Wed | Sep 18, 2019

Back-to-school tips for drivers

Published:Sunday | August 25, 2019 | 12:11 AMPaul Glenroy Messam - Automotives Writer

September is just around the corner. Once again, the various roadworks will punctuate the flow of motor vehicles of all sizes, shapes, models, brands, and colours all over. There will be returning students, new students, parents, and guardians moving around to board a bus, catch a taxi, or weave through traffic to get to school and other destinations.

To many individuals, a vehicle is a genuine convenience and enjoyment.

“Driving your own vehicle makes it easier to run errands and get to your destinations on time,” says Michelle Goldson, teacher at Mona Preparatory School.

“Therefore, preparation in all aspects is key to prevent any last-minute rush.”

To others, it is the cause of great financial outlay, with five, seven, or 10 years of stiff monthly payments. And to some, the automobile is a symbol of destruction and heartbreak.

“Some taxis are always cutting in and creating problems on our roads,” says Mr John.

As drivers contemplate on and plan for the new Christmas school term and, by extension, the new school year, should they rely on their senses, as well as the gauges and instruments. It is amazing what one’s eyes, ears, nose, and touch can tell about the condition of one’s car.

According to Brooke Medicine Eagle magazine, whatever we do to any other thing in the web of life, we do to ourselves, for we are one.

“Drivers should ensure that they are in good health to hit the roads. Without health, drivers can have difficulty coping with the stresses of life,” says Dr Marianna Scarlett of the University of the West Indies, Mona. She also points out that motorists should bear in mind that wellness is an active state of health in which an individual moves towards balancing physical, social, and emotional health.

- Physical health: Eat a balance breakfast every day. Get adequate sleep each night (eight hours), and relax for at least 10 minutes a day.

- Social health: Work cooperatively with others. If you have a problem with other drivers, face the problem and try to work it out in a civil manner. Be fair and respectful of other drivers and pedestrians.

- Emotional health: Be sure to consider your passengers feelings as well as other road users. Take responsibility for your actions. Find a civil way to deal with pressures and control them. Try to have a positive outlook on life. Dr Marie Stewart, a Jamaican psychologist who practises and drives locally and overseas, says that drivers ought to treat other drivers as they would want to be treated. The ability to think about other drivers and put one’s self in the shoes of others is vital.

“Always think twice. Listen to news bulletins, traffic reports, and have a plan B,” Mark David adds.

As you approach the start of the school term, take note of the following:

1. Check outside and around the vehicle before getting into it.

2. Once inside the car, make inside checks. Ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy and that all your documents are up to date.

3. Look out for children of all ages. Children sometimes act on the spur of the moment and run into the street without looking. Older pedestrians may not see or hear very well and may not move out of the way quickly.

4. Keep to the left of the road, and drive within the speed limit.

5. Take note of pedestrian crossings, road signs, and flag men or women who may be directing traffic because of roadworks in progress.

6. Plan your day each morning or the night before, and set priorities for yourself. Try to avoid wasting time – every minute counts.

7. Ensure that basic good manners are a natural part of your daily routine: ‘good morning to you’, ‘good afternoon’, ‘thank you’, ‘please’, ‘excuse me’, ‘I am so sorry’.

There will always be traffic on the roads, so drivers should exercise patience and, if needs be, leave home much earlier to deal with any unforeseen eventualities that may occur.