Pre­pared for worst

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Safety -

SAFE driv­ing is a mind­set that en­com­passes many things, in­clud­ing a safe and re­spon­si­ble at­ti­tude to the law and other driv­ers and pedes­tri­ans, com­pe­tence at the wheel and proper main­te­nance of your car to list just a few.

They all come to­gether to keep us, and oth­ers, as safe as pos­si­ble in what is a most dan­ger­ous place, the road.

Hav­ing a re­spon­si­ble at­ti­tude to the law and oth­ers around us should come be­fore we hit the road. For most of us it nor­mally comes from a well-rounded ed­u­ca­tion on life from our par­ents, teach­ers, church el­ders, coaches and men­tors at sport­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions and the like, and taken with us when we hit the road.

Com­pe­tence at the wheel comes from driver ed­u­ca­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence, both of which we should con­tinue to ac­quire through­out our driv­ing lives.

Get­ting a driver’s li­cence is just the be­gin­ning of the train­ing. There are many or­gan­i­sa­tions that of­fer ad­vanced driver-ed­u­ca­tion cour­ses, which can add im­mea­sur­ably to a driver’s skill level.

Ad­vanced cour­ses ed­u­cate us in the cor­rect driv­ing tech­niques to as­sist us in avoid­ing the dan­gers that in­evitably ap­pear on the road.

They can also equip us with bet­ter knowl­edge of the cars we drive, how the mul­ti­tude of sys­tems built into to­day’s cars, like anti-skid brakes and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity sys­tems for in­stance, work and how we can use them to make us safer.

It’s cru­cial to un­der­stand that the real ben­e­fit of anti-skid brakes for in­stance, is they al­low us to steer the car out of a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion, whereas as car with­out anti-skid tech­nol­ogy is likely to sim­ply skid straight into a col­li­sion with all four wheels locked up mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble to steer.

But it’s also nec­es­sary to know that un­less we ap­ply the brakes hard, even very hard, the anti-skid sys­tem won’t kick in and we won’t have the ben­e­fit of our car’s full brak­ing po­ten­tial when we most need it.

Armed with the knowl­edge it’s im­por­tant to put it to work ev­ery time we take the wheel.

While our newer cars are equipped with many safety sys­tems de­signed to as­sist us to get out of trou­ble, or help pro­tect us in a crash, we need to be aware older cars aren’t equipped with those same sys­tems.

Aus­tralia was one of the first coun­tries in the world to make wear­ing seat belts com­pul­sory. That was in the 1970s, and even to­day, seat belts are a pri­mary pro­tec­tion we rely on in a crash.

While most mod­ern cars have airbags, it’s still the seat belts that pro­vide the pro­tec­tion in most crashes. It’s only in more se­vere crashes that the airbags are de­ployed, and then they are em­ployed as a sup­ple­men­tary re­straint sys­tem over and above the seat belts.

Given the role of the seat belt in a crash it’s im­por­tant to check them oc­ca­sion­ally for signs of wear and tear, and re­place them if they are frayed, cut, burned, or dis­coloured.

It’s even more im­por­tant to re- place the seat belts af­ter a crash. They will prob­a­bly have been sub­jected to very high forces in the crash and could be dam­aged with­out show­ing any vis­i­ble signs of it.

It’s also worth check­ing they work as they are in­tended and that can be done by tug­ging sharply on the belts and mak­ing sure they lock. Also check that the tongue en­gages firmly in the buckle and re­leases freely when the but­ton is pressed.

With a re­spon­si­ble at­ti­tude, proper train­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence, and a well­main­tained car it’s pos­si­ble to en­joy mo­tor­ing in the safest en­vi­ron­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.