On NSW’s scenic highways, the stunning views never grow old. It’s all-too-tempting to gawk at the scenery and neglect to pay attention to low-risk driving basics.
Don’t sacrifice safety for a lovely view. After all, low-risk driving is more than just avoiding demerit points. It’s all about staying alive to enjoy even more of your state’s natural beauty.
Here are some tips to help you enjoy a safer ride:
Scan Your Surroundings for Safety
When you drive, you need to check all around you for possible hazards, not just what lies in front of you. Keep your eyes on the move, advises the safety experts at NSW’s Roads and Maritime Services (RMS). In addition to checking the area in front of your car, look farther ahead into the distance, quickly to your left and right. Glance often into your mirrors—both side and rear. Don’t forget to check the road surface itself for hazards.
Use Caution When a Broken-Down Vehicle Is Ahead
One of the more common hazards you’ll encounter on the road is a broken-down vehicle stopped on the side of the road. Even more dangerous is a vehicle that breaks down suddenly in the middle of the road, preventing its driver from pulling off the road.
If you see flashing yellow lights, slow down. If you see a car ahead that looks like it isn’t moving or is moving slowly, slow way down. If other drivers are behind you, tap your brakes to warn them. Make sure you leave plenty of room between you and the broken-down vehicle to allow roadside assistance personnel to do their jobs. Pass with caution.
Watch Your Speed
Observing proper speeds is a lot more than just staying at or under the speed limit. The most important rule to remember is to drive at a speed that allows you to come to a complete stop within the distance at which you can see clearly. That means you’ll need to slow down around curves, going up hills, and other situations in which you have no clue what’s up ahead of you.
In fact, as the RMS points out, the leading cause of NSW crashes is colliding into the rear of a vehicle ahead. If you reduce your speed to your actual reaction time in the distance you can see, this precaution will greatly reduce your chance of this most common auto mishap.
Also, reduce your speed when you encounter icy or rain-slick roads. In these types of hazardous weather, you’ll need a much greater stopping distance, since you won’t have the friction a dry pavement gives you.
Finally, Never Drive Impaired
It’s tempting to drive home from holiday parties and summer beach bashes after having a few drinks. Resist that temptation. Impaired drivers have much slower reaction times than ones who don’t partake. Plan ahead so one of your friends or family members stays away from alcoholic beverages or other intoxicating substances to avoid crashes.
Although you can’t avoid all possible risks on the road, you can reduce your risk of a crash significantly when you use common sense. When you observe sensible driving habits and follow the basics, you’ll have a much better chance to get to your destination safely.