Brian Joss – As many motorists return to work and consequently a morning commute, they may once again face traffic congestion that they have not seen for almost a month.
Thus, it is time to employ the same driving skills that helped you arrive at work or home safely each day, that you did last year. Here are some refresher tips on these skills.
According to the managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, defensive driving remains the ultimate way to remain safe on the roads. “Defensive driving teaches you to be prepared to immediately ‘defend’ yourself and other road users from threats on the road. It teaches you to be prepared for every eventuality.”
Awareness: Always be aware of your surroundings and drive with forward vision of 12 to 15 seconds. “If you know what other drivers are doing at all times it puts you in a better position to take evasive action before their actions become a problem. By being aware of more than just the car in front of yourself, you also ensure you have more than enough time to react to hazards.
Driving techniques: The next is to drive using techniques that help you avoid dangerous situations. “An example of this is leaving an adequate following distance that accounts for the driving conditions. Another is to have an escape plan. Whether you are sitting stationary at a robot or driving on the highway, never box yourself in. If the unexpected happens, you should have room to escape.”
Focus: Your attention should be focused 100% on the roads at all times.
“This includes planning your routes and leaving for work on time so that you are not distracted by rushing to be on time. It also includes any other form of distraction whether using your phone, focusing on the radio, applying makeup or grabbing a bite to eat while driving. In the time it takes to look at a text message you can drive the equivalent of one football field.”
Maintenance: Be sure your vehicle is operating optimally at all times. “If your services are not up to date rectify this as soon as you can. Also check items like windscreen wipers and tyre treads so you know your car is ready to take on all conditions and situations like unexpected rains or icy roads.
“We can set an example to other road users and those in the car with us and do our part to reduce crashes on the road,” advises Herbert.
CAPTION: Familiar scene: gridlocked traffic after the holiday season and life returns to normal.