Driving is something that many of us do on a daily basis, but it can also be something that is risky and dangerous. If you are concerned that you are not as safe behind the wheel as you should be, it could be time to make changes to the way that you drive. Here are six unusual ways that you can become a safer driver.
1. Learn to drift
One of the most unusual but effective ways of becoming a safer driver is actually learning how to drive dangerously! Drifting is an extreme motorsport that involves losing traction on the back wheels and sliding around the bend of a racetrack, trying to stay as close to the apex of the corner as possible.
Drifting is not something that you should ever attempt to do on the road, so it can’t make you a safer driver in this sense. But getting behind the wheel and developing an advanced driving skill can give you something that will make you a much safer driver: confidence. Feeling like you are more in control of a vehicle and understanding what it can do can make you feel better what you are driving.
Race tracks and experience day providers offer the opportunity to learn to drift with professional stunt drivers. So, why not have a lot of fun and improve your confidence behind the wheel? If you are interested in taking up lessons, there are numerous providers available – including these highly recommended days at UK experience provider Into the Blue.
2. Provide a running commentary
One technique that you can use to become a safer driver might sound a little stupid on the surface, but it really works. The idea is that you should talk to yourself as you drive and provide a running commentary on what is going on around you both on the road and the pavement. You might sound a little strange to passengers in the car, but the whole idea is to force yourself to concentrate on the things going on around you.
This can make you more aware of what’s going on around you and give the opportunity to react more quickly when something happens that could potentially cause an accident. Obviously you don’t have to do the commentary loudly, just enough to keep you aware.
3. Stop listening to music (or at least slow it down)
Driving while listening to music is a great pleasure for many motorists – there are even albums dedicated to the best driving songs. But could it be that the music you are listening to is actually making you a bad driver? Studies have consistently shown that listening to loud music while driving can reduce your reaction time and even cause accidents.
Indeed there is also some suggestion that listening to more aggressive music can make you drive more erratically. One experiment revealed that drivers listening to hip-hop or heavy metal drove significantly more dangerously than when they weren’t listening to music.
4. Learn to drive during a tyre blowout
One of the best things that you can do to help you become a safer driver is to learn how to drive in dangerous scenarios. An important example is learning how to drive if you blow out a tyre while driving at speed. This can be one of the most frightening experiences that you can have while behind the wheel and your natural instinct may be to brake quickly.
But braking with a blown out tyre can actually make things worse. It’s a much better idea to completely stop accelerating and focus on controlling the car with the steering wheel. Your car will slow down naturally and you should only ever use the brake very gently and if absolutely necessary.
5. Distraction is the biggest danger
When it comes to driving, many of us believe that being drunk behind the wheel is when we are most at risk. But the truth is that while drunk driving is extremely dangerous and should never be done, it’s actually worse to be distracted. We are all aware of the distraction that smart phones can cause for drivers, but there are plenty of other issues that you might not be aware are a problem.
Reaching for objects, crying, interacting with other passengers or attempting to read while driving can all be highly distracting and put you in danger. So perhaps the key thing to understand is that there are many ways that you can be distracted. If you sometimes eat while driving, this is something else that can be very dangerous.
6. Prepare your car for a breakdown
It’s not just when you are driving that you can become safer. It’s important to recognise that breaking down can put you at risk, especially in winter. Make sure you prepare your car with everything you might need in break down situation where you could be waiting for an hour or longer. This could include everything from blankets and accident signs to water and a torch.