Disclaimer: This post won’t teach you how to drive like a stuntman in a Hollywood movie, however, this will teach you some important driving practices used by both stunt people and alphabet soup government types that could save your life.
The “rules of the road” change from place to place, and your driving style should be adaptable to keep you and your party safe but some safety tips are constant.
Whether you are on the winding Mediterranean coast of Italy, or the bustling streets of Rio de Janeiro, your goal as a driver should be the safety of yourself and those within your vehicle. This starts with setting yourself up for success with a quick vehicle assessment.
Tires to grip the road, properly maintained engine, and a fully present driver are the three requirements for a functioning vehicle to transport you from point A to point B.
Step 1: check the tires to make sure they are properly inflated, and in good condition. Flat or worn tires will not handle turns as you expect. In hard driving conditions, under inflated tires can deflate or “debead” – come off the rim – leaving you stranded.
Step 2: check the engine temperature and oil pressure. If either of these two are off, your engine will not be very happy, and you may get stuck.
Step 3: check yourself. The driver must be unimpaired, and fully conscious to effectively respond to and handle the responsibility of being behind the wheel.
After assessing the vehicle, eliminate blindspots by setting and checking your mirrors.
To maximize your field of view, your left mirror should be angled outward far enough so that just a sliver of overlap is seen between its inside edge, and the left edge of your rear view mirror. Do the same thing with the right mirror, angling it outward until only a sliver of the inside edge overlaps with what you see on the right side of the rear view mirror.
Now, you have access to your full rear field of view, eliminating large portions of typical “blind spots”. This will help you keep track of what is around you and any spaces to your sides, should you need to make any quick maneuvers.
If that wasn’t clear, check out this in-depth tutorial by car and driver.
Keeping your focus on where you want to go, not the obstacles in your way.
Your focus should always be ahead, always looking for the next goal, the next waypoint.
Visualize your path forward while maintaining 360 degree awareness.
When stopping at an intersection, make sure you can see the tires of the vehicle in front of you contacting the ground.
Criminals the world over use stopped vehicles at intersections to block a target in.
Stopping at a distance from the car in front of you that allows you to see their tires will guarantee that you have the space to move around that vehicle.
Don’t forget – precipitation changes everything so take caution in changing conditions.
Whether your vehicle has front wheel or all wheel drive, is heavy or light, has ABS, TCS or any other system designed to keep you on the road – everything changes when you hit water. Maintain your distance and your awareness.
Following these tips will help you get to where you’re going. But if you’re ever in doubt, remember – it’s better to arrive late than not at all.