Driving tips to help avoid possible harm on the road

Buddy’s driving tips are designed to be practical and ensure that even the most experienced drivers learn something new to avoid possible harm on the road.  Here’s to you being well prepared for the road ahead. 

While some reading this might have just acquired their driver’s licence and may benefit from the advice outlined below, even experienced drivers could do with a reminder from time to time.

Maybe you’ve been driving for many years and haven’t considered some of these points or maybe, like most of us, some things are taken for granted.

RAF Buddy wants you to be safe on the roads and stay out of harm’s way.

Here is a list of the top driving tips for new and experienced drivers to ensure that you are better prepared and focused while driving.

That way you can be safe and enjoy your next road trip – near or far.

Here are some practical driving trips to keep you safe:

Prepare before you leave

One of the best tips for safe driving is to get enough sleep (prior to a long drive) and take the time to set yourself up for your drive while you’re still parked. Set your GPS, select your music, make sure your phone is connected to Bluetooth as your phone remains one of the big culprits. Buddy realizes that communication and information are important elements of your daily life, but during driving it could cause major harm – no message or reason to take your eyes off the road could be worth more than your own life or the life of your fellow road users. Buddy suggests that you put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” and make sure any important communication is attended to before your start driving. Only attend to messages if you are parked and it is safe to do so.

Reality is life changing things can happen in the blink of an eye small adjustments of your driving habits will limit exposure to harm and bring a smile to Buddy’s dial.

Leave 5-minutes earlier

Planning ahead and leaving 5-minutes earlier helps prevent you from rushing. Double check that you have your driver’s licence on you, should you be stopped by the Metro Police to avoid delays.

If you’re not rushed, you have more time to think, more time to plan ahead while driving, and overall, less stress while on the road.

Get comfortable

Make sure your seat is in a comfortable position, your steering wheel is adjusted and check all side mirrors before the car starts to move. This way you do not have to do any adjustments while driving.

To check blind spots: A vehicle overtaking from behind you should start to appear in the side mirror just as it’s disappearing from the centre rear-view mirror.

Stop to refuel

This one means you, not your vehicle. If you are feeling hungry, rather stop at a garage to have a bite to eat and a proper coffee. Or you may opt to pack a cool bag with sarmies and other travel food that you like. On longer routes you might encounter very well maintained and safe picnic spots that you can stop and take a breather, stretch the legs. If you have to eat in the car get something that will not cause a distraction, something simple and practical like biltong sticks, nuts or whatever else tickles your fancy.

Look ahead

If there’s a broken-down car, or a slow-moving truck ahead of you, the sooner you identify the obstacle and plan around it, by changing lanes, the less likely you are to interrupt your driving flow. You may not even have to slow down.

Leaving your reaction time to the last minute is a disruption to the traffic flow and has a knock-on effect.

Pay attention

From road signs to right-of-way, there are rules drivers are required to understand and follow. Following the posted speed limit, leaving adequate space between you and the car in front of you, obeying traffic signals, and wearing your seat belt are just a few of them.

Obey traffic rules and signs – don’t use your phone whilst driving your trip might end up costing much more than you were planning on having to deal with traffic fines.

Slow down!

Speeding is another huge culprit and contributor of accidents. Ensure that you drive at a safe speed just enough to avoid any unforeseen eventuality and importantly allow a reasonable gap between you and the driver in front.

The higher your speed, the less reaction time, the bigger the risk of harm – traffic signs indicating speed or the presence of wildlife, fog etc. are there for a good reason, take note and adjust your speed accordingly.

Stay alert

Billboards, stop light vendors, flashy signs. There is so much noise and distraction going on around us. It’s easy to be a safer driver when you aren’t distracted by shiny objects.

When driving, stay focused on the road ahead and what is happening there instead of being persuaded to look elsewhere.

You have to drive with the presence of mind to try and be mindful of possible dangerous situations (maybe a taxi changing lanes expectantly or a car suddenly stopping in front of you) that might occur and focus on avoiding them.

Stay calm

Keep calm while driving. There are many factors to consider when getting behind a wheel and you have a huge responsibility to ensure your own safety and other road users.

Not everyone has the same ability to deal with stressful situations that we encounter on the road every day. Find your mojo whilst driving on a highway as it can be stressful and stay focused on the safety first concept.

Expect the unexpected

As safe and alert as you can be, accidents can happen. Remember to ALWAYS wear your seat belt. Just because traffic is slow it doesn’t mean that you can unlock your seat belt.

Keep your seat belt secure throughout your journey, and remember that your passengers also need to be buckled up. It’s the law that toddlers under three must be in a car seat.

Be confident

If you’re changing lanes, do it. If you decide to cross an intersection, do it – but you have to be 100% certain that it is safe to do so as to not create and obstruction and hazard to other road users.

Keep a cool head be aware of your surroundings – hesitation can leads to potential harm make your decisions well.

These driving tips are here to help you become a better, more purposeful and focused driver, the more time you spend driving the more confidence you will gain by applying these simple pointers.

RAF Buddy is mindful of the huge accident rate on our roads and prevention thereof is key. But accidents do happen. No one wilfully decides to cause an accident and should you be in the unfortunate position of being involved in an accident Buddy is here to help and explain the process of claiming from the RAF which may seem like a huge challenge on its own – with Buddy’s help, you can get all the assistance you need to allow you to make an informed decision going forward on your journey to recovery.