JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng – So, as the new year and new decade begin, you’ll have made resolutions to improve your health, finances, and general well-being.
Great, but your driving habits could negate such happy intentions: drive recklessly or forget to drive defensively and all your resolutions could, frankly, come to nothing.
MasterDrive’s MD Eugene Herbert, who appears regularly on this blog, suggests making ”driving resolutions” to help you achieve those hopes mentioned in the first paragraph. Here’s some wise advice…
PROTECTING your health on the road includes driving safely and with the correct mindset. “South Africa is a nation vulnerable to road rage,” Herbert says. ”Protect yourself from becoming a victim by accepting that other drivers (and probably you yourself!) will make mistakes and break the law.
“Ask yourself whether refusing to let a taxi squeeze is worth the spike in your blood pressure or damage to your car. Accept that it’s inevitable and resolve to respond with your health and safety in mind.”
Writing off your vehicle is the ultimate financial loss as a result of bad driving habits; don’t underestimate the financial impact of a minor collision, either. “Bumper bashings, tussles with potholes, or car-park shunts are far more common than you might expect.
“However, by employing defensive driving, you can significantly reduce the chance of being involved in such. Always be aware of your surroundings; drive with forward vision of 12-15 seconds.
”Always leave an adequate following distance according to driving conditions. Have have an escape plan. Whether waiting at a traffic light or on the highway, never box yourself in. If the unexpected happens, you will have room to escape.”
ANOTHER common resolution will improve your general well-being: end a bad habit, learn a new skill. “Committing to learning to drive defensively, or putting more effort into implementing defensive driving, will improve your well-being, too.
“Identify your bad – possibly your dangerous – habits at the wheel (using your phone, ignoring road rules, drinking and driving) and pledge not to. Share these with the people around you and encourage them to do the same.
”Gradually, we will see the difference we so desperately need on our roads.”
4. Resolve to be a defensive driver
“Defensive driving teaches you to be prepared to immediately ‘defend’ yourself and other road users from a threat on the road and consequently helps you to continue to lead healthy, financially sound, successful lives.”