Seven ways to improve your driving
Most drivers think they’re pretty confident behind the wheel and capable of dealing with most situations out on the road. In fact, ask most motorists and they’ll likely say that their driving is up to scratch.
However, over the years, bad habits can emerge and we can all struggle to maintain the attention and assertiveness that we had when we first passed our tests. Here, we take a look at some of the ways to help improve your driving.
Check your distance
Tailgating is something which is both dangerous and annoying to other road users. However, some people do it without trying, or have simply forgotten about keeping enough distance from the car in front.
The two-second rule is best used here. When following a car, pick a fixed point on the road and wait for the vehicle in front to pass over it. Then, count the seconds until you go over the same spot. Two seconds is enough time and space to remain safe, but this should be doubled to four in wet and icy weather.
Choose smoothness over speed
Not only does driving smoothly make travelling less of a chore for you and your passengers, but it’s also a way of making motoring safer. Minimising any sudden inputs that you make means you’re less likely to put undue stress on the car, with elements such as the brakes and tyres wearing out more slowly.
Your passengers will appreciate it too, as smooth driving lowers the chance of motion sickness.
Check your lights
With many modern cars utilising daytime running light technology, it can be easy to forget that your headlights have a switch. This can often mean that your headlights aren’t switched on each and every time you need them.
Most systems are triggered by ambient light levels, but these don’t always correspond to visibility. It means that in instances when visibility is reduced - such as when driving in heavy rain or fog - your lights may not come on because the car thinks there’s enough light. As such, we’d always advise that you check your lights when travelling in difficult conditions.
Obey the speed limits
This might seem like an obvious one, but speed limits are in place for a reason - and you should always keep under them.
This is particularly the case in cities and built-up areas, where 20mph speed limits are often put in place to protect pedestrians and other road users. Remember, the speed limit isn’t a target - you don’t need to aim towards it - so it’s perfectly acceptable to travel slower, providing you’re not delaying the traffic behind you.
We’re all aware that using a mobile phone behind the wheel is both illegal and extremely dangerous. But there are other distractions that could prove a cause for concern when it comes to driving safety.
Make sure that, if you’re using a sat-nav, it’s placed in a spot that doesn’t block your view out of the car. Air fresheners and other ornaments hanging from the rear-view mirror can be distracting too, so we’d advise leaving these out of the car.
Adjust your driving to suit the conditions
It’s always advisable to make sure you change your driving style depending on the conditions. Rain, snow, ice and fog can all have an adverse effect on a car and even very bright sunlight can prove a distraction. As such, you should always change your driving to suit.
If the roads are slippery, give yourself more time and if you’re driving with a low sun behind you remember that other drivers might struggle to see you - so don’t slam on the brakes without a good need to.