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Safe driving tips

Safe tips and tricks

These are some tips on driving safely. Remember, not everyone on the road is a licensed driver, people take chances and you should automatically assume that the guy in the other car may be reckless, tired or incompetent. Therefore, you should always use defensive driving, stick to the rules of the road, and arrive allive.

Never Drive When:

  • You have consumed alcohol
  • You are under the influence of drugs or medication that will negatively influence your reaction time
  • You are tired
  • If there is something wrong with your vehicle, like worn tyres, mechanical defects, etc.

Pre-Trip Inspection:

This might seem like a nuisance that is just used at the testing station, but is in fact a very important factor, especially when taking on a long trip, and should in my personal opinion be done for every trip if your car is older than 5 years.

Inside Your Car:

  • Make sure all your doors are closed properly and locked. Ensure there are no valuable items visible from the outside of the car. Rather stow them in you boot or under the seat. You don't want to invoke a "smash and grab"
  • Make sure there are not loose items on the floor of your car, like cans, bottles or balls that might roll under the pedals and prevent you from breaking when required, or otherwise impede the function of your pedals

On The Road:

Pay attention to the road surface

  • Oily spots or loose gravel on the tar can be slippery
  • News paper, plastic bags etc. that blows up on your windscreen can obscure your view of the road
  • If they get stuck to your vents or radiator grill it can cause your car to overheat
  • Always be sure you can see well ahead and around your car
  • Be on the lookout for debris that might have fallen from bakkies or trucks, like refuse or tyre linings
  • Look out for pot-holes, especially if you are driving in unfamiliar areas

Pay attention to other road users:

  • Stay alert, and be prepared to react to the unexpected. When reacting, make sure you do so in the safest possible way, for instance, if you have to swerve for an animal that jumped in front of your vehicle, don't swerve into the oncoming traffic
  • Never drive in another vehicle's blind spot
  • Never race other motorists on public roads
  • When changing lanes, remember that the distance looks bigger in your mirror than what it actually is
  • Take care when overtaking, always remember that vehicles might be traveling at a greater speed than it seems at first glance
  • Anticipate the mistakes of other road users
  • At an intersection, don't assume other drivers will yield

In General:

  • Alway keep a safe following distance. You need at least a three-second distance between you and the car ahead. Add an additional second for every exterior condition you encounter. ie bad road conditions, rain, fog, etc.
  • Never use your cell phone while driving unless you have a hands-free kit. Even then, make sure it does not interfere with your driving
  • Never let a passenger distract you
  • Don't fiddle with your radio or GPS when driving