and stay clear.
8. Know your limit
As with vehicle roadworthiness, ensure you are in optimum condition to drive or don’t. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t drive when starting a new medication. Don’t drive when tired. When driving long distance, be sure to stop every 90 minutes to 2 hours to stretch and refresh. Don’t push beyond your limit.
9. Curb your need for speed
It can be tempting to throw caution to the wind, but driving at high speeds immediately and drastically reduces your ability to predict and react effectively and safely in the event of the unexpected. Is the thrill really worth it? Rather maintain a healthy speed and arrive at your destination safely. For those who crave the rush, racetracks rent time where you can drive it out of your system.
10. Seatbelts are not suggestions
In all things driven, always wear your seatbelt. The belt is your lifeline in a life-threatening situation. Make it a rule that all passengers in your car strap in securely before even starting the engine. It’s a great habit and will be one less thing for the driver to worry about once the journey begins.