Everyone will always back themselves as a great driver. However, there is always room for improvement when driving and that’s exactly what this guide aims to provide tips on.
“They won’t get there any quicker,” is probably a something you’ve said to yourself a few times whilst driving. While that might not necessarily be true, speeding is wrong for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s against the law, putting you at risk of a fine and points on your licence. Secondly, the faster you drive, the more fuel you’ll use, hitting your wallet where it hurts. And we don’t need to remind you about the increased risk of being involved in an accident.
By accelerating and decelerating in a smooth and controlled manner, you could expect to save around 20% in fuel. Figures suggest that non-aggressive driving and anticipating the road ahead could see this rise to as much as 30%. Passengers won’t take too kindly to a driver who is constantly on the brakes or stamping on the accelerator. Anticipate the road ahead, rather than racing up to junctions and roundabouts.
Tailgating is the dangerous practice of following too close to the vehicle in front. Not only is it unsafe, you also risk antagonising the driver in front, which could lead to road rage. A survey conducted in 2014 showed that 95% of drivers are sometimes concerned about vehicles driving too close behind them. Remember the rule you used to get taught while learning you should be able to see the cars bumper and back tyres at all times.
Focus on the art of progressive braking – start slight, increase with pressure and finish light. This allows other motorists to react to your actions and is much safer than constant braking. You’ll also find it puts less wear and tear on your brakes and tyres, while having the added bonus of saving fuel. Take care when entering a bend: lower your speed before you enter a corner and accelerate slowly once out the other side. Braking mid-bend could put your car out of balance, leading to a loss of control.
When it gets dark, you must use your headlights – that much is obvious. But all too often we see drivers seemingly unaware that their daytime running lights (DRLs) aren’t suitable for use after dusk. If nothing else, driving with DRLs won’t mean that your rear lights are illuminated. The same level of caution should be taken with fog lights. The Highway Code says you must use your fog lights when visibility is reduced for more than 100 metres.
The police are cracking down on motorists using a mobile phone at the wheel and you risk a fine and points on your licence if you’re caught in the act. Our advice: put the phone on silent and place it in the glove-box. But don’t think your mobile phone is the only distraction in the car. Fiddling with the sat-nav, adjusting the radio, dealing with misbehaving children, even an over-talkative passenger can all lead to a loss of concentration at the wheel.
Respect the roads
Above all else, you should treat driving with the respect it deserves. Our cars might be safer than ever, but with more drivers on the road, not to mention more distractions, the risks are all too plentiful. Be aware of what you and others are doing on the road and simply focus on your driving.