SAFE DRIVING TIPS
When we jump in the car, we’re usually just focussed on getting from point A to point B. But every time you get in your vehicle, you should also be aiming for a safe (& hopefully an enjoyable) journey. Below, we outline some of the things you can be aware of & implement for a safer ride…
Whether you’re just driving to work or heading off on a road trip, always be prepared.
- Plan out your route & allow extra time for unexpected delays such as road work or slow drivers. Take into consideration peak hour traffic, & schedule in time for toilet stops and food breaks, and when & where you will need to fill up on fuel.
- Make sure you always have essential safety items in your car. These include; Spare tyre, jack & lug wrench, car manual, jumper cables & emergency battery booster, first aid kit, spare water & snacks, torch & an emergency escape tool. Read more about these, & more handy & helpful items for your car HERE.
- Ensure your vehicle is in tip top condition. This includes;
- making sure you have enough fuel, oil & radiator coolant.
- Check your spare tyre is in good condition.
- Clean your windscreens & ensure your wipers are working correctly.
- Check your tyre pressure & tread.
- Make sure your indicator & lights are all working.
- Bring your spare car key just in case!
- Book in for your vehicle’s service if it is due soon, or book a comprehensive safety check at Burleigh’s Mobile Mechanic & Workshop.
Don’t drive tired
Driver fatigue is one of the top five factors contributing to road crashes.
- De-hydration can exacerbate fatigue. Ensure you are properly hydrated & keep in mind the recirculated air conditioning mode may not be ideal for long trips, as the reduced oxygen level in the car can cause fatigue.
- Listen to your ‘fatigue monitoring system’ warnings (if you have one fitted in your vehicle).
- Don’t drive when you would normally be sleeping.
- Recognise the signs of fatigue such as blinking more frequently, yawning, slower reaction time, drifting within your lane or over lines.
- Get a good nights sleep before a long drive.
- Don’t drive tired, even if you know the road like the back of your hand.
- Understand the effects of any medication you’re taking that might affect your driving.
- Be aware that ‘micro sleeps’ or even lapses in concentration can have serious consequences.
- Don’t drive for more than 10 hours in a single day.
- Every 2 hours ‘Stop, Revive & Survive’.
Drive to conditions
- It is recommended to use your headlights at night, sunrise & dusk, when it’s raining, on overcast days & when visibility is limited to less than 100m in front of you.
- If a road has a lot of potholes, keep your distance from the vehicle in front, so you have time to react & have a good view of the upcoming road. If the pothole is unavoidable, slow down but don’t slam on your brakes.
- Use your air-conditioner or demister to keep the windscreen clear.
- When driving at night on unlit roads, & areas where it difficult to see due to lack of streetlights or other external lights, such as rural areas, use your high beams. However, if you encounter oncoming traffic you need to switch to low beam headlights until it is safe to return to high beams again.
- Use the 4 second time-lapse method when driving in poor conditions, such as wet weather (Double your following distance).
- In dusty weather conditions or on dry, unpaved roads, switch your aircon to the recirculate mode so you don’t get dust inside your vehicle.
- It goes without saying; If it’s flooded, forget it!
- Tyre Pressure
Properly inflated tyres will help reduce your fuel economy, increase the safety of your vehicle and extend the life of your tyres. It is recommended to check them monthly, or weekly of you drive a lot, and always before a road trip. Ideally, the pressure should be checked when the tyres are cold because heat causes air to expand. If the tyres are hot, or you are carrying a heavy load like a caravan, you should add around 4 PSI to the recommended pressure to help with the extra strain on the tyres.
- Check the Tread
Tread depth is essential for braking and water dispersion, & helps to reduce the risk of aquaplaning. Tyre wear is increased with hard breaking and uneven road surfaces. Tread wear indicator bars, placed at regular intervals on the tyre, will be level with the tread blocks when the minimum tread is reached.
- Don’t forget to check the condition of your spare tyre.
Choose a Safer Vehicle
Perhaps one of the most important safety decisions you will make is choosing a car that will help protect yourself and your family on the road. Australia has a rating system, called ANCAP (the Australasian New Car Assessment Program) that independently tests and assesses three main areas to determine a safe car by the likely injury levels and survival outcomes of occupants in the vehicle in the event of a crash, as well as the vehicle’s ability to avoid or minimise the effects of a crash. It then provides this information to consumers to allow them to make an informed choice on the type of vehicle they drive.
Wear your seatbelt
While everyone knows wearing a seatbelt is one of the sensible things you can do to prevent serious injury in an accident, it is also the law for you and your passengers to wear one at all times, even if you are just heading down the road. You can face a fine of $1,078 and 4 demerit points for failing to wear a seatbelt or not wearing it properly, as well as further fines for each passenger not wearing one. Seatbelts should be properly worn, especially on children (this goes for properly fitted child seats too). Incorrectly worn seatbelts will not only earn you a fine, but can cause injuries in a crash. This means the sash should be untwisted, sitting comfortably across your shoulder & not digging into your neck, & sitting low across your hips & not across your stomach.
Don’t forget to ensure your pets are safely restrained using an approved & correctly fitted vehicle harness.
Put your phone away
Not only is mobile phone use while driving extremely distracting & dangerous, you could be in for big fines; as much as $1,078 & 4 demerits points. Did you know that it is illegal to have your phone resting in your lap, even while stopped in traffic? Additionally, ‘P’ Platers, Learner Drivers & their supervising passenger, cannot use their phone in any capacity; including maps, handsfree or Bluetooth.
Share the road
It’s important to share the road with others; other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, & scooters. However, animals can also be a hazard on roads; especially in rural areas. This can include livestock such as cattle, or wildlife like kangaroos (who are especially active at dawn & dusk). It’s important that if you encounter an animal on the road; don’t try to swerve; you could not only hit another vehicle, but you put yourself at risk of rolling your vehicle. Carefully slow down & use your horn to alert, & hopefully move, the animal off the road.
Service you can trust
At Burleigh’s Mobile Mechanic we aim to educate you about your vehicle. If you have any issue with, or questions about your vehicle, we are here to help!
Give one of our friendly team a call on 0412 161 776 & remember to follow us on Facebook for more information, tips and specials.