5 driving tips to remember before getting behind the wheel
Depending on who you are, driving is either something you do because you love it, or because you have to. Your driving experiences can see you cruising a leafy Autumn road as the sun sets, or stuck in the CBD in peak-hour. No matter how you feel about driving or what conditions you are in, there are steps you can take to make it to your destination safe and sound.
Whether you have been driving for many decades or only a few days, it’s important that every now and then you reflect on your driving habits and consider what you can do better.
That’s why we have created a list of five things you should remember before getting behind the wheel and what you can do on the road to help protect yourself and those around you.
Stay awake and alert
If you begin to feel tired, yawn or start to zone out, it's a sign of fatigue and time for you to have a break.
Maintaining concentration on the road is the most important thing to do when driving. Your ability to focus on the road, notice obstacles and potential hazards is greatly diminished when you’re tired and puts yourself, your passengers and other road users at risk.
Whether you are driving in the CBD for half an hour or going on a long road trip on a highway, it is extremely important that you remain vigilant at all times.
There is no need to speed
Every driver knows that there is a speed limit at all times while driving, what most drivers don’t know, is why the speed limits are different depending on what road that they are driving on.
Speed limits are designed not so much for the speed at which you travel at, but the distance it will take you to stop in the event a hazard suddenly appears on a road.
According to the Queensland government’s website, it takes roughly 1.5 seconds for the average driver to react to a hazard and hit the brakes, the distance travelled over that reaction time plus the distance it will take the average family car to stop may be much more than you think.
It is for this reason that obeying speed limits in all situations is not only enforceable by law, but of great importance to you and those around you.
We live in a 24-hour world where it is almost impossible to escape technology, however when you are driving it is not the right time to be checking your phone.
A recent study conducted on our behalf revealed that 25% of people have texted while driving and 31% have taken a phone call by holding the phone in their hand.
Not only is this illegal, but by taking your focus off the road in this way you are greatly reducing your ability to notice potential hazards.
Don’t drive under the influence
Australia has a strict 0.05 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit, and that limit is reduced to 0.00 for Learners and Probationary drivers.
You may have heard some rough guidelines as to how much alcohol you can drink before driving, however, people’s bodies are all different and therefore we all process alcohol at different rates. This is why it is almost impossible to correctly guess your BAC level. So, what do you do? Better to be safe than sorry. Never drive if you think you could have a BAC reading above 0.00.
Studies show that those with a 0.05 BAC reading are twice as likely to have a crash than before drinking, and those who are over a 0.08 reading are ten times more likely.
Don’t fool yourself, alcohol takes a long time to leave your system, that’s why so many people are found guilty of drink driving the morning after a big night out.
The same principal applies for legal and illegal drugs. Some prescription medication can greatly affect your judgement on the road, so if you think you may be affected, don’t risk it.
Expect others to make mistakes
Even if you are the most obedient of drivers and obey all the road rules, that doesn’t mean that someone else won’t make a mistake and put you in harm’s way.
There are unfortunately a lot of people who use their mobile phone while driving, drive tired or under the influence. Keep your eyes on those around you and don’t assume they are going to do the right thing.
This includes cyclist and pedestrians who may not see you or incorrectly anticipate what you are going to do.
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