Every weekday, I drive a stretch of road that adds up to about 30 kilometers (roughly 19 miles). If you total in the factor that in 2014 (the last time they did one of those survey study things) the country I live in, was the worst rated for road accident fatalities in the world – those 30 kilometers stretch of the road become somewhat of a scary prospect. So when I get into my car, I make sure I do my best to keep my family safe during our travels. No matter if, we take a five-minute or a five-hour drive. Here are some of my road safety tips:
1. Buckle up
Sometimes you think you are only going to be driving around the corner. Just going to buy a loaf of bread? According to a survey done in the U.K one in three accidents happen, when we are close to home. Most likely it is at these times that we are driving on “autopilot” or that we are not hyper-vigilant.
There is a rule in my car. I make sure my daughter is well aware of this rule. All people in the car need to be seated and buckled up at all times. I cannot even count how many times I see children in other cars standing. Not only is this hazardous if you suddenly need to hit the brakes but such children tend to be a distraction for the driver. The safest place for a kid under the age of 12 is buckled up on the backseat, even if you are just buying a loaf of bread.
2. Cell phones and driving
A driver, texting while driving is said to cause more accidents than a drunk one. Seriously, peeps, you can send that “What’s App”, when you have safely stopped somewhere. Hands-free kits enable us to answer the phone if we really can’t live without taking that call.
3. Speed kills
We were once driving home when a car raced passed us on a stretch of city road with a speed limit of 60 km/h (roughly 40 mph). He must have been driving 200 km/h (roughly 125 mph). We were shocked at the speed this dude was doing. Our home was only a few kilometers down the road. At our gate, we noticed that the car which had just zipped passed us was sitting in a head-on collision with a tree next to the road. The car was written off. The driver was severely injured. To this very day, I still do not understand why he was driving so fast. It is better to arrive at your destination five minutes later than never arrive at all. There are reasons for speed limits.
That being said, I’ve also driven a stretch of road slower than I was allowed. I don’t drive the long road much. I don’t feel safe doing 120 km/h so I’ll do 100 or 110 instead. It is important to feel safe with the speed you are driving.
4. Overtaking safely
Frontal collisions are the highest cause of road fatalities here. Many of these accidents occur when drivers overtake other cars in the most terrible manner. Overtaking while driving uphill, into the rising or setting sun, is a bad idea. Not only does the driver put himself in danger but the people in the other vehicle, who probably cannot see him coming … It’s a worst case scenario.
It is best to overtake when you can clearly see what is happening in front of you.
Talking about, what you see – I find wearing sunglasses during daytime driving, useful. Obviously, we have lots of sunshine in these parts. What you may not know is that your sunglasses or regular specs can also act as safety goggles if they have been fitted with the right type of lens. Here good quality plastic lenses out-way the risk associated with glass lenses. If you wear spectacles, talk to your optometrist about this.
Eyestrain can really be a pothole in your driving skills. If you have spent an entire day sitting behind a computer screen, driving can become a tearful event. For this reason, I always keep tissues handy. It has helped me get to a safe area to pull up next to the road until I was able to see better.
7. Blind spot check
Are you changing lanes? Do a quick blind spot check! Don’t know exactly what that is? Here is a video.
Sometimes you have to abruptly slow down or come to a standstill while driving. At these times, putting on your hazard light can alert the driver behind you that there is an obstruction in the road. It’s like saying, “whoha wake up dude!”
9. Mindful driving
Try not to drive on autopilot. Be present while you are driving. Keep your eyes and mind on the road. Put simply: Drive mindfully.
10. “Leave space in your schedule for life’s little-unplanned events” – Joyce Meyer
Life’s little-unplanned events include traffic jams and accidents on the road. Giving yourself those extra ten minutes to arrive at your destination will make you a less stressed driver. You will be more courteous to other road users. You will be less likely to speed.
11. Slow down when …
I hate it when children play next to the road. This is just an unpleasant fact. The same applies to dogs, cats or other pets. It is better to slow down when you see these things. It is also courteous when passing a cyclist to slow down.
12. Other drivers and traffic rules
While all of the above are very important to remember, the best piece of driving advice I’ve ever heard was this: “Don’t expect other road users to follow traffic rules”.
Drivers may; run a red light. Forget to put on their indicators. Put on their indicators but not turn. Drive on autopilot. Speed. Swerve unexpectedly into your lane. … the list goes on and on.
Being vigilant about such things has saved me on many a close shave.
If you are the kind of person that prays, then doing so before driving is a good practice. If you are the kind of person who talks to God- all the time, then doing so while driving is a good practice. Having spiritual protection along your journey has never hurt anyone.
What other tips would you give on road safety?
About the Author
Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.
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