Staying Safe As You Drive

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According to the Driving School, “Driving is a complex task, with driver error contributing to over 75% of road crashes.” To prevent being a part of this statistic they encourage motorist to take driving lessons to stay safe as they drive. Beginning drivers, or even seasoned drivers who just need a ‘crash’ course in refreshing their memories, can benefit from taking classes to update their knowledge and skills.

Safe driving techniques will not only help drivers reduce the possibility of being involved in an accident, it may also serve to reduce insurance and vehicle maintenance costs. Understanding Australian laws, rules and regulations, and following them, can keep the driver safe while on the road.

While behind the wheel of a vehicle, the driver must remain alert to his/her surroundings. Always ensure that all passengers are buckled up properly using seatbelts and car seats manufacturer recommendations. Drivers with children in the car should not allow them to fight or move around the vehicle for any reason. Unbuckling their safety belt could result in severe injury or death if you are in an accident. If a child is climbing around and happens to bump your arm, this could cause you to lose control of the vehicle. If need be, pull safely to the side, resituate the child or children before resuming.

Using cell phones and texting is the number one distraction while driving. The use of hands free devices is the law and has been put in place for a reason, to prevent accidents. If a text is so important that it can’t wait, then pull when it is safe to do so, and return the text. Driving down the road while texting, you will never know what hit your, or you hit, if you take your eye of the road for that split second and you swerve or someone pulls out in front of you. Lives can be useless lost or someone severely injured for that one text.

Driving school instructors point out a good rule of thumb to follow when driving is if you are tired, pull over and take a nap. Never drive when you are tired. Your vision can become impaired and judgment of space, speed and time can be reduced. This also applies to driving while on medications. If an over the counter drug or prescription has potential to make you drowsy, don’t operate the vehicle.

While taking driving lessons, the instructors make a point of talking about one potential hazard people fail to recognize, weather.

In low-lying areas prone to flooding, a quick rain shower could case major flooding. When driving, you should be aware of your surroundings and plan your route. If you see water rushing across the street, don’t assume you can make it because the car in front of you did. Avoid crossing the area. There are even ads on television and radio stations encouraging people to ‘turn around, don’t drown’.

In the winter, freezing rain, slush and snow can cause major driving hazards. Taking extra precaution, driving slower through intersections, shaded areas, overpasses and bridges can save you tons of money in damages and keep you safe. If at all possible, it is recommended to avoid driving in these conditions.

Keeping an emergency kit in your car with a fully charged cell phone. Having a full tank of gas can save your life in the even you are ever stranded.

Mary Bast is an avid traveler and has lots of experience driving in different countries. Taking driving lessons and utilizing Northside driving school tips she enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience by writing niche articles.

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