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7 Habits to Stay Sharp and Improve Your Driving

  • Tips/Guides-Tips/Guides

It has been said that driving a car is like handling a loaded weapon. Most car accidents are not “accidents” at all but rather the result of driver misbehaviour. 


Let’s all make a concerted effort to banish crashes on the road, once and for all. Check out these benefits:

  1. Save on unnecessary stress and anxiety
  2. Save on unnecessary repairs
  3. Save on unnecessary injury
  4. Save on unnecessary medical bills
  5. Save on unnecessary insurance claims
  6. Save on unnecessary insurance excess payment
  7. Save on unnecessary time wastage
  8. Save on unnecessary trips to the cop station
  9. Save on all the unnecessary annoying inconveniences that go with car accidents
  10. Save on a potential unnecessary loss of life or lives
  11. Save everyone else a traffic jam and late appointments

Amazing isn't it? What a difference the roads will be if we all practice a little of each habit each day we get out onto the roads.

Tips to be a better driver

1. Get back to basics

After we've been driving for a while there's a tendency to start becoming sloppy. For some reason, we start to ignore road rules. Simple basics that take hardly any effort are tossed out the window.

Not only can we tidy up our tardy practical driving habits but we could also brush up on our knowledge of safety regulations and traffic laws. Indicating a turn, coming to a full stop at a Stop sign, slowing down at a yield, and slowing down at an amber light. Yes, almost all of us are guilty of speeding up instead, aren't we?

Remember: Traffic rules are there for safety reasons, to AVOID accidents!

2. Scan the road

It's necessary to have eyes at the back and sides of your head when driving, but fortunately, since these are lacking we have side and rearview mirrors to aid us. Check those mirrors every 5 seconds so that you're aware of all the cars around you and not just the ones in front.

Remember: Be awake and aware

3. Keep your distance

You know the rules. Two car lengths and preferably four seconds between you and the car in front of you. Yes, we know, it's a race to the front, and why would you leave space if the other cars are just going to sneak into the gap? Well, firstly, it isn't a race, ever. Secondly, you'd be surprised how little time getting to your destination, if any, you lose. And thirdly, your brakes will thank you.

Drive in a smooth manner and you'll look uber-cool because everyone will see that you're in total control.

Remember: There are no prizes for being first

Also read:How speed influences car accidents

4. Avoid tailgating

Related to Keeping Your Distance, following too closely to the vehicle in front without sufficient distance for you to brake without causing a collision if the vehicle in front suddenly applies brakes is an extremely dangerous practice. No one likes having another vehicle on their tail, it's a little like having your personal space invaded, which can lead to anxiety and aggression. Two emotions that we must aim to keep off the road. entirely.

Remember: Do unto others as you would them do unto you.

5. Understand your car's safety features and limitations

You might think the safety and new tech features of your vehicle will keep you ultra-safe. None of it is foolproof, so no, it won't. For example, get to understand:

  • ABS – not just what it stands for (anti-lock braking system) but what it does and doesn't do.
    • It helps prevent wheels from locking up – possibly allowing the driver to steer to safety.
    • It does notshorten stopping distance.
  • Brake Assist – it adds additional braking power to your car during emergency stops, but it won't help you if you're not paying attention.

Remember: You still need to keep a safe following distance from vehicles ahead of you as you drive. You still need to be awake and aware.

6. Plan your route and get to know your way beforehand

When we know our route towards a particular destination well we can concentrate on the road and the traffic. When we’re unsure of an unfamiliar route and rely totally on the voice and image on our GPS system, our attention is split. Just like ABS, brake assist, or any other technology, GPS is not perfect and can sometimes lead you up the garden path. While not as dangerous as texting or talking on your cell phone, if you’re trying to operate the app while driving, it is as dangerous.

Familiarise yourself with the route before taking off, note landmarks, direction, visualise it in your head, and then by all means let the app guide you.

Also read:Are your driving habits making you a risk on the road?

7. Be a smooth operator

No one likes to sit in a car with a jerky driver. Stop-start driving is a real fuel-guzzling habit that could waste up to 30% of this non-renewable resource. Anticipate the road ahead, and adjust your speed accordingly.  Don’t rush up to the junction unless you're in a race to get to the traffic lights first, whatever colour they may be. But…

Remember: It's never a race.

8. Invest in an advanced driving course

And when all is said and done, taking a refresher course (if you’re still a newbie) or an advanced driving courseif you’re an experienced driver, is a worthy investment towards self-empowerment.

Remember: No matter how long you have been driving, you’re not an expert until you are.

Read next:

Most road accidents can be prevented: Fact or fallacy?

The benefits of an advanced driving course

So you think you're a skilful driver?

Vehicle safety technology (news)

Disclaimer: This information is for educational, or entertainment purposes only. It must not be construed as advice, legal, financial, or otherwise. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information.


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