CAR TRICKS FOR SAFE DRIVING

The number one safety problem in American transportation is motor vehicle crashes. These crashes account for 94% of transportation deaths and 99% of transportation injuries.

One of the contributing human factors to these accidents is the lack of sufficient skills for safe driving. Most drivers view driving as a needed activity for commuting rather than a skill that needs to be polished.

Improving your car skills and learning a few tricks here and there will help you prevent accidents. Lots of damages are caused every year on the road due to easily avoidable circumstances. These damages can lead to high insurance rates even if the crash doesn’t result in any injuries.

Despite all of these consequences, most drivers remain complacent to learn driving tricks for safe driving. This article will dive into a few of these car tricks that you may want to know for your safety and others.

Driving tricks and techniques for safe driving

  1. Look for the best seating position and use the seat belt.

The first step to safe driving is to ensure good ergonomics for your sitting posture. The car trick here is to find an optimal position for your comfort. Begin by adjusting the seat while reaching for the pedals. You need to have enough space for your legs so that they don’t cramp. Moreover, you will need to have enough distance to depress the clutch pedal to its limit without straining your legs. Make sure your seat is adjusted well so you can see the road clearly while being comfortable at the same time. You will also need to have a little bending of the elbows to help your hands rest well for long periods of driving. Never forget to use the seat belt. Using a seat belt not only protects you in case of an accident but also prevents you from getting fined. 

Use seat belt

2. Adjust the mirrors

Adjust the Internal Rear-View Mirror and the Outside Rear-View Mirror to an optimal position. You need to adjust the mirrors for optimal visibility of what is behind your vehicle. It is crucial to have a clear view of the activities behind you to watch your own back. The best trick for adjusting the Outside Rear-View Mirror is to make sure your tail is visible on the side of the mirror.

3. Carry all the documents 

You should always carry these three documents whenever you drive; your driver’s license, your vehicle registration document, and proof of insurance. You may be required to show them if you get pulled over or during an accident. On top of that, the vehicle registration proves that your car can be legally driven on the road. A vehicle that is not registered should not be driven on the road. Lastly, driving without your proof of insurance may land you in jail since it is illegal in most states. Luckily, the digital age has made carrying these documents easier; you can use smartphone applications to store all needed data. All you would need is your phone on you at all times.

4. Check the surroundings while reverse parking your car.

Safe drivers reverse park by pulling the handbrake, getting out of the car to check the surroundings, and then returning into the car to park it. Following this procedure will help you mentally calculating the needed space for parking.

5. Check and reduce your blind spots.

Blind spots have led to lots of accidents. Many drivers will change lanes on the assumption that the lane next to them is empty when in fact, it isn’t. A collision will happen since there is another vehicle close to where the driver changed lanes. A blind spot is usually a spot where a car pulling alongside your car is not visible in your side mirror or your rear-view mirror and has not yet reached close by to be seen through your peripheral vision. The best car tricks to avoid blind spots are adjusting the mirrors, knowing your blind spots, and waiting for a given time frame before changing lanes. You should keep in mind the blind spots of other drivers and never forget motorcycles on the road; they can be deadly affected by the blind spots.

6. Avoid over-speeding and distractions.

Pay attention to the speed limits. It may be fun to speed as fast as you want and impress yourself with how fast and furious you can get, but do not forget that a lot of accidents are due to over-speeding. It can land you in jail or get you fined. The main concern for over-speeding, though, is the danger it poses to you and other road users. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) showcases how speeding is the number one factor in more than 25% of fatal accidents each year. Speeding is a choice made out of negligence that will sooner or later result in several preventable deaths. Distractions on the road can catch any driver by surprise. Safe drivers should be able to handle their vehicles well when observing the outside environment. Pull out of the main road if you must see something.

7. Avoid road rage 

Every driver has been engulfed with road rage at one point or another. It is straightforward to get offended by other drivers, especially in a traffic jam. You must remember to keep calm and stay level-headed when you find yourself confronting another driver on certain occasions, especially during an accident. Road rage has led to murder cases and hospitalizations; therefore, it is prudent to be careful, stay calm, and be patient to avoid dangerous confrontations and conflicts.

8. Watch out and pay attention to other drivers on the road.

Keeping a sufficient amount of distance between you and the other drivers is critical. This distance is essential in case you have to maneuver quickly to prevent an accident. The drivers behind you should also keep this distance just in case they have to avoid potential accidents. 

9. Take precautions for different weather conditions.

Driving in sunny conditions is not the same as driving in rainy, snowy, or foggy conditions. Safe driving entails the mastery of different car tricks for other weather conditions. Take extra precautions when the weather is not favorable. For example, the best car tricks for rainy conditions include; changing speed gradually, increasing your following distance, keeping your lights on, and keeping the radio on a lower volume.

9. Use a dashcam

Good inclusion to the revolutionary vehicle technologies is the dashcam. A dashcam can improve the driver’s safety. It protects the driver from false claims and increases accountability. Dashcams make life easier for drivers since they can remotely download the footage from an incident to help them figure out the truth of what might have happened.

Frequently asked questions

  1. How long will it take for me to become a good driver?

There is no definitive timeline set for beginners to become pro drivers. It may take a few weeks for some to become good drivers and maybe months for others. The best way to know if you are good at driving is to have a checklist of the driving skills you need. 

2. Why should a driver be extra cautious with motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians?

The reason why it is crucial to be extra careful with this demographic is the fact that they are difficult to spot in traffic. Motorcyclists and pedestrians are easily overlooked since they are a small percentage of the people on the road. 

3. Where does the law definitively require you to stop?

There are three scenarios that the law definitively requires you to stop. Failure to stop may get you fined or land you in jail. These scenarios include;

  • At a stop sign
  • When ordered by the police
  • When the traffic lights change to red

4. How can I ensure my vehicle is always road-worthy?

The best way to ensure your vehicle’s roadworthiness is to ensure the wheels, lights, steering wheel, brakes, and mirrors are in good working condition. Moreover, do not forget to maintain your car with frequent visits to the mechanic regularly.

5. Is driving school necessary?

As much as a friend or parent can teach you how to drive for free, the training you will get won’t compare to what a professional instructor gives. Driving schools will teach you essential car tricks and safe driving tips that your parents may not know. On top of that, taking driving lessons in a driving school helps you be more confident behind the wheel.

Conclusion 

These car tricks and driving tips are just a few of the many you can learn to help you drive safely. Driving is a continuous process that keeps changing with time and technology. It is prudent to polish those driving skills to be one step ahead of the driving challenges we face.

DROWSY DRIVING – FALL ASLEEP ON THE WHEEL

According to National Sleep Foundation surveys and studies, 50% of American adults consistently report that they have driven drowsy. Moreover, 20% admit that they have fallen asleep at the wheel in the previous year. Drowsy driving constitutes a significant percentage of road accidents, which is why these statistics are so shocking.

Most drivers are ill-informed on the dangers of driving while tired that they have become accustomed to not worrying about it. However, in recent years, experts have been calling for extra attention to this problem to reduce road accidents and crashes.

What is drowsy driving?

Drowsy driving, also known as driver’s fatigue, is the act of operating a motor vehicle while sleepy, tired, or fatigued.

Drowsy driving

Drowsy driving is deadly driving

Drowsy driving presents a huge risk for the driver’s health, the passengers, and other people. Driving while being tired can lead to severe road accidents resulting in loss of lives, injuries, and property destruction.

Drowsiness also affects the driver’s judgment, attention, prediction, vigilance, anticipation, and reaction time. It can make the driver lose their grip on the speed limit, forget to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, and shutters his/her defensive driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 100,000 police-reported crashes happen every year due to drowsy driving. These 100,000 estimated crashes cause more than 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.

Experts in traffic safety, sleep science, and public health organizations agree that this is underestimated. However, determining the real precise number is very difficult due to the very many factors involved. Crash investigators usually look for clues that drowsiness led to a crash, but these clues are never conclusive.

Furthermore, unlike alcohol impairment, which can be measured using blood alcohol measurements, i.e., a Breathalyzer, you cannot accurately measure sleep deprivation. Measuring sleep deprivation relies heavily on the drivers admitting that most people are reluctant to do it. In most cases, drowsy driving accidents end up being attributed to other factors.

Data from England, Finland, Australia, and other European countries showcases drowsy driving as 10% – 30% of all road accidents. As earlier stated, an estimated 20% of American adults admit that they have fallen asleep while driving in the previous year. With this in light, the estimated figure of drowsy driving-related accidents may be more than double the originally conceived figure.

In the U.S alone, drowsiness is the main culprit in approximately 21% of fatal crashes every year. Besides, the societal cost of drowsy driving in this country is estimated to be between $12.5 billion and $109 billion per year.

CDC has done several studies and surveys on the effects of drowsiness while driving. They found out that people who snored or slept for 6 hours or less per day were more likely to fall asleep while driving. 

Another study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that sleeping between six and seven hours a night doubled the risk of being involved in a crash. Getting less than five hours of sleep doubled the risk again.

Even though drunk driving and drowsy driving are not the same things, they have been found to cause the same number of crashes in controlled studies. 18 hours of being awake have been seen to have the same effect as having an alcohol content of 0.05%. 20 hours of being awake have also been seen to have the same effect as having an alcohol content of 0.08%. At 24 hours of being awake, you will exhibit an impairment similar to a blood alcohol content of 0.1%.

Why drowsy driving can land you in jail

Most states in the U.S have not outlawed drowsy driving specifically. However, it is considered a form of reckless driving in the same respect as drunk driving. Therefore, drowsy driving can land you in jail almost in the same manner as drunk driving.

As seen previously, being awake for 24 hours will lead to impairment similar to having a blood alcohol content of 0.1%. This is more than the legal limit of 0.08% in every American state.

To add salt to injury, you may end up paying huge settlements in some cases. Multi-million-dollar settlements have been made to families of accident victims. Lawsuits can be filed against an individual who drove drowsy for victim compensation, which is the same for businesses whose employees were involved in drowsy driving accidents.

Signs of drowsy driving

Even though there is no quick test to determine whether you are drowsy or not, there are a few signs you can be on the lookout for. In case you experience any of them, take regular driving breaks. 

You could pull over to a secure place and take a 15–20-minute nap, or if possible, change drivers. Do not turn up the music or open a window since these are not effective ways of staying awake.

Make sure to be on the lookout for these signs of drowsy driving:

  1. Constant and frequent yawning.
  2. Wondering thoughts.
  3. Taking your eyes off the road.
  4. Having trouble keeping your head up.
  5. Difficulties in keeping your eyes open.
  6. Restlessness, irritability, and aggressiveness.
  7. Trouble recalling the last few miles driven.
  8. Difficulties in keeping the appropriate safe distance from other vehicles.
  9. Missing road signs and exits.
  10. Drifting from your given lane or into the shoulder of the road.

Who is at risk?

1. Young drivers

Young drivers, especially male drivers, tend to drive drowsy due to their behaviors and lifestyle choices. Such choices may Include; working long hours, drinking alcohol, staying up till late, and getting little sleep. 

2. Shift workers

Working on rotating shifts can make It hard for anyone to sleep. Shift workers work at odd hours, even during the night when they are tired and need sleep. Their sleeping schedule is not set. 

Shift workers will often experience a circadian rhythm sleep disorder due to their sleeping schedule. Speaking, they suffer from a lack of sleep or poor sleep quality, making them less alert when driving.

3. Commercial drivers

These drivers tend to be on their seats throughout a long journey for long periods. Driving for such long distances, especially when the routine is very repetitive, can lead to boredom and drowsiness.

4. Ridesharing service providers

These individuals tend to work in non-fixed hours. They do not have set times for sleeping and resting. They may end up sleeping in many different situations, which is a condition referred to as cumulative partial sleep deprivation.

5. Business travelers

Business travelers find it hard to sleep in a different location due to their internal clock not syncing to different regions. Moreover, they find it hard to sleep during flights, which results in a huge problem for them.

6. People with the sleep disorder

Individuals who suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, Insomnia, or narcolepsy may experience drowsiness more frequently than most. This is more likely If the disorder goes untreated. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which affects more than 12 million people in the U.S, Is the major cause of drowsy driving.

Ways of reducing drowsy driving

1. Employee protection and safety

Places of work should incorporate enough guidelines and standard protocols to safeguard their workers from sleep deprivation. Safety and health programs can be used added to sufficiently inform and train employees to evade drowsiness. This is majorly important to certain employees such as commercial workers, shift workers, and business travelers.

2. University interventions

On average, a university student gets less sleep than most average adults. College kids sleep for less than six hours on average. Such a short amount of sleep can lead to drowsy driving and thus must be dealt with. Changing the education program and its schedule can help fix this problem.

3. Safety technologies

Governments should widely implement crash avoidance technologies to help in road and traffic safety. Safety technologies such as lane departure warnings and drowsiness alerts can help detect drowsy driving patterns. Detecting these drowsy driving patterns will warn the drivers to stay in their lane or take a break from driving.

4. Proper driving education 

Driving schools and parents should make it their top priority to teach young adults the importance of safety, especially young males. Young males are very vulnerable to breaking safe driving protocols. An emphasis on issues that should always be avoided, such as drowsy driving, will go a long way in saving their lives.

5. Sleep for at least 7 hours a day. 

Proper sleep for the proper amount of time is the only way you will get rid of your drowsiness. Make it a habit to sleep on a regular schedule with enough flexibility so that you can have a proper sleep daily.

6. Check in with your doctor in case you have any sleep disorders. 

Get the needed treatment and follow the recommended sleep guidelines given by your doctor. Sleep disorders can be annoying but are very manageable with good treatment and great care for your health.

7. Avoid drowsiness inducing medication while driving

While driving, avoid any given medication that has been sited to cause drowsiness. Check the medication label and instructions for any warning for side effects. Take note of the side effects and avoid taking the medication when you are driving, or the least, find a substitute driver to drive you around.

8. Do not drive during peak sleepiness periods

Avoid driving during the peak sleepiness periods in the late afternoon and between 12 a.m. – 6 a.m.

9. Drive with a group of people

A UCLA study found that having a group of friends or even just one friend can greatly reduce your chances of falling asleep while driving. This can also be of great advantage if you ever need to sleep and let the other person take over.

10. Drive during the day

If possible, drive during the day, especially when the sun is up. The sun stimulates melatonin production and your circadian rhythm. This helps in keeping you awake and alert during the day.

Nevertheless, the sun is a great source of vitamin D, which can help you sleep better during the night.

11. Drinking coffee or energy drinks alone cannot counter your drowsiness.

Remember that drinking coffee or energy drinks alone cannot counter your drowsiness. Coffee and energy drinks will temporarily fix the problem, but you will still experience microsleeps with four to five lost consciousness seconds. What does this mean? If you were driving at 55 miles per hour, you would have moved by 100 yards while asleep, enough distance to cause an accident.

The recommended strategy would be to take one or two cups of coffee and pull over for a 15-20- minute nap.

Factors that may contribute to drowsy driving

1. Shift work and traveling

Working night shifts or long shifts will affect your sleeping schedule and mess with your internal sleeping clock. Avoid long shifts or night shifts where possible, or the least, reduce them to a minimum so that you can maintain your internal sleeping clock and your sleeping schedule intact.

2. Feeling sleep-deprived

Sleep deprivation will make drivers less attentive, slow in reacting, and affect their ability to make critical decisions. It would be best if you never risked falling asleep at the wheel or even dozing off for a second. A lot can happen in that time frame. 

3. Medication interaction and lost sleep

You may have visited a doctor once and been told not to operate any machinery while taking the given medication. A lot of medications in the stores and those prescribed by a doctor can result in drowsiness.

They usually have warning labels and instructions on the oncoming side effects. Always make sure you read the side effects of any given medication you may be taking. You do not want your driving capabilities to be hindered. 

Some of the medications proven to cause drowsiness include; narcotic pain pills, antidepressants, tranquilizers, a few high blood-pressure pills, muscle relaxants, cold medicines, and obviously, sleeping pills.

4. Alcohol consumption

Consuming alcohol will make you sleepy. This is on top of all the other effects that drunkenness can cause, such as poor reaction time, mind wandering, and poor eyesight. Drunk drivers often become impulsive, overly confident in their driving skills, expressive, and partake in risky driving techniques.

Conclusion 

There are some road safety laws and precautions that may seem obvious but are very much ignored. Drowsy driving is one of them. Considering most people work up to five jobs 5 times a week, it is clear how drivers can quickly disregard drowsy driving.

However, awareness and progressive advocation on drowsy driving dangers have led to people becoming more vigilant.

Here is a summary of the precautions you may take to deal with drowsy driving:

  • Prioritize employee protection and safety.
  • Encourage university intervention to change sleep-depriving education programs.
  • Safety technologies to help prevent drowsy driving.
  • Proper driving education to teach the dangers and effects of drowsy driving.
  • Sleep for at least 7 hours a day.
  • Check-in with your doctor in case you have any sleep disorders.
  • Avoid drowsiness-inducing medication while driving.
  • Do not drive during peak sleepiness periods.
  • Drive with a group of people, especially during long drives.
  • Drive during the day.
  • Drinking coffee or energy drinks alone cannot counter your drowsiness. Incorporate driving breaks and short naps to the drinks if the coffee or energy drink is needed.

MASTER YOUR DRIVING TECHNIQUES

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1.35 million people die each year because of road accidents. About 90% of road deaths and accidents are due to poor driving techniques and human error. 

A lot of them are also due to the driver’s negligence and recklessness. This is sad because other road users (pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists) are the ones who get hurt half of the time.

Mastering a few driving techniques can help you own various tricks and tips that will maximize your driving and road safety confidence. It would be best if you always looked forward to improving your driving skills to be better at defensive driving and better at teaching others the same.It is our duty as vehicle owners and drivers to ensure each other’s safety, protect other road users and maintain our vehicles’ conditions as much as we can.

Why is it essential to improve your driving skills?

Mastering your driving techniques is important to you and other road users. Simple mistakes and poor techniques can lead to severe consequences on the road. It is essential to polish and improve your driving skills so that you can protect yourself and others.

Moreover, who doesn’t want to be the best driver on the road, a Dominic Toretto, you might say, doing Fast and Furious like maneuvers – stunts from these movies should always be avoided, though.

Driving techniques and skills can diminish with time, and it is crucial to keep practicing. A lot of us tend to let go of the standard protocols once we get our license. With no one to examine or vet our methods, we drive as we wish, throwing away the required best practices. You need to polish your driving skills to become a better driver and a master at something beneficial.

Master your driving techniques

Characteristics of a safe driver

Everyone thinks they are good at driving. After passing the driver’s test and getting your license, your ego tends to become over-inflated. And it is okay; it happens. You start relaxing your seat way more than you should and start making sharp turns even when you know you shouldn’t.

You will need to frequently horn and improve your driving techniques to be considered a good driver. Learn a new method, excellent short cuts, and tricks. However, most of what makes a good driver has more to do with mental abilities than technical ones. Here is a list of a few characteristics of a good driver that can help you improve your driving skills:

1. Right attitude

The road can be frustrating and very tasking. It will test you daily, and this involves the driving conditions and other drivers too. The key to deal with all of this is to be calm and tolerant of the situation. 

A good driver knows how to take charge of his/her attitude in emergencies and minor road inconveniences. A good driver knows his/her habits, good or bad, and knows how to improve them. He/she also knows how to be present and carry out the best action in any given situation.

No one is perfect. There is always more to learn. Please have the right attitude towards your shortcomings and how to improve on them.

2. Knowledge and expertise

A good driver is fully aware of what he/she may encounter on the road, the rules to be followed, the places and conditions to avoid. He/she knows the vehicle’s ability and condition. He/she knows what may lead to accidents, which roads to take, and which ones to avoid.

3. Mastering defensive driving

Defensive driving entails the ability to understand, identify and react to potentially dangerous situations before they happen to protect yourself and others. 

Good drivers know how to anticipate, predict and react to various situations. Such situations may include; pedestrians about to cross the road, a driver about to overtake, the motion of other vehicles, obstacles on the road, stray animals, or even kids playing near the road. 

4. Patience

A good driver knows not to be impatient while behind the wheel. Traffic jams, car troubles, and impaired drivers’ presence on the road are enough to make any driver go crazy. You will need to learn how to collect and calm yourself in such situations if you want to be a good driver.

5. Responsibility

Good drivers take responsibility for their actions. Everyone makes mistakes here and then; owning them and taking steps to rectify them is a great skill. This is crucial, especially when you get involved in an accident and answer for it. 

6. Educated and trained

You obviously cannot call yourself a good driver if you are not well trained and educated from a reputable driving school. Yes, there are some things you can teach yourself or be taught by your parents. However, there are other things that you or your parents may overlook regardless of their importance. Furthermore, taking courses can teach you how to be a confident driver and improve your driving skills.

7. Car maintenance

A good driver knows that a poorly maintained car is unsafe for anyone on the road. Good drivers will regularly maintain their vehicles and keep them at optimal performance at all times.

Driving skill checklist

A driving skill checklist will help you prepare for the driver’s test and improve your driving techniques. There are a few standardized protocols that make most driving checklists, which we will list in this article. You can contact your local DMV for more information and guidelines.

Beginner level checklist

  1. Pre-vehicle checks.
  2. In-vehicle checks.
  3. Starting the vehicle.
  4. Smooth driving – how to move and steer the vehicle smoothly and correctly.
  5. A visual scan of the inside and outside of the vehicle
  6. Smooth braking – how to brake and stop the vehicle smoothly and accurately.
  7. Accurate turns.
  8. Backing up techniques.
  9. Parking techniques.
  10. Posture techniques.

Intermediate level checklist

  1. Following distance – a minimum of 2-second following distance.
  2. Communication with other drivers.
  3. Twelve seconds of scanning ahead.
  4. Rules and regulations – precisely road signs and speed limits at this level.
  5. Signaling – a minimum of 100 feet ahead of making a turn.
  6. Hazard identification.
  7. Parking – on a curb, on an incline, on an angle, and straight-in parking.
  8. Defensive driving – for rural areas, urban areas, hospitals, neighborhoods, and school zones.
  9. Roundabouts – entering and exiting.
  10. Intersections – maneuvering through open and traffic-controlled intersections correctly and safely.
  11. Scanning – in and around the vehicle.

Advanced level checklist

  1. Night visibility – compensating for reduced visibility at night for night driving.
  2. Weather visibility – compensating for different weather conditions; heavy rains, light rains, hail, and fog.
  3. Driving on the expressway.
  4. Highways – entering and exiting.
  5. Traffic – driving, and maneuvering through rush hour traffic and jams.
  6. Motorcyclists and cyclists – identifying and responding to the motions of motorcycles and bikes.
  7. Handling hazards – sufficiently addressing several tricky driving hazards.
  8. Emergency protocols – how to take yourself in emergencies and protocols to follow.
  9. Escape routes – identifying escape routes and best ways out of multiple road situations.

What should be noticed before getting on the road?

There is nothing more frustrating to a driver than his/her car breaking down in the middle of the road. It destroys your peace of mind, especially when you thought your car was fine. 

It is advisable to perform a thorough safety inspection, and if necessary, maintenance procedure before getting on the road. Here is a list of the things you will need to consider; some of them are easy and straight forward to do yourself, whereas others may need a mechanic:

1. Condition of your tires.

Tires need to be in the best condition, especially when you are getting on the road for hours on end. Tires are perhaps the most important and first part of the vehicle that you should always check. 

Check for any punctures or tears in your tire, and you can hire a mechanic to do this if you do not have the expertise or resources. Perform a pressure check on your tire to make sure it is well inflated.

You will also need to check the tread depth and see if the tires are incredibly worn out (the recommended safe tire depth is above 4/32 inches). Spare tires should replace worn-out ones immediately. This brings us to the next step – get a spare tire. Make sure the spare wheel has a wheel inflated tire with enough pressure.

2. Fluids and oil.

You will need to perform a couple of fluid checks: fuel, oil, brake fluid, coolant, transmission fluid, radiator coolant, windshield washer fluid, and power steering fluid. A mechanic will know exactly how to do all of these checks, but you can perform them yourself if you can.

You may be shocked that fuel checks are on this list, but surprisingly, most people forget and end up stuck in the middle of nowhere. 

Check your oil levels to see if they are between the minimum and maximum levels using your car’s dipstick. Add the oil if needed.

You do not want your car to overheat or your engine to freeze. Check coolant levels when the engine is cold and find the correct coolant that can be used to top it up if needed.

A tank under the bonnet houses the windshield washer fluid; check it and top it up with an appropriate replacement. You can find this at most petrol stations.

3. Leaks

After checking the fluids, you will now be in the right position to know if you have leaks under the hood. The leaks may be found in the components housing the fluids or along the hoses transmitting them. Another way to know your leak is to look on the floor of your garage for any shiny texture, oily-looking spills. 

You should fix the leaks immediately, if any.

4. Lights

You do not want to drive in an unknown region in those dangerous hours of the night with broken or malfunctioning lights. Fix broken ones and replace others if necessary.

5. Wipers

You should also check the wipers. Make sure they are working properly on the windscreen and avoid making your vision blurry.

6. Brake pads

In regular use, brake pads will eventually require replacements between 25 000 and 70 000 miles. Your driving style and vehicle model highly predicate this. Please take note of any unusual noises from the brake pads and report them to your mechanic. He/she will be able to determine if they are in good condition or need replacements.

7. Battery

4-year-old batteries need to be replaced since they have probably reached the end of their life cycles. Check for any corrosion on the terminals and clean them with hot water, apply petroleum jelly afterward.

Get the battery checked out if your engine has problems starting when you turn on the ignition. More importantly, your mechanic should check the starting and charging system – this is to notice whether your battery is being drained more than usual.

8. Steering

Problems with steering can be caused by poor wheel alignment. A mechanic or technician can take the car for a spin and note any irregular steering motions.

9. Air conditioning

You will not have fun on a road trip, especially during the summer, if your air conditioning is faulty or broken. You may be able to inspect the pipework visually, but you will need a professional to check the entire system thoroughly.

10. Air filters

Clogged air filters will not protect your car’s interior from outside particles and debris. It can also lead to poor fuel efficiency and reduced engine power. Mechanics recommend you change your air filters after 12 000 miles or after 12 months. Perform a visual inspection and replace them if needed.

Tips for mastering your skills

1. Driving training courses

It can be a little bit weird to go for driving training courses when you are already driving. However, these courses can be beneficial if you want to improve your driving techniques. 

Driving courses will teach you how to be a confident driver. There are some shortcuts, and speeding tricks that experienced drivers can only guide.

These courses are essential, especially those for defensive driving. Such courses will teach you how to avoid hazards on the road and anticipate multiple occurrences to predict potentially harmful situations.

2. Neglect your distractions

Ditch every distraction that may tempt you to look away from the road. These include; texts, calls, food, and even passengers. Your head should be kept straight and looking forward apart from the occasional glances at the rear-view and side mirrors.

3. Safety first

Ensure to adhere to all the safety vehicle and road precautions provided by your car manufacturer and the law in general. We all know that some may seem extreme, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

4. Know your vehicle

Good drivers have in-depth knowledge and understanding of their vehicles. 

5. Stick to the speed limit

The first reason to keep the speed limit is that it is a road rule and regulation. Getting stopped for over speeding is not fun for anybody.

The second reason is for your safety and car handling skills. High speeds will mess with your confidence and make you worried about your level of control and maneuverability. You will find it difficult to stop in time and make specific movements, especially if you notice an incoming accident.

Moreover, steady speeds will help you perform head checks – to safely look away from the driving lane to check for objects on the sides of the driving lane. 

6. Don’t worry about other drivers

Fear, worry, and intimidation may prompt you into worrying about other drivers. Don’t. Focus on your driving, do not be distracted. Please don’t focus on the other drivers, whether they are speeding or doing certain maneuvers. Keep your head straight and pay attention to the road.

7. Practice

Practice! Practice! Practice!

It does indeed make things perfect. As you may well know, you have to practice something if you ever want to be good at it. Driving is no exception. 

You can practice by changing locations, going to rough rounds, longer roads, curvy roads, residential areas, rural and urban areas. You can also use simulation games to practice hand-eye coordination, speed changing when making turns, and judging distances.

Conclusion 

Mastering the most crucial driving techniques can seem like a less important thing for typical drivers to do. Most drivers will be okay with knowing the bare minimum. However, it is essential always to remember the benefits of mastering these driving techniques.

The skills will help you avoid lots of close calls, reduce damages to your vehicle, reduce injuries from minor and major accidents, lower repair costs, but most importantly, reduce stress while driving.

BE ALERT: Don’t Drink And Drive

What Is Alcohol-Impaired Driving

Being in physical control of alcohol or operating a vehicle while being intoxicated is called alcohol-impaired driving. Alcohol-impaired drinking is also known as drunk driving. Using a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol count (BAC) of at least 0.08% is a punishable offense. Alcohol impairs the reasoning and thinking capabilities of the brain. Consumption of alcohol can impair driving skills, and it can be dangerous for the person in question and others out there. The amount of alcohol needed to affect an individual differs from person to person, so driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous in any situation.

Facts About Drunk Driving

If you are wondering why drunk driving is such a big issue, consider looking at the following facts:

  • After drinking, it takes about six hours for a body to eliminate alcohol from its system with a BAC level of .08 g/dl. This level is dangerous as the drunk driver is 11 times more likely to face a fatal accident from the driver with no alcohol consumption. 
  • 75% of drunk drivers get involved in fatal collisions because of not wearing seat belts. 
  • Drugs are also involved in nearly 18% of the accidents and consumed along with the alcohol. Even consumption of 3-4 beers is enough for a 170-pound man to make him too drunk. For females, the quantity varies to 1-3. 
  • On average, each drunk driver has driven 80 times before getting arrested for the first time. In comparison, men are twice as likely as women to be involved in an accident under alcohol influence.
  • Alcohol is responsible for over half of the teenage deaths due to road accidents. A teenager is likely to die every 15 minutes in case of drunk driving.
  • Drunk driving mostly occurs in rural countries than in major cities. 

Underage Drinking

Alcohol consumption is prevalent among the youth in the US, which is followed by dreadful outcomes. Underage drinking can cause many health problems that may show up later, like heart diseases, liver problems, high blood pressure, disrupt one’s sleeping cycle, and so on. It can also make room for risky behavioral changes such as drinking and driving and trigger depression, anxiety, and other mental health-related issues.

Underage drinkers most easily fall for binge drinking when facing problems, turning them into an alcoholic in the later stage. Apart from the health issues, it also affects their performance at school/college/universities and sabotages the concentration levels.

What Is Underage Drinking

Consumption of alcohol by people under the age of 21 is called underage drinking and is considered an offense in the United States. Underage drinking is punishable, followed by cancellation of license, fine/penalty, or jail. An individual can legally drink after the age of 21. 

Adolescents are not considered responsible enough for drinking before a certain age. They can put themselves as well as others into problems that could be fatal at times.

Underage drinking

Consequences Of Underage Drinking

Underage drinking can affect an individual physically, psychologically, and legally, potentially dangerous and deadly. You must be wondering how and why it is so. Well, here are the following consequences to educate you about the severity of this cause.

1.     Physical Aspects

Underage drinking causes severe behavioral changes such as thrill-seeking and risky behavior, which includes drunk driving. Every year many teenagers lose their lives to accidents that involve at least one person who’s under the influence of alcohol. Teenagers might also get involved in violence where they can be the victim or the accused. 

Binge drinking can also affect their brain’s development and cause other serious health problems like cancer, liver-related issues, and heart problems. There could be an increase in the risk of sexual assault and other risky sexual behaviors. Underage drinking also plays a significant role in leading them towards alcoholism.

2.     Psychological Aspects

As stated above, underage drinking severely affects the development of the brain and hinders its functioning. Down the line could cause memory loss, lack of cognitive abilities, lack of concentration, and short attention span. All these factors can influence an individual’s grade and personal performance. Consumption of alcohol can also trigger mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

3.     Legal Consequences

Under the laws of the United States, underage drinking is considered an offense and is punishable. It can cause legal consequences, including fines, imprisonment, community service, and license cancellation, followed by a lifelong trauma. The parent or guardian of the individual can also be held liable for any injuries caused under alcohol influence if consumed in their home.

How To Prevent Teenagers From Underage Drinking

Trying out alcohol is very common among teenagers these days. There is no safe amount of alcohol for consumption by teenagers or individuals practicing underage drinking. Why? Because it has a lot of harmful effects which start showing up later in one’s life.

1.     Be A Good Influence

Their friends and family mostly influence a teen’s behavior. If you have an underage individual around you, you can play a crucial role in their future drinking habits. Being a good influence is all about how you pursue and talk about alcohol around adolescents in your company or family. 

2.     Creating A Safe Environment

One should not normalize the consumption of alcohol or other habits associated with it. Parents should build up a friendly environment for their children to make it easy for them to talk about such things. They should educate about the necessity for good company while drinking not to get influenced wrongly. Create a safe environment for any further discussions.

3.     Education Is The Key

It’s indispensable to educate them about all the harmful effects of alcohol, how it affects their health, and how it induces risky behavioral instincts. Teenagers get influenced by the people around them, so it is imperative to drink responsibly in front of them. 

4.     Alcohol Is Not An Escape

Drinking under stress or portraying alcohol as an escape from a “bad day” should be avoided. You could unknowingly end up cultivating serious alcoholism problems in your child because they will start treating alcohol as their getaway. 

Educating underage individuals about drunk driving, risky sexual behaviors, using other drugs, and binge drinking plays a vital role in their future drinking habits and how they handle them responsibly.

How Severe Is Drunk Driving?

At this point, you might feel drinking is preventable, so why make such a big fuss about it. Though it is indeed unstoppable, liquor’s addictive nature doesn’t allow a person to escape it that easily. Driving under the influence of drinking is a leading cause of death in the USA. Approximately 30 people die every day due to drunk driving, and these are just the reported deaths we are talking about. More than 100 million drivers detected driving under alcohol’s influence in a year.

Alcohol plays with your mind. It deceives you into overconfidence and makes you dizzy. The worst part is that the detected drivers make up for the population of drugged driving figures. Imagine how disastrous a person’s driving under the toxication of multiple drugs and alcohol would be!

There are multiple awareness programs for drinking addiction and drunk driving plight, but how effective are they? The number of drunk drivers is increasing day by day exponentially, and the strictest of laws are turning out to be redundant. 

One more critical issue related to drunk driving is its prevalence in youngsters. Teenagers are not only drowned in drugs and alcohol but drive rashly and indulge in road rash daily. Though there are laws and penalties imposed on illegal drinking, as mentioned earlier, they are insufficient. 

How To Detect Drunk Drivers

Do you ever ponder upon how police detect drunk drivers? Except for the breathalyzer and other medically approved ways, there are certain tell-tale traits of an impaired driver.

1.     Looking For The Signs

Police look for signs like accelerating, zigzagging on the road, driving recklessly, hitting other objects or motor vehicles, jumping traffic signals, or any further indication associated with reckless driving. If any of the stated signs are registered, police are most likely to pull you over and check your alcohol consumption.

2.     Screening And Breathalyser

Initially, there is a conducted screening at the roadside to detect if the individual is under the influence of alcohol. If tested positive, a breathing test is undertaken further at the police station. For more detailed analysis, police can also ask for a blood test. If the BAC is at least 0.08%, there will be an initiation of legal actions like license cancellation for another 24 hours or fine, or both. Repeated offenders will have to face the revocation of their license permanently.

3.     How To Be Of Help

How can you help the police? First of all, don’t drink and drive. You can be of great help if you stop yourself and others around you from driving under the influence of alcohol. If you notice any other individual driving recklessly or sense any of the above-stated traits, call 911. 

Do not try to stop or follow the vehicle. You might end up hurting yourself or breaking traffic rules. The best possible way is to inform the police about such situations and let them do their job. You can note down the number plate, the vehicle’s color, the car model, or any other specification that could help spot the car.

Prevention

It is rather frightening to know that one-third of total crashes and deaths happen because of drunk driving. If these facts are not enough to warn you about the lethality of driving under alcohol’s influence, you must know that most drunk drivers are youth.

If there are pressing considerations upon this issue, the crisis is not unstoppable. Following are some preventive measures you should adapt to dodge any mishap and to lend a hand in the effective prohibition of drinking under the influence of alcohol: 

1.     Find A Driver

If you drink and immediately have to travel to someplace, ask a friend to drive you. There is no shame in asking for help in times of need like this, and this way, you can avoid dare consequences. Offer guidance to people after a party and ensure their safety as a responsible citizen. Your little efforts will not only save them but other people on the streets too. 

2.     Call For A Taxi

There could be circumstances where finding a friend to drive is impossible. Well, in such cases, you can always call a taxi or Uber and reach home without endangering your and other people’s lives.

3.     Caution Friends And Loved Ones

Talking openly about this topic among friends and family is the need of the hour. Get comfortable in initiating such talks, and don’t be imposing. Try to convince the younger ones against drinking and, more importantly, driving afterward. 

Children in their growing age enjoy the freedom and sometimes end up making bad decisions. In such times you need to talk them out of that situation and help them. Always look for warning signs. Monitor your child’s activities, and the kind of company they have, their behavior towards their studies and family members. 

4.     Do Not Over Drink

Keep your consumption in check. When drinking outside, consume alcoholic drinks within a limit. Over drinking can deceive you and make you believe that you can drive the day, but it’s an illusion. Be wise.

5.     Do Not Mix Alcohol With Other Drugs

The blending of alcohol with drugs amplifies the total effect and cause various impairments. Keep in mind, never mix drugs with alcohol! 

Conclusion 

With the increasing anxiety issue and depleting mental health, consumption of alcohol has become the new normal. People of every age indulge in alcoholism without speculating its consequence in later life and suffer. When drinking and driving, coupled together, the outcome is nothing but deadly. Encourage talks around you and warn people against the severe aftermaths of drunk driving.