Defensive driving can avert danger

2020-04-01 06:04

Although roads are quiet during the lockdown period, road rage and other day-to-day traffic dangers are still a reality.

Simple defensive driving tips can help keep you safe on the road, says Nunben Dixon, head of Gumtree Automotive.

  • Maintain focus and keep your cool. Distracted driving – which includes behaviour such as adjusting the radio or aircon, or texting or answering a phone call – is frequently listed as the cause of an accident.

“If someone thinks they have the right of way, and you disagree, just let them go ahead. It’s better to lose time than to get involved in a collision,” Dixon says.

  • Slow down and keep a safe following distance. The faster you travel, the longer it takes to stop. Hitting a pothole or animal crossing the road at high speed can cause catastrophic damage.
  • Know how to avoid and respond to hydroplaning. When it rains, the road is slicker as the rain stirs up spilled oil and other substances.

Hydroplaning occurs when too much water has built up in your tires and they lose contact with the road.

The car might veer when you are driving straight, or slip towards the outside of the bend.

“Don’t slam the brakes or swerve. Over­reaction is usually what leads to an accident. Wait for the skid to stop, ease your foot off the brake and calmly steer your car in the direction you want it to go. Maintain a firm grip on the wheel, but do not jerk it,” Dixon advises.

  • Know how to crash. If you realise that you are going to be involved in a collision, keep calm and bear the following in mind:

– Avoid braking hard or yanking the wheel to the side of the road. You might want to instinctively swerve into the next lane, but be aware of oncoming traffic.

– Do not duck forward. This can compromise the effective­ness of the seat belt and the air bags. Stay upright.

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