Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Drive Safely

For many years now we have heard the word often "Drive Safely" but do we make sure we practise safe driving?

We normally use it as an expression as we advice to someone who is going home on a long journey to be careful while driving.

In order to drive safely for the sake of our own and others family the basic things we need to ensure is whether we are keeping our cars in tip top condition regardless of your car is old or new.

While practising safer driving technique on the road is important ,what follow next is whether you do a regular proper maintenance care of your car.

The most basic maintaining checking are usually :

1- checking your oil is sufficient -Let's think of your engine's oil like the blood that runs through our bodies. Too much oil is a problem, and so it too little.

2- check your light - If you cannot see clearly  then you're as good as 'blind as a bat' but bat can find their way using sonar, you can't.

3- check your signal light as well -  I hate people that do not use their turn signals when about to turn, making a left turn at the light but goes to the right and use their hazard lights in the rain- I can't tell whether they are planning to make a sudden stop or turning.

4- check your battery - a normal battery should last 2-3 years and usually there are sign that a battery is weakening, like...
it requires multiple cranking to start the engine and the easiest way is to press the horn button on the steering wheel while you listen for a possible weak horn sound coming from the horn.
Also note if a new battery gone dead  after only a short time ,it is probably the alternator that is not working as it will not recharge the battery.

6- check your  power steering fluid- should be changed every three years or 50,000 miles

7- check your brake oil and brake pad - check the brake fluid level in between of min and max.
The brake pad life time depend what sort of driver you are. Some drivers like to use the brake too often that will irritate other drivers. Why can't they let the car go smoothly ,just go with the flow. Others aggressive driver like to tailgate too near, thus has to brake hard often.

8- check your filters- the air filter and fuel filter got to replace after some times. You may  ask the mechanic to blow away the dust on normal service time routine. A dirty and dusty filter will not only damaged the engine but also cause low fuel efficiency.

9- check your wipers + wiper fluid - If your windscreen is not clear after using the windscreen washer, it is a  signs of worn out wipes blade. It is time to change your wiper blade. Faulty blades can actually be dangerous when they cause your windshield to be blurry from the rain or fog.
Once there is an ingenious friend of mine who in  desperation replace a worn out wiper blade with a condom rubber. Don't ask me why he carried one. Maybe it is keep as a first aid kit item.

10- check your car tires -  Imagine using the same pair of shoes for all occasion ,after worn them for some time the shoe sole will have less traction and the ability to grip. It would be a dangerous situation when you apply a emergency brake and when the road is slippery.

Make sure your tyre pressure correct- Driving on tires with too much air pressure is dangerous. It will explode. Putting too little will result poor fuel economy.

It is  important thing when you are driving is to be alert. Don't drive if you are feeling sleepy. Do not take your eyes off the road and keep your hand on the wheels.  Switch off mobile phones or let it ring as you can answer it later.
Wake up, you sleepyhead!
If you're in a hurry and can't take naps then at least do one of the following:

1- Stopped in interstate rest are to wash your face. It helps you to feel fresh and awake.
2-  Generally it helps you to stay awake if you drink hot coffee. Alternatively try ONE Red Bull isotonic drink to stay awake.
3- Chewing a piece of gum has been proved to help some people to stay awake. 
4- Switch on a radio and sing along or have a conversation with someone in the car to keep you alert.
5- Stopped in a safe rest area and stretch you leg and body. Does a light workout.

There's no shame in playing it safe.

My friend Mr. OKL driving expertise was good, but there was once when he was physically tired he closed his eyes, and dozed off. What happen next is he knock out the other  car bumper slightly while passing the highway toll counter.

Never drive when you feel so tired that you're almost falling asleep. Pull over and snooze.

Playing a car racing video games and  bump into your friends on the bumper cars is fun. When you are driving a real car on real roads ,you must be alert cautious and always try to expect the unexpected of any situation. That would mean there is no rewind button or

 there are No Second Chances in actual scenarios.
Driving Is Not A Game, No Restart Button

We have heard all of our lives that we shouldn't follow too close or tailgate. Chances of a rear end collision when the car in front make sudden stop. You will not have time to react.
These ads creepy yet effective on dangers of tailgating 

There was once a driver in front who drive too slow and would not let me overtake his car and  when I tried to overtake he will increased his speed. What follow next is when he come to the next hill he can't see that's a queue of cars jammed in front.

Not have time to react to an unexpected stop. Crash Boom Bang!

Thank you, Sir, for not letting me overtake as it could be me.

Now the next time a driver do not let me overtake ,I will think him as a saviour or my substitute victim. No need to feel angry at all.

You need to do a proper emergency stop :

Pump your brakes when coming to a halt,this is to avoid your car lock up and the car could skid.
Turn your signal light on which direction you are going to swerve. Normally if the car in front of you swerve to the left then you swerve to the right. Vice verse.

This is to let others car have room to stop and also for better viewing of stopped cars.

Put on your hazard emergency light to let the rear coming cars you have done a sudden stop.

Distraction While Driving

Driver should ensure total concentration while driving, distracted driving is unsafe, irresponsible and for even a split second taking your eyes off the road, its consequences can be devastating. 

No one should text and drive
Don't talk on the phone while driving without using headphone or
 headset with bluetooth-enabled mobile phones
Don't drink and drive and don't ride with anyone who has too much to drink unless you want to take him home 
Driving while smoking can be dangerous should the  cigarette butts drop
on the car seat and start fires 
Others don't do while driving:

-I've seen other drivers doing some recklessly dumb stuff like holding the baby on his lap in the passenger seat driving with one hand.
-Don't hold the other passenger hand while driving,  wait till the year 2020 until our cars able do the driving for us! Driverless car driving are no longer a dream wish. Nevada is the first state in US and the world where driverless vehicles can be legally operated on public roads like fiction movie "Total Recall" — now they're reality.
-You can get distracted and engrossed in conversation with your passengers and not focus on driving.
-Eating while driving is a no-no unless small tidbit fed by passengers.
- Don't quarrel while driving in the car, your judgment will be clouded by your anger emotions.

Misuse of hazard warning lights 

One of the most common mistake that drivers make is getting in the habit of turning on their headlights when it rains. Hazard warning lights while driving can confuse other road users when you making sudden lane changes.
Dumbo drivers turning on their hazard lights during a rain storm

Hazard lights are supposed can be activated only when:

1-As a general rule of thumb, is it recommended to switch on your hazard warning lights when your car stopped on the side of the road or STOPPED and not driving due to a flat tyre or motor vehicle breakdown.

2- They are also suppose to be used if fast moving traffic suddenly slow down or comes to a stop. Now suppose you are going 60mph and suddenly to avoid an accident that happened in front of you, makes you slow down drastically. You have to immediately turned on the hazard lights to warn the drivers behind you of the sudden change of speed.

3- The third reason, if you have a serious emergency situation. Transportation someone to the hospital where the ambulance transport was not available or some circumstances like you're in a funeral convoy escort as part of a funeral procession may then flash hazard lights on.
 Don't fiddle with your car Hazard warning lights.

Don't drive with only one headlight 
A motorcycle is fast approaching! Wait, Look at it again!

One of the most dangerous situations is when you drive with a faulty headlight, it gives other drivers the false impression that a motorcycle coming in the opposite direction.

A faulty headlight bulb should be replaced without further ado. Should you unable to replace for some reason then maybe it's handy to keep a reflective adhesive tape.  Stick on these reflectors tape in such a way that car headlights will seen clearly when the opposite direction car shines on the reflectors, it will be illuminated. 

Provide safety and visibility if you can be seen clearly from a distance 

HID lights or known as white light bulb kit

The purpose of the headlight is to give you a safely view of what is the path of oncoming traffic but when you abuse it with installing HID headlight that produce a bright, white light. This can be very dangerous due to blinding glare from the HID headlight will place yourself at risk because driving toward a car can momentarily blinded the oncoming car driver.
HID light on the right gives brighter with white color, for better view and more safety while driving at night but at the same time glare might be a nuisance and can cause accidents to inexperienced drivers.

Make sure headlights are properly aligned by pointing slightly downwards so they light up the road ahead without dazzling other road users
Headlight self level check may be temporarily made using a wall

Don't drive while sick or unwell

Common sense tells you that do not drive a car or operate machinery until you have overcome your illness. Take extra caution if you must drive and make sure you do not take any drugs or medicine which may cause drowsiness, dizziness or sleepiness that may adversely affect your driving ability.

 If you ever feel a sneeze coming on, slow down and you remove your foot from the accelerator pedal. The reason is once you sneeze your reflex reaction will cause your eyes momentarily close. 

Just imagine when you're driving fast, your leg depress the accelerator while driving at 80mph, if you sneeze you will accidentally-depress accelerator pedal and you'll accelerate to swiftly travel 300ft farther away with your eyes closed and with speed significantly increased.

Sneeze when driving  is more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.  Driving while intoxicated,
your vision down half but when your sneezing you have absolutely no idea where you're going!

 Driving Safely is not only while your on the road but before you even start.

If you planning on a road trip then you need to do a planning schedule on where you're going and you're need check your travel route road map. GPS is to assist only- you still have to do your homework.

You need to leave your anger before you leave the house . Have plenty of rest to stay awaked. Not too much food but still enough to keep your stomach from growling.

Even when you have reach home you still cannot let your guard down.

A mistake like this can happen. You think your child is inside your house and you reversed your car in. These tragic cases usually involve a vehicle reversing over a child on a .... 

You will live to regret this moment your whole life.

Make sure you either lock her inside the house or keep her with you in the car.

 Please watch out when reversing around children! just a little TINY blind
 spot, so  small you can't see them

Always be alert when driving - trust your six sense

- Slow down when you come to a corner, never know there is a stop car
- Look out for obstacle, can be anything from a dead animals,trees..etc
- sign of animals crossing
- warning sign - from headlight flashing of other drivers or horn
- triangle warning sign or tree branches on the ground use to inform a stall lorry or car
- look further ahead by using a high beam headlight when your are in dark spots but remember to switch back to normal when on coming car near.

Safety Reflective Folding Warning Triangle,
 a must-have for every car

Despite our routine care and maintenance to keep car in good condition, we can't still avoid accidents happen due to others driver carelessness.

Last Saturday my brother in law was driving back to Seremban from KL. He was driving home in the fast lane, when all of a sudden the 1st car  decide to slow down. My bro-in-law in the 3rd car was able to reacts as cautiously in emergency , he see no car emerge in his rear-view  mirror and apply emergency brake and swerve to the left.

In addition he just replace the rear tires have just save him from accidents as new tyres provide better grip handling.

The second car is unable or cannot see or react fast enough , crash into the first car rear bumper.

I could really relate to that experience on some stupid motorist who  not use their brains.

There is one time a girl motorist who is on a motorcycle who made a sudden stop due to something she dropped. I have to react quickly to avoid hitting her.

What a dumb dumb girl!

Anyway there are something which is beyond our control, we need to remind ourselves that all of our lives are in God's hands.

I am grateful, my family is safe and sound because god was watching over us.
I thanked God for that.


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