Wed | Jan 20, 2021

Driving safely during the Christmas season

Published:Sunday | December 20, 2020 | 12:13 AMPaul Glenroy Messam - Contributor

Shoemaker Almando Bailey (yellow shorts) and friends using cement to patch a section of Chesterfield Drive in Seaview Gardens, St Andrew, last Friday. Motorists had been frequently swerving to potholes along the stretch, increasing the likelihood of colli
Shoemaker Almando Bailey (yellow shorts) and friends using cement to patch a section of Chesterfield Drive in Seaview Gardens, St Andrew, last Friday. Motorists had been frequently swerving to potholes along the stretch, increasing the likelihood of collisions. The recently installed traffic lights are not working and Bailey said that this and the many potholes have created a nightmare for motorists passing his business place. The Three Miles bypass was opened in November 2018 at a cost of US$1 million.
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The Christmas season is moving full speed ahead. The streets are getting busy. The motor vehicles are roving left, right, and across the shopping plazas. It would appear that some of our drivers tend to drive away many of the defensive driving techniques acquired in their training.

“Especially at this time, our drivers should exert extra care and caution in how they manoeuvre the busy streets,” says Mark David, a student at Jamaica College. “Driving is considered a privilege and not necessarily a right, and so all drivers should drive within the speed limit, obey the road code, and refrain from being distracted by the shopping crowds” he adds.

Motorists should remember to wear their seat belts. “Seat belts can save your life,” says Shane Sutherland, guidance counsellor. “They keep you from sliding on the seat during sudden stops and turns, and straps keep you in position so that you can control your vehicle, “ he adds.

Other pointers to remember as you approach and proceed through the busy season:

1. Keep a good posture while driving.

2. Adjust the seat so that you can reach foot pedals easily.

3. Adjust the outside mirror so that you can see the tip of your front door handle in the lower left of the mirror. This will allow you to see part of the lane of the traffic to the right and rear of your car.

4. Be sure to check for pedestrians and less conspicuous vehicles such as bikes and bicycles.

5. Give proper signals and drive out always with caution.

6. While driving, keep both hands on the upper half of the wheel.

When you drive at nights, put these into practice:

1. Keep farther behind the vehicle in front of you.

2. Allow more distance and time for passing.

3. Never wear sunglasses while driving at night.

4. Keep your windshield clean both inside and outside.

5. Keep your headlights clean. Dirt on the headlights will dim their light distort the beam.

6. Try not to look into the headlights of the oncoming vehicles.

7. Dim your headlights to low beam when approaching or following another vehicle on lighted roads, in fog, or in heavy rain.

Patricia Thompson, nutritionist, reminds us that drivers should look to their inner resources and take good care of themselves. “Encourage yourself to eat right,” says Thompson. Getting enough sleep, exercise, and vitamins are sure ways to compensate for hyperactive adrenal glands. It is also recommended that we eat lots of fruits and vegetables and cut down on saturated fat and sugar.

Thompson also reminded us that a healthy body means healthy and safe driving. She shared the components of health

Emotional health: Feelings and thoughts about self, others, and events.

Mental health: Make good use of the ability to learn and analyse.

Physical health: Functioning of the body systems and organs and resistance to infection.

Spiritual health: The will to live and do and to have hope, especially in this pandemic – COVID-19 which has changed and rearranged the lives and times of many Jamaicans.