Always Drive Safely

Always Drive Safely

If you have decided to drive more slowly, whether for road conditions, enforcement, safety in general, or for better fuel economy, here is how to go about it:

1 Allow ample time to get where you are going - Don't forget preparation time (getting ready, driving time, or the potential for traffic or parking difficulties). If punctuality is critical, aim to arrive 10 to 15 minutes earlier, or more. This extra time will allow for unforeseen circumstances, and if you arrive early, it will give you time to collect yourself and your belongings before proceeding.

2 Practice accelerating and decelerating gently and gradually - Practice accelerating and decelerating gently and gradually. Press the pedal lightly and your moves will be gradual. This will save on fuel, improve traction in slippery conditions, and help you maintain a slower overall speed. Except in poor driving conditions, do not accelerate very slowly - keep up with overall traffic, at least with slower or more carefully driven vehicles like trucks and minivans. Accelerating too slowly leaves you in potentially dangerous areas such as intersections which can interfere with traffic patterns.

3 Braking gently saves wear on the brakes and is less likely to cause you to skid - To brake gently, leave additional space between you and the car in front, and anticipate upcoming braking, such as corners, stoplights, and slow traffic ahead. Driving slowly helps maintain that space and gives you more time to react.

4 Be patient - It is neither a race nor a time for zoning out. The objective is to get where you are going safely, stay alert and in control. To avoid traffic jams, you can reduce your commute (try driving earlier or later than usual when traffic lessens), or take public transport, or even telecommute. If these are not realistic, consider using the time to do something else, such as listening to an audio book, learning a new language, or catching up on the news on the radio.

5 Drive the speed of traffic - As noted earlier, the speed limits themselves do not indicate the perfect speed for poor conditions, and you will need to use your common sense for that. However, if the traffic speed is reasonable, and is setting a comfortable pace, this can be a soothing and safe speed for driving and remove your desire to drive too fast.

6 Even fast cars need space to overtake - Give others the space to pass. If the road you are traveling has more than one lane in each direction, be courteous and use the lane closest to your speed. If a narrower road has turnouts, use them to let anyone traveling faster behind you pass. You will know because they will be tailgating you!

7 Use lower gears and let the engine slow the car when descending longer hills - This is easier on your brakes and gives you more control. Work on keeping an even, moderate speed on highways. If your speed tends to inch up when you are not paying attention, follow behind someone who is going a stable, even speed. Keep a generous distance, or use cruise control if it is safe. Do not use cruise control on windy roads.

8 Time traffic lights correctly - A series of traffic lights, such as those on city streets, are generally timed so that a batch of cars can travel through at about the speed limit. The best way to drive through these, where your abilities and traffic allow, is to accelerate promptly from any stop to the speed limit, and continue at that speed - no faster.


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