Defensive driving - your best defence against a load-shedding gridlock

2015-06-10 06:00
PHOTO: sourced 

Defensive driving should be applied during load shedding.

PHOTO: sourced Defensive driving should be applied during load shedding.

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AS if the crisis of bad manners on our roads isn’t enough, now the energy crisis has thrown load shedding and non-functioning traffic lights into that mix and created a situation­ which is downright dangerous.

Given that you can’t do a thing about these variables, Tiger Wheel andamp; Tyre poses the question: how do you ensure your own road safety in the midst of this madness?

“You drive for everyone else on road, or to use the technical term, you drive defensively. That’s all you can do,” answers group marketing executive Joe du Plooy.

“We must take responsibility for our own road safety.”

The term defensive driving sounds like something you might see in a Hollywood car chase, but it’s about much more than just swerving out of the way of out-of-control cars. Tiger Wheel andamp; Tyre offers these pointers for defensive driving:

•Make sure your car is roadworthy - that the tyres have sufficient tread and are properly inflated, that the brakes are working and the car is running well. This will enable you to come to a timely stop, accelerate out of trouble and keep your wheels on the road if you need to swerve suddenly.

•Check your mirrors. Always know who is to your front, rear, left and right, adjust your speed to make space when drivers are too close, and try to anticipate their next move. Most people start turning before they indicate. Your awareness is your only defence against these incoming missiles.

•Don’t lose your cool, especially when load shedding leaves traffic lights out of order and traffic gridlocked. Take a deep breath and pay extra attention so you don’t miss your turn at the intersection, or get side-swiped by someone going out of turn.

Nerves will be frayed and people are frustrated by their inability to get where they’re going on time, and you don’t want to stir the pot and fuel a road-rage incident.

“Anticipation is the most important element of defensive driving. You can’t let your guard down for a minute. If you see someone driving recklessly, let them pass and keep your distance, because the chances are they will cause an accident.

Always assume that others won’t indicate, so keep a safe following distance to compensate for this. Be alert at intersections. Even if the light is green for you, that’s no guarantee that another driver won’t skip the red light,” advises Du Plooy.

Tiger Wheel andamp; Tyre advises that if you have an important meeting, or need to get to the airport on time, that you check the load shedding schedule that applies to your route, and either leave earlier or reschedule.

Remember that most Tiger Wheel andamp; Tyre stores have generators, so even when load shedding takes place, it’s business as usual. Visit the website www.twt.to to see if your local store is covered. -Supplied

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