Be a better driver, please

Thursday September 30 2021
auto02pix
By Mustafa Ziraba

Over the last few days I have driven past several fellow drivers involved in accidents, most of them minor.

Fortunately, reasonable drivers always shake hands and move on if the accident dent is inconsequential.

Unfortunately to some, particularly the injured party, there’s no such thing as a minor accident. 

The thing is, no one ever plans on getting into an accident, and sadly most of us, men specifically, are over-confident in our driving ability.

If you spend enough time behind the wheel, sooner or later the odds just don’t play in your favour. Here are a few tips to help raise the odds in your favour.

Do not drive side tracked. Probably whoever taught you the art rammed this in to death, but people still aren’t getting the message.

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If you text, check email, eat, read, watch a video apply makeup or even talk on phone, sooner or later you will have an accident.

If you’re lucky, it will be a minor one with no serious repercussions.

 If you are not lucky, well, you can imagine the rest.

Make sure your car is mechanically sound. Many officers on the roads sometimes after the standard and fairly mysterious check on your insurance move to asserting your car is a DMC.

While this is subjective, it’s not in vain. Over 50 percent of accidents on the highway are because of DMCs.

Replacing worn out tyres is quite expensive, but you know what can be exponentially more expensive than new tyres? Causing an accident.

Most drivers fixate on the car in front of them in traffic. If it has to stop suddenly, guess what?

Chances are good that you are driving right into his rear bumper.

In traffic, always try to look two or three car lengths ahead of you and keep a safe braking distance, which buys you more time to take evasive action if necessary.

If you cannot see around the car or truck in front of you, increase your braking distance.

Just pretend everyone else on the road is trying to knock you so always have an escape route. Even in the usual event when another driver decides to indicate before turning, it’s usually in the wrong direction.

Assume that everyone has no idea what they are doing, that they will forget to indicate and that they will easily run you off the road. You won’t be far from the truth.

Speed. Well speed is thrilling and Jeremy Clarkson said it best; “speed has never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary, that’s what gets you”.

But we can all agree that it’s better to keep away from driving beyond your ability and car’s ability, regardless of speed. Being short of those two fundamentals is what gets many.

No matter how experienced you are, there are some basic rules you should always follow to keep yourself and fellow drivers safe. Always wear your seatbelt, no matter how familiar the surroundings or short the trip is. Fact is our roads are clogged with distracted, texting, inexperienced people pretending to drive but really just aimlessly pointing their cars.

You do not have to be one of them. A lot of safe driving comes down to common sense, but that’s in short supply these days.

Never trust another driver (unless you know them) and always anticipate the most big-headed move possible from drivers around you.

Look further ahead

If you’re staring at the car in front, you have no idea what’s happening further up the road. Scanning the road up to 12 seconds ahead will give you an enormous amount of extra time to anticipate and react to dangers, and goes a long way to eliminating nose-to-tail accidents where you run into the back of the vehicle in front of you. Looking further ahead also saves you fuel and reduces wear and tear on your brakes because you can begin to adjust your speed much earlier.

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