Lets make our roads safer these Holidays!
Regular readers would be aware that one of the regular Thumbs Down themes is Orange City Life involves people’s driving habits. We could almost run a segment called Road Watch, there’s so many of them that come in.
For that reason, we thought it very timely to remind our readers about some of the silly things people do behind the wheel of a car, and then encourage us to think about these things and our own driving as we approach the hectic holiday season. Of course, there’s nothing new here but despite hearing the messages over and over again, it seems that for some people at least, they still don’t get it.
I spoke to local Driving School Instructor Graham Kidson to ask him about some of the things he sees when he’s driving and also while out with his students.
Graham said most drivers do the right thing, it’s just those thoughtless or irresponsible few that put themselves and others at risk that we have to get through to.
Here’s a list of things that we see drivers doing out on the roads, things that do nothing to keep our roads safe. My hope is that just by being reminded of them, we’ll all think about our own driving and then take steps change any bad habits we might have. You can imagine if all of us just improve by 5 or 10% what a difference that would make in the big scheme of things.
Cutting people off on roundabouts
Speeding up in overtaking lanes on highways
Trying to overtake buses and trucks at roundabouts where there are two lanes.
Racing to get through red and amber lights in Summer Street
Not giving push bike riders the space and courtesy they are entitled to
Tailgating the car in front, and especially when the car in front is a learner driver
Being an impatient driver
Driving too fast on roundabouts, especially the smaller ones
Not blinking off on roundabouts
Boldly swinging out wide into the centre of the road when angle parking
Parking on the footpath close to roundabouts, hence creating blind spots
Angrily beeping horns at other drivers
Ignoring the 50k in town speed limit
Talking mobile phones while driving. People still don’t get how dangerous this is!
I then asked Graham for a few basic or general tips –
1. Be Patient - One of the big things is just being patient. Everybody is in a bit of a hurry doing their Christmas shopping and trying to find that parking spot. Try to be patient and be aware that everybody is in a rush and if you can take it a bit easy, it is a bit more comfortable.
2. Roundabout Safety - Think about your speed approaching a roundabout. If you slow down it is easier to read and to negotiate.
3. Safe Driving Distance - Being too close behind somebody is one of the big things because when something goes wrong, you need that crash avoidance space. You are supposed to have a three second following distance.
4: Indicating - Try to indicate when you want to pull up and park to let people know what you are doing.
5. Take Breaks - If you are travelling make sure you have some breaks. People who don’t get away all that often can get fatigued more easily so plan to have a few stops.
Let’s all make a super effort to drive more safely, not just over Christmas but everyday, and if you do, this won’t bother you - Double demerit points apply from December 21 to January 1.