Wed | May 12, 2021

Plan, Prepare and Protect yourself from other drivers

Published:Sunday | February 21, 2021 | 12:06 AMPaul Glenroy Messam - Contributor

Driving should be looked upon as an enjoyable and stimulating challenge to both mind and body. As the Methodist subtheme says “Caring for the body, mind and soul ….” When done safely, it can be one of the most delightful pastimes, even in this COVID-19 pandemic. However, when done recklessly and without regard for other drivers, it can be a nightmare.

“If the driver is both physically and mentally able to fulfil his end of the partnership, the motor vehicle will in turn give its best effort,” says Dr Andrew Burton. According to Auto Mechanic Kurt Harding, many persons tend to oversimplify the job, interpreting the role of the driver as one involving elementary movements of the ignition, switch, throttle, steering wheel, pedals. “What is generally ignored is that there is a right and a wrong way to make these movements,” says Kurt Harding. “And that the wrong manipulation of these controls can have a serious effect on the defensive-driving process,” adds Harding.

Every driver should carry out a pre-trip inspection or what is colloquially known as the ‘walk-around’ check. This includes checking: tyres, headlight, indicators, petrol needle, horn, windshield wipers, oil, coolant, battery. Also, the driver should make sure he has his clean mask in hand, plus an extra mask, sanitiser, paper towel, antibacterial wipes.

Here is checklist before starting to drive:

1. Ensure that all windows are clean and there is nothing blocking your vision.

2. Adjust the seat so you can reach all pedals and controls easily.

3. Adjust the inside and outside rear-view mirrors.

4. Fasten safety belts and shoulder harness so that they are firm and comfortable.

5. Make sure the car is in park or neutral gear and the parking brake is set.

After all these pointers are carried out, and in order to reduce the risk of the coronavirus infection and other flu-like symptoms, follow safety protocols. This includes washing hands with soap and water, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Now you are ready to drive. Get comfortable behind the wheel. Keep a good posture. With hands sanitised and mask on, make sure that your path is clear, start the car and be ready to roll. Here are some common behaviours that frustrate other drivers.

• Eating while driving.

• Driving too fast.

• Driving too slow.

• Failure to yield.

• Lane blocking.

• Cutting off.

• Use of cellphone in traffic.

• Intentionally blocking traffic with vehicle

Now, here is how to avoid being victimised by other drivers.

1. Yield to any motor vehicle that attempts to overtake.

2. Allow a tail-gator to pass.

3. Keep your eyes as much as possible on the road.

4. Never return gestures or engage in a verbal argument with another driver.

5. Drive at a safe following speed.

6. Showing a reaction to an aggressive driver.

7. Use high beams appropriately.