We would like to share advice and suggestions from the BMW Driver instructors on how to drive for increased safety on the road:
Every time we pick up the car keys we are potentially placing ourselves at risk of being involved in a vehicle collision. Nearly all collisions are avoidable if we are prepared.
Let’s start with the basics:
Prior to your journey ensure that your vehicle is up to the task. It must be mechanically sound. The tyres need to be in good condition. Tow hitches must be in good operating order. Have it seen by specialists and listen to their advice.
Plan your trip! Know where you are going to stop for fuel and refreshments. It is important to stop every two hours in order to take a break.
Have all relevant emergency numbers on a handy reference card as well as stored in your cell phone. Teach the kids what to do in the event that they are the only ones conscious after a collision.
Have the following with you in the vehicle: A first aid kit, warm blanket (space blanket may be included in first aid kit), lighter, warning triangle, water, food.
Have a map handy if you will be unfamiliar with the area.
Now let’s focus on us the driver:
In order to keep ourselves safe we need to understand a few things:
Excessive speed does kill! If you have not matched your speed to the surroundings you are in trouble. If you are considerably faster or slower than the traffic around you, you are placing yourself at risk.
Following distance! It needs to be at least 3 seconds between yourself and the vehicle that you are following. Your priority is to get to your destination safely. Our perception that we won’t make progress if we maintain a following distance is nonsense! We keep a following distance to ensure that we have enough time to understand and then react to a hazard calmly. Close the distance at your peril.
Stopping distance! When you are stationary behind another vehicle always ensure you maintain roughly a car length so that in an emergency you can escape easily. Keep checking your rear view mirror.
Scan the road as far ahead as possible to ensure you identify hazards early. The majority of major collisions takes place at intersections, check them thoroughly.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs would obviously increase your chances of being involved in a collision. Don’t do it. At best you may only kill yourself.
Seatbelts should be worn by every occupant in the vehicle. Serious injury can and will occur should the occupants not be belted in and smash into each other. Small children must be in an appropriate child seat. No child may stand on the seats. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. Their lives are at extreme risk if they are not belted in.
Talking on the cell phone increases your chances of being involved in a collision by 4 times. Don’t do it.
Give yourself enough time to reach your destination. Take into account their may be road blocks, traffic jams, accident scenes or adverse weather conditions to contend with.
Remember that there are six things that make up the advanced driver:
Concentration – A drop in concentration could be fatal.
Common sense – We know when we are taking risks.
Courtesy – Costs us nothing.
Awareness – Know what is happening around you
Anticipation – Expect the worst and prepare for it
Judgement – Plan the safest action in an emergency (Forget about hand brake turns)
At the end of the day our safety is our responsibility. Don’t put yourself in a position that would place at risk of becoming another statistic. We are not a statistic to those who love us.