Be a better driver, for your sake and for those around you. Here are 5 ways to improve your driving during the holiday period...
Let's be honest, South Africans are terrible drivers. Not a day goes by without seeing a taxi blatantly stopping in the middle of the road, or someone chatting away on a cell phone while driving, or someone speeding across a red robot, or someone smashing a beer behind the wheel. The list of common daily driving offences goes on forever. The reality is that driving in South Africa is extremely dangerous and thousands of people die unnecessarily on South African roads every year. With the holiday season upon us, poor driving and an increase in accidents are likely.
Although there are many reasons for accidents occurring on our roads, more often than not, people are to blame. People and their wayward actions cause accidents and that's no accident. Speeding, drunk driving, lack of respect for the rules of the road or other road users and negligence are common causes of accidents in South Africa. All is not lost, the power lies with you and there is much you can do to become a better driver. With the holiday season upon us, we have compiled 5 simple ways to become a better driver and make the roads safer for yourself and those around you.
Five ways to become a better driver
1. Take an Advanced Driving Course
Advanced driving courses aren't just about track time and setting fast laps. Knowing how to handle your car in slippery conditions, the correct way to hold the steering wheel and what to do in a panic situation are all key outcomes of a good advanced driving course. Having the skills to deal with difficult situations that may arise will stand you in good stead should something ever arise requiring drastic action.
2. Avoid Distractions
When you get the behind the wheel to drive, focus on driving only. Eating, drinking, texting, changing music and controlling your kids in the backseat, amongst other things, are all distractions that can cost you your life and the lives of others. Make sure that you create a distraction-free environment before driving. Hook your phone up to the in-car Bluetooth so it doesn't distract you, if you don't have one rather pull off the road, please. Don't text and drive, if you get a message rather let a passenger deal with it or wait until your next stop. Read this to find out how to avoid distracted driving.
3. Be Patient
Being a patient driver can go a long way in ensuring your safety and the safety of others. Traffic congestion is a reality on South African roads and the sooner you accept it and adopt a patient approach to driving, the better driver you will be. Impatient drivers tend to make irrational decisions with potentially fatal consequences. Rather relax and enjoy the drive. Patience, after all, is a virtue.
4. Obey the Rules of the Road
You're not a hero, so don't try to be one. By obeying the rules of the road you ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. Always drive within the speed limit and maintain a safe following distance from the car ahead of you and remember to ALWAYS BUCKLE UP! Get back to basics and whatever you do, don't drink and drive, save that beer for when you get home.
5. Be a Courteous Driver
Don't deliberately hold other road users up, the more courteous you are on the road the less upset other drivers are and that decreases the chances of a road-rage breakout. Being cautious and alert while driving will make you a better driver. Always keep your eyes moving, check your mirrors often and be on the lookout for obstacles on the road. Adjust your speed according to the flow of traffic and always be aware of changing traffic situations up ahead.
Bonus Tip: Take your time
You're on holiday, so take your time to get you and your family to your destination safely. There's no rush! Plan ahead and rest often when driving long distances. Most of all, enjoy the journey!