Motoring News

Bad driver in charge? Here’s how NOT to be one…

Amber light? Challenge accepted!

We’ve all experienced bad drivers from the truly dangerous (overtaking on a blind rise) to merely annoying (straddling two parking slots)o or those who try to beat a red light. So, given that you’ve shaken your fist at many such people, it’s difficult to ask yourself this question…

Are you a bad driver?

Yes, a tough one, but most people, most of the time, respect others’ safety. Bad driving goes further than that, though… perhaps you have habits which might damage your car by, for instance, placing it under unnecessary strain and so causing inconvenience and expense.

Let’s take a look at a few of the more common bad-driving habits – and suggest how to stop them. Starting with…

Dragging the brakes going downhill

DON’T BE heavy-footed on the brake pedal while driving downhill! It will hasten wear and tear on brake pads and discs – haul,out your wallet to replace too often.

Engage a lower gear, apply light braking, then occasionally ease up on the brake pedal to let the pads and discs cool.

•Resting your hand on the gearstick

Your driving instructor – perhaps even years ago – drummed into you to keep both hands on the steering-wheel. Time passes and bad habits resurface – such as resting a hand on the gearstick. Well, that’s bad news for your car’s transmission because too much continuous pressure causes premature wear of the selector fork.

Haul out your wallet – again!.

Flooring the accelerator in a high gear

SOME MODERN CARS have a gearshift indicator to suggest you change up – or down – to enhance engine efficiency and achieve less fuel consumption.

If yours doesn’t, or you never check it, beware of accelerating in too high a gear. It stresses the engine – so don’t! Instead, Change down, allow the revs to rise, then change up. This is crucial when your vehicle is well loaded or ascending a gradient.

Overloading your vehicle

YOU MIGHT PREFER to pack everything but the kitchen sink for a weekend away. While modern cars can carry heavy loads, be cautious not to overload them. Doing so will stress your brakes, suspension, and drivetrain.

It doesn’t stop there, though … you’ll burn more fuel and increase exhaust emissions.

Changing down a gear (or two) at the wrong time

DOING SO OR IN THE WRONG ORDER is a big no-no. Your transmission will scream yet you love your car – why would you hurt it?

If you’re going to downchange reduce speed to reach the gear’s optimal rev range – again, less wear and your wallet/purse/credit card won’t be needed.

Potholes and speed bumps

IF YOU’RE reading this in South Africa you’ll know about these… they blight our once-excellent roads thanks to slackers in the ANC. They don’t get filled and re-asphalted so it’s up to you to take evasive action.

If you do hit one, especially at speed, you’re looking at buckled wheel rims, a damaged tyre – even damage to the exhaust plumbing.

Drive slowly on rural roads, and keep your eyes open. Seeing them is avoiding them – but don’t swerve! Be gentle going over them if you can’t avoid them. Your car and bank account will thank you for it.

Revving a cold engine

LETTING THE ENGINE warm up in its own time while setting off prevents unnecessary (wallet again!) wear and tear.

Riding the clutch

THIS IS A TOP 10 bad habit. The clutch is a ‘wear and tear’ item not covered by any warranty. Don’t rest your left foot on the clutch pedal after changing gear(s). And lift it off the pedal while the traffic light is red.


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