Managing Space & Time for Safe Driving

7 August 2015 - By Eugene Herbert

Hi Folks…

This last week, traffic in Gauteng has
been “horrific” with traffic jams and countless hours lost -  mainly as a
result of vehicle collisions and breakdowns. What could have been done
different?

Here are some points all drivers may
care to take note of:

·         Pay
attention.
 That’s right, simple but really effective. The primary
attribute necessary for safer driving is alertness. This allows you to see,
recognize and avoid the unexpected hazards (such as a stopped vehicle) lurking
on the road.

·         Allow enough space ahead. About 30 percent of crashes involve
rear-end collisions. Many of these could be avoided by following at a safe
distance. Allow at least three seconds between your vehicle and the car ahead
of you. At highway speeds, lengthen the gap to four seconds or more. (The
2-3 second rule of decades past has been updated to the 3-4 second
rule.) If you’re driving in the rain or poor weather conditions, lengthen that
gap to six or more seconds. Also, you may need to adjust for vehicle weight, a
major factor in how long the vehicle takes to stop. The heavier the
vehicle, the longer it takes to stop.

·         Look ahead. Scan the road and surrounding area at
least 15 to 20 seconds ahead for potential road hazards, conditions and
information that can help you plan a clear path to travel. Look around and keep
your eyes open for approaching vehicles, pedestrians or animals that might
enter your path.

·         Have an escape route. The best way to avoid potential dangers
is to position your vehicle where you have the best chance of seeing and being
seen. Check your mirrors (don’t forget the blind spot check when changing
lanes) every few seconds to see what is beside you and what is behind you. You
need to have an alternate path of travel, taking into consideration the
position of the vehicles around you and the road ahead. That’s crucial for
deciding where you can manoeuvre safely to avoid a crash. If the road is narrow
and lacking a shoulder, increase you’re following distance.

·         Don’t be guilty of DWD. A simple thing such as not using the
cell phone will eliminate some 25% of crashes.

As the winter days shorten drivers
should also take note of changing light conditions which could impact on
changing hazards – think of being blinded by the rising or setting of the sun.

 All the above sounds quite simple
but nonetheless effective in avoiding crashes and all the subsequent challenges
associated therewith.

Till next time – Take Care and Drive in
the moment!


Eugene Herbert




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