The most common driv­ing mis­takes

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

DRIV­ING a mo­tor ve­hi­cle is prob­a­bly the most dan­ger­ous thing we do on a daily ba­sis. Here are the most common mis­takes driv­ers make … not all at once, ob­vi­ously.

Things are def­i­nitely im­prov­ing, with the num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties steadily fall­ing, but this is as much due to im­prove­ments in ac­tive and pas­sive safety in mod­ern ve­hi­cles and im­proved roads than any­thing driv­ers are do­ing.

Any fa­tal­ity on our roads is a cause for con­cern and although we won’t see zero road fa­tal­i­ties un­til all of our driv­ing is done for us by au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles (and even then, there will still be sit­u­a­tions that re­sult in deaths) we have an obli­ga­tion to make our­selves and oth­ers as safe as we can on our is a sim­ple check­list of the things you can do, and not do, to make our roads safer.

1. Don’t drive un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs or al­co­hol: No mat­ter how of­ten the mes­sage is sent out, peo­ple are still driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol and drugs. Even though the in­ci­dence of drink driv­ing is re­duc­ing, most traf­fi­cre­lated deaths are caused by drunk driv­ers. Al­co­hol im­pairs your abil­ity to drive, your abil­ity to make ra­tio­nal de­ci­sions and worst of all, to re­act.

There is al­ways another op­tion other than driv­ing after drink­ing or tak­ing drugs. Nom­i­nate a des­ig­nated driver or call a cab. You may think you can drive after a puff of mar­i­juana or some other recre­ational drug; you’re prob­a­bly wrong, and the penal­ties are se­vere if drugs are de­tected in your sys­tem when you’re be­hind the wheel.

2. Don’t drive when you’re tired: The only cure for tired­ness is sleep – it can’t be fixed by open­ing a win­dow, pump­ing up the vol­ume on the stereo or guz­zling down cof­fee. And driv­ing when you’re drowsy is as dan­ger­ous as driv­ing drunk. Tired driv­ers are slow to re­act, and are at risk of fall­ing asleep at the wheel. A doz­ing driver won’t do any­thing to avoid a crash, or even slow down be­fore im­pact. If you feel tired, pull over and grab a few zeds.

3. Speed­ing: Speed­ing, or more specif­i­cally, speed­ing when it is not ap­pro­pri­ate, is the sec­ond lead­ing cause of traf­fic fa­tal­i­ties after drunk driv­ing. Ac­cord­ing to a US study by the In­surance In­sti­tute for High­way Safety, “The re­la­tion­ship be­tween ve­hi­cle speed and crash sever­ity is un­equiv­o­cal and based on the laws of physics.”

The faster you’re go­ing, the more se­vere will be the im­pact. Of course, if our speed lim­its weren’t so ar­bi­trary and il­log­i­cal, more peo­ple would be in­clined to abide by them, but that’s a dif­fer­ent ar­gu­ment. The US study also points out that the like­li­hood of a crash in­creases when a driver goes above or be­low the av­er­age speed on a given road­way. When ev­ery­one trav­els at the same gen­eral speed, things are more pre­dictable, and the road is safer as a re­sult.

4. Don’t get dis­tracted when driv­ing: Driv­ing a car isn’t dif­fi­cult, is it? You do it ev­ery day and you’re still here. And its wasted time, so why not put that time to good use?

Other peo­ple seem to be happy to ap­ply make-up, talk on the phone, send text mes­sages, eat break­fast and sip a morn­ing cof­fee… it’s amaz­ing how many things they can find to do at the same time as driv­ing. And yet dis­trac­tions are one of the ma­jor causes of crashes, ma­jor and mi­nor.

So when you’re driv­ing, don’t do any­thing other than drive; be­cause good driv­ing re­quires your full, un­di­vided at­ten­tion. As for us­ing that time more pro­duc­tively… that will have to wait for self-driv­ing cars.

5. Driv­ing too fast for the weather con­di­tions: When it rains, hails or sleets, roads be­come even more treach­er­ous. This is one oc­ca­sion when trav­el­ling at less than the posted speed limit may be your best op­tion. Even if you have all-wheel drive, slip­pery con­di­tions can cause loss of con­trol. As well as re­duc­ing your speed, in­crease the dis­tance be­tween you and the car in front.

6. Draft­ing semi-trail­ers: Fol­low­ing closely be­hind a large truck will im­prove your fuel econ­omy, but is your life re­ally worth a few cents? Trav­el­ling less than 50 me­tres be­hind a truck gives you less than two seconds to re­act if the truck sud­denly brakes.

Another con­sid­er­a­tion is that when you travel closely be­hind a truck, the driver can’t see you. And you may no­tice that a truck’s trailer is at the ideal height to re­move your car’s roof if you slide un­der it. As well as your head. 7. Reck­less driv­ing: Driv­ing like an idiot is a good way to get in­volved in a crash. Swerv­ing, weav­ing in and out of traf­fic, pass­ing on the inside or in the emer­gency stop­ping lane, brak­ing and ac­cel­er­at­ing sud­denly and even driv­ing slowly in the fast lane will all ag­gra­vate other driv­ers and make it more dif­fi­cult for them to an­tic­i­pate your next move. Ex­ces­sive speed is con­sid­ered a form of reck­less driv­ing by many au­thor­i­ties who will im­polse se­vere penal­ties.

8. Not wear­ing a seat belt: We may as well give up on this one: if peo­ple still aren’t wear­ing seat belts after see­ing all the ev­i­dence that they save lives, then we should con­sider th­ese re­cal­ci­trants as con­tribut­ing to nat­u­ral se­lec­tion by re­mov­ing re­ally stupid peo­ple (them­selves) from the gene pool.

Airbags also save lives, but they are de­signed to work in con­junc­tion with seat belts. And don’t fall into the common trap of think­ing “I’m just pop­ping down the street, so I won’t bother.” Most crashes oc­cur within a few min­utes of home, so if you’re not wear­ing your seat belt, you’re tak­ing an un­nec­es­sary risk.

9. Fail­ure to yield the right of way: Fail­ure to yield right of way is one of the ma­jor causes of crashes among older driv­ers (70 and over). It is par­tic­u­larly common on free­way on-ramps.

Truck driv­ers live in fear of peo­ple en­ter­ing free­ways from on-ramps and pulling out in front of them. Another in­creas­ingly common prob­lem is peo­ple ig­nor­ing stop signs and red lights. — Prac­ti­cal­mo­tor­ing

Al­co­hol im­pairs the abil­ity to drive, make ra­tio­nal de­ci­sions and, worst of all, to re­act.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.