Category Archives: Driving Habits

Safety Tips When Driving in the Hills

Travelling to the hills and driving there can be just as thrilling as it can be dangerous. There can be blind curves and hairpin bends and the driver needs to know how to navigate these. There are some necessary cautions and hill driving etiquette that need to be followed at all times.

Here are some tips to follow while driving in hilly regions:

Go Slow:
Do not exceed the approved speed limit while driving to any Hill Station. Watch out for the road signs that instruct you on the ideal speed for the location you are in. Speeding is dangerous on mountain roads and not the place you’d want to test out how fast your car can go. Gravity will work against you whether you are driving up or downhill. Slow down on all curves and descend at the same speed that you used while going up, and drive below the speed limit on curves.

Overtaking:
Overtaking is a risk even on the plains but tenfold on mountain roads. If you must overtake, always check traffic signs for bends, if the road is wide enough, and watch the vehicle in front of you for any signs of change in speed or swerving. When going uphill remember the traffic against you is moving faster coming downhill. Be smart in your judgement before you attempt it.

Know the types of roads:
Before you start your trip, do research on the type of road you will be driving on. Whether it is a typical narrow hilly drive or a well laid dual carriageway. Roads could vary from a good 4 or 6 or even 8 lane expressway to an off-beaten, bumpy path, it is always safer to be mentally prepared for different kinds of roads that are in the area you are travelling to.

Know your driving skills:
You should know just how much your car can take. Does it have the power to climb those steep roads? Will it carry a full load? You should also know how to handle your car to get the best out of it on those uphill pulls. The steeper the road, the more you will have to use lower gears to climb them, as well as lower gears together with accurate braking techniques while descending. Be vigilant about your tyres, your braking and your steering, especially on wet/damp roads.

No matter how much you want to, it’s never a good idea to try out those Fast and Furious drifting manoeuvres you’ve seen in the films. As adventurous as you feel, safety is still the priority.

Safety Tips for Driving at Night

The dangers of driving are always exaggerated after dark. It takes more caution and alertness to drive during the night than it does when driving in daylight. Especially in a country like India where drivers are just a little more ‘slack’ about following road rules.

Drowsy Driving:
Never drive if you are feeling extra fatigued at the end of the day. Always be cautious that there could be other drowsy drivers on the road. Long work hours, extra work shifts, lack of quality sleep, and sleep disorders are only a few of the reasons why accidents happen because of inattentive and overtired drivers.

Blinding Lights:
We have all experienced those blinding high-beam headlights in our face obscuring our view momentarily. But all it takes are those few blinding seconds to cause a serious accident. Only use your high-beam lights when necessary; when visibility is low. Try to switch between low and high beams when you see oncoming drivers. Just because they blind you doesn’t mean you need to blind them as well.

Don’t Stare at Oncoming Lights:
Those High-beam headlights can be extremely distracting; the best strategy is not to stare directly at them and to do your best to cast your gaze down when cars are coming at you. Try to focus on the white line. This will prevent you from being temporarily blinded.

Despite popular belief, don’t buy those yellow-tint sunglasses that would supposedly help you see better at night. They limit the amount of light that passes through them, making distinguishing objects and road hazards more difficult.

Don’t Drink and Drive:
Alcohol is the most common cause of accidents, even more so at night time. Be wary of other drivers when driving at night as you are more likely to encounter a driver who is under the influence of alcohol. Remember, you not only have your own life in your hands when driving but of those around you as well; so never drink and drive no matter how “little” you think you had, that is still too much.

Clean Your Windshield:
Your windshield might look fine during the day, but it can cause glare when headlights hit it. Dust that might not bother you during the day can be spotty and distracting at night, so it’s important to clean your windshield both inside and out. This applies to motorists’ helmet visors as well.

A Beginner’s Guide To Teaching Your Child How To Drive

Taking your teenager out for a lesson on driving can be a daunting task for both parent and student. But it can be a rewarding experience for both.

  • First things first, make sure your car runs smoothly before your child takes the wheel. A well-working car will make the whole nervous experience run smoother and less stressful.
  • Make sure your teen is ready to learn, aware of the vehicle and comfortable with the car and its controls.
  • Plan ahead. Make a lesson plan about where you would like to start the lessons. It’s always a good idea to know ahead of time where you are going and what you are going to do. This will also help to create a calm and confident learning environment.
  • Add an L signboard to your car to let other drivers know that the driver of your car is a Learner
  • It’s best to go over the basics and give them a lesson on how the car’s components work. Such as dashboard controls, steering wheel, seat adjustment, turn signals, wipers, headlights, mirror adjustment, airbags, seatbelts, parking brakes, switching the engine on and off, etc.
  • For the very first test drive, start in the safest, easiest location possible like a deserted road or empty parking lot.
  • Be a calm teacher. Don’t yell, but correct mistakes by asking questions instead of passing judgements. Ask them what is the speed limit, if the turn is legal, point out to them what should be done, how and why.
  • Take it slow and steady and build from there. Once your child is a little more confident with their driving skills, take them onto slow and quiet roads with little traffic. Let them practice driving on one side of the road, parking and stopping at stop signs and signals. Once they get the hang of things, you can move onto heavier traffic.
  • Awareness is key! Make sure your teen is fully aware of their surroundings and judgement of space. This is not easy to do, so it’s best if you remain extra vigilant.
  • Give directions ahead of time. Tell them in advance they will be turning in the next left. This will remove the abruptness of the turn and give them a chance to ease into it slowly and safely.
  • Always ease into the more intimidating driving lessons such as driving on the highway, parallel parking, driving next to large and heavy vehicles, merging into traffic, etc.

The above-mentioned points are just barely the minimum. There are various stages of learning how to drive and depends on each individual’s learning ability. Remember, once you successfully teach your child to drive, one day they will be the ones driving you and it’s those bonding moments that always last a lifetime.

Tips to Minimize Wear and Tear on Your Car

Preventative care, careful driving and regular maintenance all contribute to your car’s longevity, making it stay longer on the roads than in a garage. Proper care also helps you save a lot of money in the long run. Here are a few tips on how to make sure the wear and tear in your car is minimized.

Stick to your maintenance routine:
Familiarize yourself with your car’s maintenance schedule and stick to it. As your car age, more maintenance is required and car manufacturers always recommend regular service intervals. If you don’t do a regular service on your car, you run the risk of causing damage to your engine and other parts because service centres know what needs to be checked and replaced with time, such as spark plugs, oil, filters, etc.

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Never miss an oil change:
Oil is the lifeblood of your engine and over time the motor oil begins to degrade and lose its lubricating and cooling properties potentially damaging metal-on-metal contact. Regularly changing your oil and filter can save you in the long run, the failure of which could have you replacing your whole engine!

Warm-up!
Everyone is always in a hurry and it’s not uncommon to want to jump into our cars and rush off. But experts recommend that it is important to give your engine a minute or two to warm up. This helps your engine oil heat up and lubricate all the parts. It’s also best to avoid higher RPMs and speeds until the engine is properly warmed up and running at normal temperature.

Give your brakes a break:
Prolong the life of your brake pads and discs by easing up on constantly using them. The safest way to do it is by slowing down. The faster you drive, the more you will need to step on the brakes sharply. Keep a safe distance between the vehicle in front of you, which will give you more time to come to a slower stop without having to jam on the brakes often.

Use the parking brake:
A better option is to engage the parking brake when you stop. First, step on your brake pedal and then engage your parking brake; put the car into park and release your foot off the pedal. This will prolong your car’s transmission allowing the parking brake to take the car’s weight and not the transmission.