ABS
(Anti-Locking Braking System)
If your vehicle is fitted with anti-lock brakes, they can be very useful in an emergency. When the wheels are about to lock, a sensor control releases the brakes and then applies them again, which is really automatic rhythmic braking. In other words, you can keep the pressure on and steer at the same time. When you use the brakes in this way you will feel the operation of the system as a pulse through the brake pedal. When you feel this pulse you must keep the pedal depressed until the vehicle has stopped. Do not pump the brake pedal, this defeats the purpose of the ABS. Allow the ABS to work for you, by always maintaining firm steady pressure on the brake pedal as you steer away from danger. If the anti-lock function of the braking system shuts down, the brakes will still operate just like an ordinary system without ant-lock, providing normal stopping ability. A word of warning, although ABS will help you to stop safely do not be tempted to drive with less care. Anticipation is the key to your safety-even your survival.
ACCELERATOR STUCK If the accelerator becomes stuck, quickly hook your toe under it to try and free it. If it does not become free, it will probably be due to a broken throttle return spring. Simply check the mirrors so you know what is happening behind and to the sides of your vehicle: shift your vehicle into neutral and brake gently to a stop at a safe place without crossing in front of any other vehicles. If you have power steering or a locking steering wheel DO NOT turn off the ignition, as you may lose either your power steering or your ability to steer.
ADVANCED DRIVING Advanced Driving is an ability to control the position and speed of the vehicle safely, systematically and smoothly, using road and traffic conditions to progress unobtrusively with skill and responsibility. This skill requires a positive but courteous attitude and a high standard of driving competence based on concentration, effective all around observation, anticipation and planning. This must be co-ordinated with good handling skills. The vehicle will always be at the right place on the road at the right time, traveling at the right speed with the correct gear engaged and can always be stopped safely in the distance that can be seen to be clear.
AGGRESSIVE DRIVER’S In recent study of driving behaviour (initiated by the author of this book), it was established that male motorists between the ages of 17 to 35 were not only the most aggressive but also the most likely to be involved in a traffic collision. This study revealed that drivers who have engaged in vehicle combat, such as driving straight at another vehicle, chasing another car when annoyed, preventing another driver passing by cutting in front of their vehicle, slamming the brakes on suddenly or attempting to ram another vehicle off the road, were also within this agegroup. If you encounter this type of psychopathic behaviour on the road invoke the “ just world ” hypothesis – that oneday the driver will get what they deserve – and get as far away as possible.
AIRBAGS Airbags are designed to provide further protection to the driver and front passenger when added to the principle protection provided by the seatbelts. In response to a severe frontal impact, the airbags work simultaneously with the seatbelts to help prevent or reduce injury. They decrease the likelihood of the driver’s or front passenger’s head or chest directly hitting the steering wheel or dashboard, thereby lessening the risk of serious injury. In the event of a serious crash the airbags will fully inflate to protect the driver and front passenger. They will then deflate to absorb the impact. The total time for inflation and deflation is a fraction of a second. When the airbags inflate a loud noise is produced by the inflators.After a crash you will see powder on the exterior of the airbags. This is not harmful. However, drivers with respiratory problems may experience some interim discomfort from the chemicals used by the airbag activators. It would be prudent to wash off any residue as soon as possible to prevent minor skin irritation.To reduce the possibility of injury, you should always wear your seatbelt, sit up straight and well back from the steering wheel so that you are in a comfortable position and have easy access to the foot and hand controls. Some people sit on a cushion when they are driving to raise themselves higher or for added comfort. However, recent tests have shown that this practice may increase the chances of being injured if a crash occurs.The horror of a car collision can be much worse if there are children in the car. Do not under any circumstances allow a child to kneel or to stand up on the front passenger seat. The airbag inflates with considerable speed and force, and the child may be seriously injured or killed. Likewise, do not hold a child in your arms or on your lap. If a collision occurs, the child can be crushed against the windscreen or between you and the vehicle’s interior if you are not properly restrained. Never use a rearward-facing child safety seat in the front of the car where there is a passenger airbag. If the airbag inflates, it can hit the rear-facing seat with great force, which may cause the rear-facing seat to separate and this could result in serious injury to the child.According to safety experts if your car has a front passenger’s airbag and it cannot be de-activated the speed and force of an inflating airbag could injure or possibly kill a child in the event of a crash, even with a suitable or approved child restraint system correctly fitted. It would be far safer to put children and any child restraint system on the rear seat.Do not place any items on top of the passenger’s airbag storage compartment. If the airbag inflates, those items can be propelled inside the car and possibly injure someone. Remember any restraint system you install should conform to the appropriate standards.
ALERT DRIVING To be able to drive safely in today’s modern traffic conditions you must be mentally alert at all times and be responsive to all that is happening on the road as you drive along. To make this possible you must have 100% concertration. You’re most likely to have a collision if you are feeling tired, unwell, stressed, anger or tense. In detailed survey carried out in the USA, researchers found that drivers falling asleep at the wheel caused many collisions and most sleep related collisions happened between 4 am and 6 am. The investigators also found that these collisions were three times more likely to result in serious injury or death than any other road collision. This was because sleepy drivers failed to brake to try to prevent the collision – so the impact was worse.Their study also revealed that many drivers found long distance motorway driving very monotones. This caused them to daydream whilst driving, often going into a trance. In fact, the survey found that many long distance drivers had absolutely no recollection of large parts of their journey. Of the drivers who fall asleep at the wheel, shift workers and drivers who embark upon long journeys in the morning with insufficient sleep the night before, are most at risk.To avoid falling asleep whilst driving, open your window for ventilation and stop frequently to drink coffee, take some exercise or have asleep. During the drive exercise your eyes by reading road signs and by shifting the focus of your eyes to different areas of the roadway. Remember, Stay Awake, Stay Alive. If you keep alert and observant whilst driving and constantly read the road ahead to anticipate what might happen, you will be neither the victim nor the cause of a collision.Coffee advice not best practice should be seen as an absolute last resort, and is not a substitute for correct planning and having a good nights sleep.
ANIMALS IN THE STREET If you are driving at speed, do not brake or swerve to avoid a dog or a cat running out in front of you if another vehicle is traveling closely behind you. The following driver could run into you, or you may even collide with oncoming traffic. You should always use your judgement to decide whether it is better to run the animal over or brake sharply. It may seem cruel, but it is far safer to hit the animal even though this is the last thing you want to do. Many people have been seriously injured or killed when drivers have swerved suddenly to avoid a dog or cat. Remember, if you are involved in a collision that cause injury or death to an animal notify the nearest police station as soon as possible.
ANTENNA AND SIDE MIRRORS When you park your car, always remove the antenna or put it fully down to stop it being vandalized. If you park your car in a narrow road and your car is fitted with spring loaded side or wing mirrors, you should consider tucking them in, to avoid them being damaged by passing motorists who have failed to give your vehicle sufficient clearance.
ATTITUDE AND BEHAVIOUR Driving is an art. To be a safe and skilful driver you need concentration, anticipation, patience, sound judgement, confidence and a responsible attitude. To gain these qualities, you must adopt from the outset a safe disposition to your driving. This means being aware of your own and the vehicle’s limitations, the rules of the road, and always giving consideration to other road users, including the most vulnerable – pedestrians. Always bear in mind that some pedestrians may never have driven a car. They could be entirely unaware of how their actions may cause problems for motorists. Adopting the correct attitude will keep you safe and will decrease your chances of being involved in a collision.Your attitude whilst driving can greatly influence other driver’s behaviour. When something happens on the road it is automatic to assume the other driver did something deliberately to annoy you. Some drivers respond with hand gestures, angry head lamp flashing and horn tooting, cursing or calling names. Even if you think the other driver acted deliberately, invoke the “ just world ” hypothesis – that those who drive with bad attitude or behaviour tend to be the ones who end up getting hurt. Leave it to them and get out of their way. Remember, the best way to improve road safety is for every driver to display a spirit of tolerance to one other.
AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION It is easier and safer to drive an automatic car. There is less gear changing to worry about, it is less tiring whilst driving in traffic and you hardly ever have to take your hands off the steering wheel.They also have less rear-end collisions, where another driver runs into the back of them, as they tend to have their foot on the brake in stationary traffic, making their vehicles more visible to following traffic.Kick-down
To accelerate quickly in a car with automatic transmission you can use the accelerator pedal to select the next lower gear. Do this by fully depressing the accelerator quickly. This is commonly known as ‘Kick-Down’ and is very useful when you need quick acceleration, perhaps for overtaking. To return to the higher gear again, simply ease the pressure on the accelerator pedal.Could add something about ‘tiptronic’ gearboxes?The parking brake
The purpose of the parking brake is to secure the car for safety reasons when it is stationary or parked. You should always use the parking brake if your car has a tendency to ‘ creep ‘ forward. This may happen if the tick – over of the engine gives enough drive to move the car. Many drivers rely on creep to hold the car on an uphill gradient. This could be dangerous, the car may roll back without warning if the engine stops for any reason.
AVOIDING COLLISIONS WITH PEDESTRIANS Every year there are thousands of road collisions involving death or injury. However, collisions don’t just happen – they are caused by human error.Many pedestrians, especially the elderly and the young, die in road collisions every year. The vast majority of these happen in built-up areas where the speed limit is 40mph or less. In built-up areas take account of pedestrians and animals, and be prepared to stop if they run out in front of you without warning. Be especially mindful of pedestrians who are ready to step off the pavement or have already stepped onto the road.Look out for people with white walking sticks or guide dogs. Remember that some people who are deaf or hard of hearing will not detect your car approaching. Elderly people may need more time to cross the road, be patient and give them plenty of time. Never put them under pressure to cross the road quickly or leave them stranded in the middle of the road.Tall hedges, buildings, roadside furniture or parked vehicles may also obstruct your vision. If your vision is restricted as you turn into a road, you may conflict with pedestrians who have already started to cross. Try and anticipate the actions of pedestrians by looking at a ‘ traffic picture ‘ ahead and imagine what it will look like in a few seconds time. For example; picture a child standing between parked cars and a pedestrian running on the pavement. Ask yourself where they will be in a few seconds from now. Remember, ‘if it can happen, it will’.
AVOIDING UNDUE HESITANCY Drivers often fail to make normal progress through undue hesitancy. For example, if you are approaching a give way junction and a safe gap appears but you do not take advantage of it, you are being unduly hesitant. Although you must give the right-of-way to through traffic, you should look early and decide in good time what to do. You must not be overcautious to the point of becoming a danger or nuisance to other road users, they may get frustrated and take silly risk to overtake you.Potentially misleading – must emphasise the need to drive safely at all times, and not feel pressured to take an action just because someone behind thinks that you should have – safety must always be your number 1 priority.
AQUAPLANING / HYDROPLANING When driving at speed water can build up between the tyres and the road. If the tread grooves cannot allow sufficient water to be passed through them, the tyres will lose contact with the road surface and your vehicle could slide on the film of water, (like a water skier) causing the steering to suddenly feel very light. If aquaplaning occurs you could lose control of your vehicle. Avoid aquaplaning by easing off the accelerator until the speed drops sufficiently for the tyres to make contact with the ground.Never steer whilst aquaplaning, as when the tyres regain contact with the road, the vehicle will veer in the direction the wheels are pointing, and you could easily loose control of the vehicle.
AWARENESS AND ANTICIPATION Awareness and anticipation in driving means planning well ahead and acting promptly so that you can deal with the changes going on around you. In any traffic location there are some things that are evidently going to happen, together with some things that might happen. You should question the actions of other road users to give yourself time and space so that you can anticipate their actions. Try and anticipate the habitual lane changers or the late decision-makers, who never seem to know where they are going. The motto here is to expect and anticipate last second decision making by collision prone drivers. A traffic collision may not be your fault, but fault will not be the issue for you if you are killed.
BLACK ICE One of the most terrifying experiences whilst driving is to suddenly find yourself driving on black ice. Roads covered in black ice often look as though they are wet. However, they are actually covered in a very thin sheet of transparent ice. When the road ahead of you looks wet but the temperature is below freezing remember that you may be driving on ice.Watch out for these areas and recognize them not only from their appearance but also from the actions of other vehicles. Remember that tyres traveling on ice make practically no noise. Slow down in good time to avoid skidding.The best advice is not to drive, wherever possible, when there is a possibility of black ice. Always check the forecasts and listen to the advice of motoring organisations and the emergency services.
BLIND SPOTS Before manoeuvring from your present position, you must always check your rear view and side mirrors. However, the mirrors do not scan the whole area; there is a blind spot. If you are uncertain of any traffic in your blind spot, simply turn your head to check before manoeuvring. It is vital importance to make these checks every time you move off and whenever you want to overtake.
BLOCKED VISION If your vision becomes blocked for whatever reason, perhaps because snow has covered the windscreen during braking for example, you should stay calm. Open the side window as quickly as possible so that you can see where you are going. Activate your hazard warning lights and then pull your vehicle off the road at the earliest safe opportunity.
BLOWOUT If one of your tyres blows out, the car may pull to one side. The risk is increased if the brakes are applied. You should grip the steering wheel firmly, take your foot off the accelerator and roll the car to a stop off the road at a safe place. Remember that if you use hard braking, this will only make things worse. Before you attempt to change the wheel, always move your vehicle to a safe place first. This is a sensible precaution to take as you may expose yourself to danger from other vehicles. Always carry a legal spare tyre and proper equipment to change a tyre at all times.Best practice is to call the breakdown services, especially on motorways, and get them to change the tyre for you.
BONNET SPRINGING UP If the bonnet of your car suddenly springs up steer on the same course, braking progressively. Check your mirrors, signal and move to the side of the road, ensuring not to cut across any other vehicles. Opening the driver’s side window may assist forward vision.
BRAKE FADE Far more common than brake failure is the problem of excessive braking on steep hills, which can result in brake fade and loss of control. Brake fade is a reduction in braking efficiency caused by the heat generated by continuous use of the brakes. If you depress the brake pedal whilst descending a steep incline and the brakes feel spongy and unresponsive you should use engine power to slow down by selecting a low gear. To counteract fading, pump the brakes repeatedly and stop as soon as possible to allow the brakes to cool down before continuing your journey.Also use engine braking (engage a lower gear) on steep descents to control the vehicle and eliminate the need for prolonged use of the brakes.
BRAKE FAILURE If your brakes suddenly fail, apply your emergency or parking brake quickly but progressively. Do not yank it. Progressively shift to lower gears so that the engine acts as a brake and slows the vehicle. Run the edges of your wheels against the kerb. Sound your horn and switch on your headlights and hazard hazard warning lights to warn other road users of your presence.If you find your brakes are slowly becoming less effective, pumping the brake pedal up and down may provide a temporary ‘cure’. However, you must get the brakes serviced and adjusted as soon as possible.Also using the gears to help slow down.Best practice is to carry out a brake test at the start of every journey. Before pulling off, press the brake pedal to check that there is good pressure. Shortly after pulling off (preferably at speeds of between 20-30mph), carry out a rolling brake check (after first checking that are no closely following vehicles) top check that the brakes are working effectively and the vehicle is not ‘pulling’ to one side under braking.
CARAVAN SECURITY Over two thousands caravans are stolen every year, and many are never returned to their original owners. They usually disappear into an illicit network of buyers and sellers, and when then police eventually recover a caravan, all identifying marks have been removed. Occasionally the police must return the ‘ suspect ‘ caravan to the thieves, simply because they cannot prove it belongs to someone else. The majority of caravans are stolen from storage compounds, closely followed by those stolen from the owner’s address. Thefts occur all year around and cover all ages of caravan, although newer models seem most vulnerable. To avoid becoming another insurance statistic, and to meet most insurers’ conditions of acceptance, certain precautions should be taken.There are many caravan security devices available on the market. Here is a list of security measures you can implement to prevent your caravan from being stolen and some advice on how to help the police recover it:

  • Immobilise your caravan at all times, even when stopping for a short period.
  • Consider fitting an alarm. The initial outlay is set against added security and peace of mind.
  • Remove all personal belongings and contents from the caravan whenever it is not in use, and leave the curtains or blinds open, so potential thieves can see nothing of value inside.
  • Take a photograph of the caravan and keep it in a safe place, along with any registration documents. Make a note of any identification marks or scratches.
  • Mark the serial or chassis number in several places inside the caravan, using an ultra violet pen. Make note of the marks locations.
  • Ensure the chassis(VIN) number is etched on all the windows.
  • Don’t choose a storage site on price alone. Consider site security.
  • Join the Caravan Club’s theft check scheme, by ensuring your caravan details are registered with them.

If the worst happens and the caravan is stolen, notify the police and insurance company immediately. Give the police a full description, including the chassis number and any identification marks an contact. Theft check as soon as possible so that the caravan can be added to the register- it may help the police to quickly recover your caravan.

CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING Carbon monoxide is a lethal poison. Inhaling it can cause unconsciousness and even kill you. Any leaks from the exhaust system could result in poisonous carbon monoxide fumes seeping into the car. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, have the exhaust system checked regularly especially if you notice a change in the sound of the exhaust or if the car has been in a collision that may have damaged the underneath of the vehicle. Leave your window down slightly opened when you start the engine or when running the engine whilst parked. High levels of carbon monoxide can accumulate rapidly in enclosed areas, such as a garage. Avoid an enclosed areas or activities that expose you to carbon monoxide build up. Do not run the engine with the garage doors closed. Even with the garage doors open, run the engine only long enough to manoeuvre the car out of the garage. Avoid driving with the tail gate open, exhaust fumes may be sucked back into the vehicle.
CAR-HIJACKING Car hi-jacking is a term which originated in the USA. In some States it has become an epidemic. Women traveling alone are often the prime targets for these highwaymen. They commonly approach their victims from a ‘blind spot’ and sometimes assault them before making off with their vehicle, their valuables or both. Some thieves have calculated that because of recent technological developments modern cars are so well protected by sophisticated alarms and electronic immobilisers that it is easier to try to steal them when they are on the move.You can get an anti–hijack device fitted to your car. If you are car hijacked switch off the engine, abandon your vehicle with the keys in place and permit the car–hijacker to steal the car. If a code is not keyed into the system the ant-hijack device will disable your vehicle shortly after it has been driven away, perhaps locking the thieves in the car.
CAR THEFT Determined professionals carry out some car thefts but casual thieves who take advantage of any easy opportunity steal the majority of cars. These classes of thieves are usually experts, who brake into cars very quickly and defeat even the best modern security devices. However, large proportions of car crimes are committed as a direct result of someone leaving a window open or a door unlocked. While many stolen cars end up in the scrap heaps deliberately torched or written off, many expensive cars are stolen to order. The may be sold, broken up and used as spare parts or become the foundation for the building of another car with different number plates and no history of being stolen.Do not hesitate to inform the police of an suspicious person tampering with your car. Do not attempt to challenge the criminal (don’t be a ‘have a go’ hero), as they may be carrying an offensive weapon or may be accompanied by someone else acting as a look out. Remember, a stolen car can mean having to walk home late at night or leave you stranded in an unsafe place.Here are some precautions you can take to prevent your car from being stolen, and some ideas to help you to quickly recover your vehicle if someone does take it without your consent:

  • Always lock your car, even when leaving your vehicle unattended for a few seconds.
  • Have your car fitted with a series of electronic sensors built into the doors, the bonnet and boot. They will trigger an alarm if any of them are forced open.
  • Have an electronic engine immobilization device professionally fitted (see ‘Scanners’). The car cannot start until the driver inserts a personal code into a keypad.
  • Never place items of value in your car then leave your vehicle unattended. You never know who is watching you. If it is essential to leave something of value in the vehicle, ensue it is well hidden from view e.g in the boot.
  • Never transfer items from the car to the boot after you have parked a thief may be watching and know that your vehicle is a worthwhile target. Always put items in the boot at the start of your journey.
  • Never leave important computer discs in the car. A stolen computer disc can devastate you or your company’s business. Always make back–up copies of important computer files.
  • It would be a good investment to fit a good quality car alarm (make sure you use it at all times).
  • Get deadlocks fitted to the car doors so that they cannot be opened, even if a window has been broken.
  • Fit ‘ant-drill’ locks to stop thieves opening your doors.
  • Whenever you leave your car always make sure that the steering lock has been engaged and that all the windows and doors are securely shut.
  • To prevent your petrol tank from being siphoned, invest in a locking petrol cap. To prevent expensive wheels and tyres being stolen invest in locking wheel nuts. Make sure you carry the locking key with you at all times, or you will not be able to change your tyres in an emergency.
  • If you stop at a filling station for petrol, always remove the key from the ignition. Many cars have been stolen this way.
  • Mark the car license plate number of you vehicle on you car stereo or CD player with a special invisible marker pen that will show up only under ultra-violet light. This will help the police to trace the owner if they recover your goods.
  • Fit the most effective parking brake, gear lever or steering wheel clamp.
  • Always remove the ignition key, even if the car is parked in your garage.
  • When you park, watch out for strangers showing interest in your car, they may be planning to steal it rather than admiring it.

If you do not own a garage, park in a well lit area as close to your home as possible, preferably were you can see your vehicle:

  • Detachable Control Panel
    You can purchases a car radio with a control panel that can be detached every time you park. Always take the control panel with you when leaving the car. Sometimes a red indicator can be set to flash as a means of preventing theft. This flashing red indicator warns thieves that the ant-theft device is activated.
  • Transparent Laminated Film
    A car’s side windows are its weakest spot. A sharp tap with a blunt object will easily shatter them. To prevent this happening you can have a transparent laminated film applied to the inside of your car window. Therefore, if the glass is struck from the outside either in a collision, a smash and grab raid, or even a road rage attack, the window will craze and not brake. The film will hold the broken glass in place and form a special tough shell to help resistance to further impact. The complete window can also easily be pushed out, allowing the driver and passenger to escape.
  • Miniature Digital Imaging System
    You can have a miniature hidden camera installed in the dashboard, which activates when an intruder enters your car. It is designed to capture and save a series of digital images of any intruder. The images are dated and time inscribed and can be used in court to prosecute the offender. This system provides the ultimate way to capture a thief.
  • Stolen Vehicle Tracking System
    Recent technological developments allow you to get your vehicle fitted with a small transponder until, which is hidden in your car. If your vehicle is stolen, you simply inform the police and the stolen vehicle tracking system control center. The control center instantly sends a unique coded signal to high-powered transmitters, which activates the transponder unit hidden in your car. This unit immediately starts broadcasting a silent homing signal. Police cars equipped with special tracking computers are alerted, and the signal leads them straight to your car, even if it is hidden in a garage.
  • Scanners
    Scanners are devices that can produce thousands of codes a minute and can be used to over-ride most security systems. When the correct code is transmitted, the immobiliser will switch off, a thief then has the whole vehicle at their disposal. If your car is valuable to you, or it is an expensive model, you should fit an immobiliser with anti-scan protection, to combat the use of scanners.
CHILDREN Small children must be properly secured in a vehicle. Depending on the size of the child you must use a specially designed baby carrier, child seat, harness or a properly fitted booster cushion. Booster cushions enable older children to use normal seatbelts safely.Whatever child restraint system is used make sure it is secured in place. If it is not used correctly it may cause injury to a child in the event of an unexpected stop or collision. Any system should conform to the size of the child and properly fit the vehicle seat. According to collision statistic it is far safer to install the child restraint system in the rear seat. If a front facing child restraint system is used in the font passenger’s seat, the vehicle seat should be moved as far back as possible. If the passenger’s airbag inflates, it could seriously hurt a child who is not in the proper position or properly restrained. Remember to check the restraint system regularly for any cuts or frays in the webbing and replace it immediately if you find any.Never leave children alone in a car. Someone may abduct your child. If for some pressing reason you have to leave children alone in the car, educate them not to talk to strangers and under no circumstances enter an unknown person’s car. Likewise, never let young children wear clothes depicting their names. A stranger can easily take advantage of this, pretending to be a friend or relative and greet the child by his or her name. In the interest of safety and common sense never use a deadlock to confine a child in your car, even for a short period of time.Also a risk of unattended children playing with the vehicle’s controls, leading to a risk that they will inadvertently set the vehicle in motion.

Rowdy children can cause great stress in the car, especially during a long journey. To help keep children from getting bored during a long trip prepare a series of games, quizzes and things for them to do.

COMPUTER RACING GAMES The problem with many young male drivers is that they feel under pressure from their friends and their culture in general to be aggressive and macho when driving. Computer racing games, which encourage young male drivers to overtake at great speeds and generally risk their “lives” for high scores, reinforces such ideas. This behavior is not conducive to sensible driving when they come to face life on the real roads. When they “die” playing the computer racing game, they lose one “life”; on the real roads, they only have one life!
CRASHING INTO DEEP WATER If your car should happen to crash into deep water and become totally submerged, it is highly important to remain calm during this emergency. You will be unable to open the door at first because of the pressure differences, and if you open the window too early, too much water would gush in at once. You should allow your car to fill with water until the level is almost at the top. Then Take one last gulp of air before opening the door or window and swimming to safety.
CROSSWINDS Strong winds can cause great problems for all drivers. To keep safe under these conditions be particularly mindful of drivers of high-sided vehicles, horse boxes or caravans. They may suddenly be hit by the wind as they travel from a protected area to an open area, or overtake other high sided vehicles or drive near bridges. When this happens they are likely to suddenly slow down or move into your lane.Also be aware that cyclists and motorcyclists have particular problems in these conditions and may find it difficult to maintain a straight course.
CYCLE RAGE A new fear has come to our towns and cities, cycle rage. Most attacks take place in inner city areas, with some cyclists adopting an aggressive attitude towards motorists, accusing them of all sorts of wrong doings and daring them to leave the safety of their vehicle for a confrontation. Attacks usually happen when the victim’s car has stopped at traffic lights. They approach their victims from a ‘blind spot’ and assault them, sometimes using extreme violence before making off with their valuables. The cyclists usually carry a variety of lethal weapons and may be accompanied by someone else acting as ‘back up’. Attackers favor the bicycle because they can quite legitimately be masked and gloved, and also because the rider can escape easily and dump the bicycle almost anywhere once the attack has been carried out.If an attack happen is to happen, it will occur very quickly and the place for the attack will be well chosen. There will be few, if any witnesses. You must stay alert. If a cyclist provokes you try and stay calm. Avoid eye contact with your aggressor and attempt to drive away from the scene if you sense trouble or your assailant approaches your vehicle. It is crucial that you keep your doors locked to avoid been forced out of your car and beaten up.
DANGEROUS AREAS In many towns and cities throughout the country there are areas where you must take extra care whilst driving. Should you find yourself driving through an area where you feel unsafe you should always keep alert and be on your guard. If you return to your vehicle (especially in a dark street) and find a flat tyre on your car, carefully look around before changing the wheel. Someone may have slashed the tyre and be waiting to attack you when your back is turned. They could also scatter black tacks on the road to puncture your tyres when you drive off. If you feel you could be in danger changing a flat tyre, first drive to safe area. You can purchase an aerosol inflator and sealer to repair a flat tyre. This will save time and effort having to change a wheel, so you can get to safety quickly.Best practice would be to call your breakdown organisation.

Keep your doors locked
If you are driving through an unfamiliar city or town it would be wise to lock all your doors to avoid unauthorized entry. Even if you are in a crash at thirty or forty miles per hour it is unlikely that your car will be so badly damaged that the emergency services will find it difficult to gain access at both sides of your vehicle.

DANGEROUS LOADS Many vehicles carry loads which are very dangerous. These can include substances which may be corrosive, toxic, flammable, poisonous, infectious or radioactive. If you are involved in a collision with a vehicle carrying a dangerous load and don’t act appropriately; the results could be the death and/or injury of many people. Check the information about the load being carried on hazard information signs on the outside of the vehicle. If the driver of the vehicle is incapacitated, carry out the following procedures:

  • Turn off the engine.
  • Call the fire brigade.
  • Make sure nobody is smoking.
  • Do not touch spilled chemicals and avoid breathing any fumes.
  • If you are splashed with any chemicals, wash it off with plenty of water immediately.
  • Keep everyone away.
DANGEROUS POSITION You should always stop your vehicle in a safe, legal and convenient place. It is not only illegal, but also highly dangerous, to leave your vehicle in such a position that is likely to cause danger to other persons using the road. For example; in a tunnel, on a bend, near the brow of a hill, or a hump back bridge, opposite a traffic island, or if it would cause an obstruction, opposite another parked vehicle, and any place where official signs prohibit stopping. Always walk a few meters rather than cause a collision.
DEATH-TRAP CARS
(Cut and Shuts)
A death-trap is two halves of different cars welded together to make one vehicle. Spotting such a concoction, however, can be very difficult because the unscrupulous traders are growing more devious in their attempts to disguise their deadly creations. Some horrific collisions have be blamed on death-trap cars over the last few years with some cars having totally disintegrated in a crash.Here are some clues to help you avoid buying a second hand death trap or being a victim of this killer trade:

  • Have the car checked by a qualified person.
  • Beware of suspiciously low prices.
  • Check under the carpets for any obvious welding.
  • Look out for uneven gaps.
  • Check if any paintwork looks to clean compared with surrounding parts.
  • Ask for all repair work receipts.

In the UK you can get checks carried out to see if the vehicle is an insurance write off (as well as whether there is outstanding credit on the vehicle).

DEFENSIVE DRIVING Defensive driving is a combination of the correct attitude, effective observation, skilful anticipation and good control. If you are going to drive effectively and safely you must always be alert, think ahead, expect the unexpected and never be taken by surprise. Always expect other drivers to make mistakes or take silly risks and be ready to slow down or alter course. Many drivers mistakenly believe that ‘it could never happen to me’ and they will never be involved in a traffic collision. A good defensive driver will never be lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that other road users will do the correct thing. Conscientious defensive drivers will always have real concern, not only for their own safety, but also for other road users.Some drivers think defensive driving means slow, boring or hesitant driving. In fact you cannot consistently make fast and smooth progress without being a defensive driver. A dictionary describes the word ‘Defensive’ as, ‘Intended or suitable for protection’. If this idea is applied to defensive driving we have a definition that suggests that you should ‘Drive in a way that maximizes the protection of all road users’.
DRINKING AND DRIVING Driving under the influence causes one in five deaths on the road. Many drivers mistakenly believe that they are safe to drive because they have only consumed a very little amount of alcohol. In fact, even the smallest amount of alcohol can increase a driver’s reaction time and cause them to misjudge distance and the speed of oncoming vehicles.It has been proved that alcohol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, which effects the brain and impairs driving ability. Drivers also have a greater tendency to endanger their lives, particularly in dangerous manoeuvres such as overtaking. Driving under the influence is irresponsible and extremely dangerous. Remember, someone may be driving with their alcohol level at nearly zero and driving perfectly legally, but their performance is still less than it would be, if they had not been drinking at all. The only way to stay alive is not to drink and drive.In addition to alcohol, many prescription, non-prescription and illegal drugs lessen safe driving. Alcohol and drugs give a false sense of confidence, and encourage drivers to take risks and drive at speed inconsistence with safety. Remember that mixing even small amounts of alcohol with other drugs is very dangerous. If you are taking medication that is likely to affect your driving you should consult your doctor before driving.
DRIVING OVERSEAS More and more people drive abroad nowadays but this can be unsafe if you are not properly prepared. It would be prudent to contact any of the major motoring organization so that you can plan your trip with safety and peace of mind. All the major motoring organizations provide invaluable information and advice on computerized routes, motoring regulations, correct documentation and emergency telephone numbers. They can also provide cover for roadside assistance or emergency repairs; vehicle recovery or collection; car hire, fares and hotel accommodation; legal protection; and emergency credit for motoring abroad. Moreover, before driving abroad, contact your car dealer about the legal requirements concerning accessories you must have for driving on the continent. They usually offer a full range including fire extinguishers, warning triangles, first aid kits and headlight beam reflectors. It is also important to remember that in some Islamic countries there are different laws regarding women driving.You can be at your most vulnerable to muggers when you are driving in known tourist areas. Attackers usually happen when driving a rented car because the attackers can easily identify you as a tourist. If you are hiring a car at your destination, avoid collecting it at night but instead hire a taxi to your hotel or apartment. When you collect the car the following morning , plan the safest route back and take your time to familiarize yourself with the location and function of the car’s minor and auxiliary controls. Always check to see how much petrol is in the tank before leaving the rental company’s premises. Try not to dress like a tourist. Be inconspicuous and hide your wallet or valuables in concealed, zipped or button pockets.
DRIVING SYSTEM
(Using a Planned System of Driving)
When collisions are analysed it is often found that the mistake that leads to the collision occurs very early in the sequence of events and is often, in itself, quite minor. A driver may find him or herself in the wrong lane, change position suddenly and, by so doing, produce a chain of events that lead to a collision. If you used a planned system of driving you will be less likely to make the initial mistake. However, if you, or anyone else does, you will be able to rectify the situation in the safest possible way. You won’t do this by chance but as a result of applying a flexible system that enables you to cope with the most difficult traffic situations.A planned system of driving is to do with getting information, giving information and then acting appropriately.Getting Information The first step is concerned with gathering information so that the correct decision can be made. One key difference between the skilled and the less skilled driver concerns the amount and quality of information they take in. When you are driving, poor observation will mean you spend your time reacting to the actions of others, usually at the last second. Effective observation, combined with your knowledge of different situations, will help you predict what is going to happen. You can then act appropriately. As the diagram indicates, you use your KNOWLEDGE so that you can LOOK at a situation, ASSESS what may happen and then DECIDE what action to take.Unfortunately, while it is easy to say you should look at the situation, looking and seeing are two different things. Sometimes when we look at things out of habit we hardly seem to register what we have seen. Looking at your watch, but then having to look again if somebody asks you for the time, is a common example. In driving this equates to passing a road sign, which you will have physically seen, and being unable to say what was on it. This is the difference between looking and seeing.Obviously, when you are driving you need to know what is going on around you. Police drivers are taught to use their eyes to build up a total picture of the developing situation. This technique is knowing as scanning. The idea is that generally you should never be looking for a long time at one particular point, rather you should focus on different areas in turn. You need to look at the far distance, the mid-distance and fore ground. You need to know what is happening to the side and to the rear. Skilled drivers do this buy using their eyes to scan the whole environment; looking at each area in turn so that their knowledge of what is going on is as up to date as possible.Giving Information The ATTITUDE you have adopted will determine, to a great extent, what you have decided to do and how you implement your decision. In addition you also have to decide whether you need to signal your intension and so the second step of the planned system of driving is concerned with GIVING INFORMATION. However, this is not an automatic procedure. You only need to signal if there is someone to signal to. But if a signal is necessary, you must always follow the MIRROR then SIGNAL sequence.Combine the use of your mirrors with your other observations to decide whether you need to warn other road users of your intensions. Only when you have checked and have given a signal, if required, should you make your manoeuvre.Taking Appropriate Action If you are to deal effectively with changing road situations and any hazards you observe, it is essential that you use your driving SKILLS and TECHNIQUES to make sure an MANOEUVE is smooth and controlled. To achieve this you would normally first POSITION yourself so you can negotiate any hazard safely and smoothly. Once you are in position, adjust your SPEED using the brake or accelerator and finally, when your speed is correct, select the appropriate GEAR to accelerate away from the hazard.In most driving situations you would adjust your position and speed before you changed gear. Remember, “Brakes are for slowing, gears are for going.” For example, if you are coming to a stop at a junction ready to turn, you would probably stop in a higher gear, depress your clutch just before you stop and select the appropriate gear to move off when it is required.

Applying a Planned System of Driving The following diagram shows how the system would be used when turning right. It can, of course, be applied to all driving situations.

Once you have started to apply the system of driving we have described and have started to observe ahead, to the side and behind, you will find your ability to plan ahead will be greatly increased and you will find yourself driving more smoothly.

For example, if you are approaching a set of traffic signals that are showing red, you will be assessing how long they have been showing the red light, and will be slowing down in advance, so that if they change as you approach you can select the appropriate gear and make efficient progress. You will also be prepared if they don’t change and will be able to come to a stop, smoothly and gently, ready to select first gear and move off when the time comes. If the traffic lights you are approaching are showing green you will be assessing how long they have been on green, trying to predict when they will change to red and approaching at a speed that means you can stop smoothly if they do change. At the some point, however, you will be at a position where you cannot stop if they do change. Once you are past this point you should continue, assuming it is safe to do so.

A skilled driver will also be looking to see that other vehicles on the roads controlled by the red lights have seen and reacted to them, to prevent being involved in a collision that would, in the eyes of the Law, be completely the other driver’s fault.

All through this process you will have been looking not only at the traffic signals, but also at the pavements, to assess what any pedestrian are doing and at the roads ahead and to the side to make sure no drivers are about to shoot the lights after they have started to change. In addition to looking ahead you will also have been using your mirrors. You will know how closely you are being followed and will have avoided a situation where you have to stop suddenly and the vehicle behind fails to respond.

Remember, you are not planning so that you can deal with the expected. You are predicting what might go wrong and are driving so you can deal with the unexpected, whatever form it might take. It is your powers of observation and the decisions you make that will keep you and others out of trouble.

Driving well requires your active attention at all times. You must be able to take in all the required information, recognize situations that may be hazardous and be in the right position at the right time traveling at the right speed so that hazards can be safely negotiated.

DRIVEWAYS In urban areas come to a complete stop before crossing the pavement when you are driving out of an alley, driveway, building or private road. However, if there is no pavement, it would be prudent to stop at a spot nearest the street or road where there is sight of oncoming traffic. After you have stopped, give the right-of-way to pedestrians and other vehicles.
DRUGS AND DRIVING Fatal car crashes connected to illegal drug taking have increased by 300 per cent in the last ten years. Recent findings of a Government study into drug taking by road collision victims revealed that 18 per cent of drivers killed had traces of illegal drugs in their system. Many young people mistakenly believe that taking illegal drugs improves their driving making them more alert and can drive safely at any speed. In fact when the effects of drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamines begin to wear off, a driver will feel lethargic and find it extremely hard to concentrate often hypnotised by the presence of traffic and carried of to dreamland. In reality cannabis the most common drug among young drivers, affects coordination and reaction times for up to 24 hours. Unfortunately driving a car at speed under the influence of illegal drugs is like driving a potential engine of destruction more powerful than the largest battering ram ever to breach a castle wall. Never take drugs, other than those prescribed or recommended by a doctor or pharmacist. Driving under the influence of illegal drugs is not only an offence it’s senseless and can be fatal. Don’t forget to check any medicine that you purchase over the counter to see if it affects your ability to drive.
DRUNKEN PEDESTRIANS We are all aware of the dangers and consequences of drinking and driving. However, another menace on the road is the drunken pedestrian. In a survey of traffic collisions involving pedestrians, a quarter were found to be under the influence of alcohol. They wander or stagger off the pavement onto the road and into the path of vehicles, causing them to brake or swerve. Swerving suddenly to avoid a pedestrian can be highly dangerous, you may hit or be struck by another vehicle overtaking you, or you may collide with oncoming traffic.You should apply good forward planning whilst driving and be particularly mindful of drunken pedestrian who may step out from behind parked vehicles without warning. Remember that when you are approaching parked vehicles, you should always look underneath them so you can see if there are feet moving behind. Watch the behavior of drunken pedestrians at all times so that you can anticipate their actions and stop safely. Take extra care at night, especially when passing places where people socialize and drink.
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