After years behind the wheel, it’s understandable that we are likely to pick up bad driving habits. Time in the car becomes a convenient time to catch up on phone calls, or we don’t always check our mirrors as often as we should. While not all bad habits are illegal, they increase the risk of being involved in an accident, causing damage to your vehicle and someone else’s, not to mention the possibility of injury.
Bad drivers are everywhere – here are a list of habits to drop to ensure that you are not one of them.
BAD DRIVING HABIT: Tailgating
Being cut off in traffic is maddening, but accelerating right up behind the vehicle in retaliation puts you, as well as those around you, in danger. According to Arrive Alive, inadequate following distance is the direct cause of 30% of South African car accidents and an indirect cause of 10% more.
SAFE DRIVING HABIT:Stay calm and remember to always keep a safe following distance. Defensive driving is the best way to avoid an incident. This technique essentially utilises safe driving skills, enabling you as a driver to address and identify hazards and avoid them.
BAD DRIVING HABIT: Getting distracted
Tuning the radio, lighting a cigarette or turning around to tell your children to stop bugging each other are all factors that distract you from the road and what is happening right in front of you. It’s vitally important to keep your hands on the wheel and your mind on the road. Arrive Alive states that the number one bad habit is the illegal use of cellphones while driving. Reading a message or checking social media is a distraction for any driver and should be avoided at all times.
SAFE DRIVING HABIT: If you need to answer your phone or check a message, pull over when it’s safe to do so and put on your hazard lights. If you can’t resist peeking, leave your phone in the boot.
BAD DRIVING HABIT: Pick ups and drop offs in unsafe zones
The school run can be a nightmare; children dashing across the road, parents pulling in and turning around. Allowing people in or out of your vehicle at an intersection or no-stopping zone is very risky. You could be the cause of a rear-end accident, or even worse – this kind of driving can put lives at risk.
SAFE DRIVING HABIT: Drop off and pick up passengers on the correct side of the road – no jaywalking! Do not stop in the middle of the road or double park, even if you only intend to be there for a minute. Pulling off into a designated drop-off zone will just take a few extra minutes, but it could make all the difference.
BAD DRIVING HABIT: Driving while tired
Arrive Alive has found that driving while fatigued is commonly seen on South African roads. Whether you’ve pulled an all-nighter studying, or your baby kept you awake all night, if you’re behind the wheel and drowsy then you are putting yourself and other road users at risk.
Research shows that going without sleep for 17–19 hours is the equivalent of having a blood alcohol level of 0.05-0.1, which is considered driving while impaired. Signs include yawning, drifting across lanes and difficulty keeping your eyes open.
SAFE DRIVING HABIT: Get a solid seven to eight hours sleep before a road trip. If you regularly work night shifts or long hours, don’t get behind the wheel until you have sufficiently recuperated.
BAD HABIT: Blocking traffic
Driving into the middle of an intersection (when you intend to turn right) during peak traffic is a guaranteed way to obstruct traffic – often you end up stuck there and blocking oncoming road users from passing through. When lost, or going somewhere for the first time, it’s tempting to slow down and look for road signs or a house number, but this is risky too. Holding up traffic infuriates other drivers, who might behave erratically and pull around you to overtake. That’s an accident waiting to happen.
SAFE DRIVING HABIT:Whenever you enter an intersection, make sure there is enough space to cross over it completely. And if you’re lost, pull over and check your GPS or a map. Otherwise check your destination before leaving the house. Google Maps is an excellent resource.
The information is provided for informational purposes only. Budget will not be liable for any damages or harm suffered due to reliance on the above information.