As a car owner, you have a responsibility to be a cautious driver to ensure your safety as well as the safety of other road users. But how exactly can you practise safe driving? Since you’re reading this article, you’re already doing the first step which is educating yourself about driving safely. In this post, we’ve gathered ten useful tips you can apply whenever you’re out on the road.
1.Avoid Distractions While Driving
When drivers are distracted, they are more likely to get into an accident. Distractions are not just using your mobile phone for texting or calling but can also be playing loud music while you’re driving. This can cause longer reaction times and you might not be able to change your driving speed when you have to, leading to a possible collision with another vehicle.
Another cause of distractions among drivers is relying too much on satellite navigation. Sat navs are there to help drivers, however, depending on them rather than being fully aware of what’s really happening on the road can be dangerous. Take priority over what you’re seeing over what the sat nav tells you.
2.Maintain a Safe Distance
Having enough distance between you and the vehicle in front of you is crucial in making sure you don’t crash into it. Maintaining a safe distance means you will have sufficient time to react in case something goes wrong. When the weather conditions are bad like during heavy rain, fog, or snow, it’s even more important to keep a safe distance from other vehicles.
3.Keep the Two-second Rule
On good days, make sure that you are at least two seconds away from the car in front. The distance should be doubled when there is low visibility on the road. This includes driving at night, light fog, light rain or when it’s snowing. If the weather conditions are worse, then be at least eight seconds away from the vehicle in front of you.
4.Follow Speed Limits
One of the obvious reasons why drivers break the speed limit is because they are in a hurry to get to their destination. Don’t be this kind of driver. You can easily avoid this by giving yourself enough time to prepare for your trip. When you allocate time for your journey, be sure that there’s sufficient allowance for stopping at traffic lights, being stuck in traffic, and other factors that may affect your schedule.
5.Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Driving requires you to be attentive and focused. On the road, everything is moving so you need to always be ready for changes and adapt accordingly. It's best to keep your eye on what's happening on the road ahead as far as you can see, rather than just the vehicle in front! Also, make use of your side mirrors and rear-view mirrors to check what’s happening in your immediate surroundings, including behind you, especially before you manoeuvre to overtake for example.
Observe the light signals or other cars and don’t forget to use your own whenever you need to change lanes, for example. Also, look for road signs, traffic lights, speed limit signs, and others so you can anticipate the condition of the road and make the right adjustments.
6.Check Road Markings
Signs and road markings are vital to the safety of drivers. Road improvements are usually there because of collisions that have happened in that area. Be alert whenever you see road markings, slow down, and keep a safe distance from the car in front. If the road you’re taking has plenty of road signs, then the riskier it is so be extra careful.
7.Do Not Use Your Mobile Phone
It is against the law to use your mobile phone while you’re driving. It is a major cause of distraction that could put your life and the lives of other road users at risk. It’s also not allowed to use your phone when your vehicle is not moving but your engine is running. An exemption to this is if the phone is in hands-free mode. If you’re caught driving while using your mobile phone, you could be fined and you will also receive three penalty points on your licence.
8.Get Your Eyes Checked Regularly
Visit your optician every couple of years to make sure that your eyesight is fine and you can safely drive without worrying about issues with your vision. If you need to wear prescription glasses, see to it that you use them whenever you’re behind the wheel. In case your eyesight has gotten worse and you are no longer able to see clearly while driving, it’s best to surrender your licence and stay safe.
9.Avoid Driving While Tired
Driving when you’re tired or sleepy is just as dangerous as drunk driving. If you feel tired, try to stop at a cafe and drink a caffeinated beverage to perk you up. You can also try walking around for about five minutes so you can stretch your legs and get some fresh air. In case you’re absolutely exhausted, then it might be wise to find a place to take a nap.
10.Get Your Car Serviced
Of course, the condition of your car is important in keeping you safe while driving. Get your car serviced regularly and not just when something’s wrong. This also helps in preventing your vehicle from breaking down and costing you time and money.
There are things like changing fluids and checking tyre pressures that you can do yourself. If you’re not very familiar with checking your car’s engine or changing tyres, find a trusted garage to help you. Even if you spend some money on it, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that an expert checked and fixed your vehicle. 👍