Tue | Sep 28, 2021

Top 10 ‘must do’ for safe driving

Published:Sunday | July 18, 2021 | 1:15 AMPaul Glenroy Messam - Contributor

When a driver sits behind a motor vehicle, he, in a sense, has become a part of the machine. “If the driver is both physically and mentally able to fulfil his end of the partnership, the motor vehicle will give of its best,” says Dr Andrew Burton. Many persons tend to oversimplify the job and interpret the role of the driver as one involving elementary movements of the ignition, switch, throttle, steering wheel, and pedals.

It is, therefore, important that the motor vehicle be mechanically perfect when it is put on the busy streets. It should be acknowledged that an automobile, outside of a home, is probably the biggest single investment made in most people’s lifetime. Anything that one can do to keep it in safe and sound condition makes one not only a better driver, but smarter businessman and, by extension, a better citizen.

Norris Christian, a Gryphon International-trained Driver Instructor, offers 10 must-do’s for all drivers.

1. Exercise good road manners by applying the courtesies of “please” “thank you”, “I am sorry”, “forgive me” as required.

2. Drive with a smile. One’s countenance could determine how other drivers respond to you.

3. Stay away from being selfish or inconsiderate. Be mindful of other drivers as you move along the busy streets.

4. Ensure that the motor vehicle is in perfect condition, and remember that the key to the entire operation of driving is the driver. An excellent driver can offset a poor vehicle, but an excellent automobile can seldom offset a poor driver.

5. Do not give up if you lose control. Some accidents could have been avoided if the drivers involved did not give up so easily. A skid, for example can be corrected by steering in the direction in which the car is skidding.

6. Never show off with you motor vehicle. Resist the temptation, and do not abuse the vehicle by charging around corners, allowing the tyres to scream in protest or shout with excitement. It is a poor method to get attention.

7. Do not drive one-handed. A conscious defensive driver always has both hands on the steering wheel. Also, stay clear of road rage. Remain calm, cool, and in control though hard it may be.

8. All drivers must avoid a head-on collision at all cost. This action is nothing but lethal and depressing. “A head-on collision is almost guaranteed to take lives,” Kanute Haire, director of road safety, reminds us.

9. Avoid brake failure. “The seriousness of brake failure depends on where it occurs,” says Steve Dockery, an experienced auto mechanic. “If you lose your brakes on Stony Hill (heading down), you are in big trouble,” he says. The first indication of brake failure is a limp pedal that goes to the floor board. Try pumping the pedal vigorously to see if some topping action can be activated.

10.Stay in control of your vehicle. Hold the steering wheel. Do not clutch it. Gripping the steering wheel as if it is a mainspring can lead to fatigue. Fatigue comes quickly when muscles are taut. Therefore, every driver must be made to remain physically relaxed while keeping mentally alert.