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Empower yourself with the right attitude and aptitude to drive safely
Many traffic accidents can be avoided if drivers possess good driving skills and show some commonsense. Proper driving techniques must be inculcated from the start. Otherwise, bad driving habits may form potential dangerous practices.
Most drivers do not sit in the proper driving position or have the correct hand placement on the steering wheel. Operating a vehicle has become so automatic that we no longer pay attention to the way we drive – to the point of being overconfident. Regrettably, after obtaining our license, it can be a long time, if ever, when our driving skills are reassessed. This makes bad habits more difficult to rectify.
When you are behind the wheel, you should always be thinking about the driving task ahead. It pays to constantly look at the road in the front and scan both sides and the rear of the car using the side and rearview mirrors. Keeping close attention on the road will enable timely and appropriate responses.
Disturbances inside and outside your car play major roles in traffic accidents. A common distraction among drivers is the use of the handphone. Try not to use it while driving, even if you are using a hands-free kit. Your concentration on the road can be compromised. Other common distractions are noisy and active children in the car, the split of attention to change a CD or radio station, commotions or accidents on the road.
Nose-to-tail collisions are common accidents. The cause lies in not keeping a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in the front. Practise the 2-second rule. Use a stationary object, such as a lamppost, as your marker. Once the rear bumper of the car in front of you passes the marker, count “one thousand one, one thousand two”. Your car should not reach the marker before or at the same time you count to “one thousand two”. By keeping the minimum safe distance, you have more time to react should the driver in the car ahead make any unexpected movement or stop suddenly.
Avoid one-hand steering. The “pull-push” technique gives you much better control as opposed to using the arms crossover style that we are all too familiar with. These are just some tips to help you become a better driver. To learn more, take up a defensive driving course. It is important to learn about your driving habits and correct them if necessary. The Association organises Defensive Driving Courses regularly. It includes a theory and a practical lesson.
For more information on defensive driving, contact the AA Events and Activities Department at 6831 2140.