Apart from acquiring that basic car control skills that we all learn in our motor driving lessons- there are a few thumb rules that one must follow in order to be able to be called a competent driver. They are as follows:
Follow the rule of three seconds:
This is a cardinal principle and every driver should be aware of it and must heed the rule of three second: when the vehicle which is just ahead of you passes a object that is stationary (like telephone pole or tree) one should slowly count “one, two and three”. If you happen to reach the said object before you have completed the count, the indication is that you are following the other vehicle too closely. It is advisable to double the counting during overcast conditions (poor weather).
Don’t follow too closely:
If you are behind a few cars and suddenly you see a sudden over crowding in front of you it is more than likely that you may unintentionally smash the car which is ahead of you, in a circumstance where the driver applies sudden brakes. Neo-modernistic devices like traction control and anti-lock brakes are a safe bet, but they have yet to win over the natural laws of physics.
Don’t disrupt the traffic:
Driving at a speed which is slower than acceptable can sometimes be more fatal than driving above the maximum prescribed limit. In a highly crowded scenario, with many other vehicles plying on the road, a crawler creates what we can call a rolling roadblock. Free flow of traffic takes a beating; motorists juggle for positions- smooth flow of cars is disrupted. One must try and drive along the flow of the traffic. For instance if the car just behind you wants to race ahead, the most favorable thing to do is let it go ahead, whether you are following the speed limits or not is secondary. There is a possibility that the driver behind you may have an emergency that you may be unaware of. Moreover in any case, it is far more sensible and courteous to let go the faster moving traffic.
Always use signal while turning:
Failure to let your intent across to the other motorist can prove fatal and also discourteous. One must appreciate the fact that other motorist is not psychic, they simply can’t make out which way you are planning to take a turn or maybe you are about to cut into other lane. Signaling your intent is very important for the safety of bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. Even if they are in your blind spot and may safely come to a conclusion of no one being there and you execute a turn without signaling, these innocent people won’t be able to receive any advance warning and will be on the receiving end for the worst part of the episode.
Adhere to prescribed speed limits:
Sheer speeds, itself, don’t kill. If at all it did, then the transportation with maximum casualties would surely had been air transportation. The underlining problem here is the lack of appropriate speed. For instance, while it may be totally under legal norms to drive at 65 kmph on a highway, if you don’t curtail your speed while it is drizzling or raining heavily and your car’s braking ability is reduced along with your own visibility, you exponentially increase your chances of meeting with an accident. For example, while it may be perfectly legal to drive 65 kmph on the highway, if you don’t slow down when it’s raining heavily and your visibility as well as your car’s braking ability is reduced, you increase your chances of meeting with an accident. Similarly, while driving on an unfamiliar road, especially a country side road that has various blind curves, you may not be in a position to negotiate the turns on the road with equal precision than a local would with equal safety. You must use your judgmental skill to its fullest and must match the speed to your level of comfort.
Drive according to the situation:
SUV category cars are not equipped vis-à-vis a sporty car in terms of safe travel at high speeds. Sporty cars are more prone in skittish conditions when it rains. Old model cars that are not fitted with modern tyres or stability enhancers lack a edge while negotiating the above scenarios. Same is not applicable to modern cars which are fully equipped to take on such incidents heads on. In such circumstances one may need more time to slow down to a safe level, the older models also skid with the slightest of provocation than a newer model equipped with modern aids. Always drive with ample cushion of space and time.
Make full use of the mirrors:
Try to pre-empt the need to change lanes or to brake etc by constantly having a tab on the environment around and watch the other drivers. This will avoid leading you into a situation wherein you have to jam your brakes or make frantic steering changes. The best in class drivers maintain a full situational awareness. You must use your mirrors more efficiently and frequently.