Driving Safety Tips

By: Muna wa Wanjiru

There are always a lot of factors that can affect an individual's driving, and driving safety tips are invaluable in giving drivers a much needed edge on today's roads.

Heat, exhaustion and lack of sleep can often lead to a black out. Sometimes there is no warning whatsoever, but if one feels faint or dizzy, it is always better to pull over immediately, even when driving up or down a hill. Parking is far less dangerous than losing consciousness at the wheel of a moving vehicle.

It is advisable to check the daily weather report even on a short drive. Bad weather affects roads and driving conditions, especially in winter. Driving in snow is never a good idea, but if it can't be avoided, the following driving safety tips might prevent serious injury and possibly save lives.

First of all, nothing is too small, insignificant or unnecessary. Check anything and everything. Ignition, brakes, wiring, hoses, fan belts, air-fuel and emission filters, PCV valve, the battery, the air, sidewall wear and tread depth of tyres, antifreeze levels, freeze line, spark plugs and anything else that you can think of.

A point worthy of being mentioned is that snow and ice make it difficult for brakes to come into play. Thus, driving slowly and pressing the brakes gently will have a better effect that any other course of action.

Another of just a few driving safety tips is that drivers should always make it a point to stay at least three to four times the normal length behind any vehicle in front of them, and to always switch on the headlights to make themselves more visible to other drivers on the road.

Cruise control and overdrive should never be used on icy roads, whatever the vehicle that's being used. It takes very little for a wet road to freeze, especially bridges and overpasses that are more exposed. Drivers controlling vehicles manually stand a greater chance of stopping them skidding and sliding on ice.

Snow ploughs and sanding trucks may be slow, but they clear the road in front of them for vehicles. A good driving safety tip is to follow sedately in their path than to overtake them and end up going no where at all.

Other driving safety tips for wintertime include the fact that if stuck in snow, accelerating furiously will only sink the wheels of the vehicle deeper into the snow. The recommended course of action is to clear the snow around the tyres of the vehicle by turning the steering wheel (and the wheels themselves) from side to side and gently accelerating.

Any snow around the tyres and under the vehicle should be shovelled away. The next step is to sprinkle salt, gravel, sand or a substitute in front of the vehicle to help the tyres get a grip, and then accelerate gently.

These are all good driving safety tips and should be followed where possible to avoid accidents and serious injuries.

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