We’d all like to think that we’re safe drivers, but with road accidents being a leading cause of death in South Africa, it makes sense to get all the information you can on road safety. That’s where we come in. We’ve gathered the top eight driving tips in order to help make your journeys safer. Whatever the weather, wherever you’re going, drive safely with these road safety tips!
Have a Roadworthy Vehicle
Coming in at number one on our list of safety tips is something that many people might not think about or might think is obvious: you can’t drive safely if your vehicle isn’t safe. Sure, you get your car inspected, but with a year between inspections there’s plenty that could go wrong. Something as simple as uneven tyre pressure or broken windscreen wipers can cause accidents and therefore it’s crucial that you to keep up with your car maintenance schedule, and be sure to visit the garage at the first sign of something unusual. Just imagine driving in the rain with faulty windscreen wipers and not being able to see the way. Based on recent statistics, one third of accidents involve viewing issues such as cracked windscreens, foggy windscreens (caused by problems with the cars heat) or faulty windscreen wipers.
Take Care When Driving in the Rain
A sudden downpour can make roads extremely dangerous as has many of the same risks as driving on the ice. Things it even more dangerous when it’s the first few rains of the season, because that is when all the oils absorbed by the road surface making the roads even more slippery. So, what should you do in a cloudburst? Slow down, avoid braking suddenly and keep much larger gaps between you and the cars in front of you. Also, try avoid those oil puddles, even though these are often very hard to spot.
Practise Defensive Driving
The best way to avoid an accident is to drive ‘defensively’. What does this mean? Driving Defensively is a new road term used for describing safe driving. It means keeping to basic rules such as not speeding, not driving under the influence, and keeping a safe driving distance between you and the vehicle in front. Aggressive drivers cause accidents, so as the T-Shirt states: ‘stay calm’
Driving at Night? Be Sure to Follow These Steps
Most of us know that driving drunk is a bad idea, but do you know that driving whilst tired is just as dangerous? The reason for this is that when you are tired/drowsy, your response time is much slower, making the drive more dangerous. Additionally, you stand a much higher chance of falling asleep at the wheel. Add to this the fact that most people have impaired vision at night. Combine all these together, and the risks go way up. So, how do you combat all these risks? Luckily, this isn’t hard to do: Make sure that you are well rested before long night drives, stop for a coffee or small snack (avoid heavy meals), open the window and get some fresh air (don’t use heavy heating for too long), increase the gaps from the cars around you and of course, drive slower.
Driving in the Snow Takes Practice
South Africa isn’t known for its snowy conditions, which means you might not have much practice when it comes to driving in the snow. If you think that you’re going to need to drive in snow, then be aware that it takes practice and is completely different to driving in other conditions. You’ll need to drive slowly and use your brakes sparingly. It is advised that if you need to break suddenly, do not hit the brakes and keep them down (especially in older vehicles) but rather tap the breaks on/off repeatedly. In newer car models, the car itself usually ‘knows’ to this itself. Also, check if your car has a specific driving mode for snow. If possible, and assuming you intend to drive in snowy conditions often, consider taking an advanced driving course (see below).
Take an Advanced Driving Course
Okay, you passed your driving test, but an advanced driving course can make you a much safer driver. These courses often specialise in things such as driving in bad weather conditions, and if you’re a frequent driver then adding an advanced driving course to your skill set can be very valuable indeed. If not for safety reasons, these courses are usually very fun and exciting, so we advise doing them anyway.
Driving in Water? Watch for Wet Brakes
Summer weather often means lots of rain, and whilst you might be watching your speed and driving as safely as you know how, a hidden danger could be the cause of your accident. When brakes get wet they can work unevenly, can “grip” tyres, or even fail altogether. If you’re driving in wet conditions then you’ll need to watch out for this. Avoid driving through deep puddles if possible, and if you think your brakes might be wet then apply gentle pressure on them for a kilometre or so to heat them up and dry them out.
Be Prepared and Informed
Being prepared simply makes you a better driver. What does that mean? That means having the appropriate equipment in your car to do things such as test tyre pressure, having equipment in case of emergencies (such as a first aid box), and having a full tank of petrol and plenty of water and oil. It can also mean knowing where you’re going. If you’re in a new area, check out directions first, rather than trying to read a map or listen to a GPS whilst you’re driving.
Finally, an informed driver is a good driver. Find out as much as possible about weather conditions, traffic conditions and other important things before you leave home. If you’re travelling in an unfamiliar area or country then make sure you know the rules of the road before you leave. And if you’re in an unfamiliar car, check out functions such as how to turn on the headlights before you drive off!
By following our driving tips you’ll be a far safer driver. Not only that, but safe drivers have lower car insurance premiums too! That sounds like a win-win situation to us!
Other Interesting Posts
How to Pay Traffic Fines
Have you received a notice that you have traffic fines to pay? Do you plan ...read more
How to Sell a Car
If you browse the classifieds, you might be surprised at how many “car for sale” ...read more