How to practice safe driving

Safe driving tips and guidelines

Performing safe driving practices not only ensures a safe trip for a vehicle’s passengers, but also for everyone else who uses the road, including pedestrians. Most road accidents are attributed to drivers' errors. To prevent road accidents, here are the top tips to help you practice safe driving in the Philippines.

Regularly check your car’s condition

Inspect your car regularly ©
Create a schedule where you note your car’s general condition such as checking to see if you have the proper tire pressure, enough oil and brake fluid, if the mirrors are properly angled, if the brakes are still tight and if the air filter is clean. If you detect a problem, like an unusual sound coming from the engine, go to your nearest mechanic to have it checked or fixed. If you are a first time car driver, make sure that the ride you are going to use or buy has not encountered any serious problems in the past. You can also check out Carmudi’s wide range of cars and motorcycles if you are still considering your first car purchase.

Always put a seat belt on

Put your seatbelts on ©
Whether you are travelling on a short daily commute route or are driving to the countryside, it is imperative that you put your seat belt on. This simple practice is an effective way to protect you and your passengers, especially during car collisions, as it spreads the force of the impact over a wider area of the body and puts less stress on any one part. According to the MMDA, failure to use a seat belt could cost you a fee of between P250 (first offense) to P1,000 and a 1 week suspension of your driver's license (third offense). According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, putting a seat belt on reduces the risk of fatal injury by up to 45 percent.

Always use signals when turning

Car signal lights when turning ©
Part of safe driving practices is to warn your fellow road users of your actions, especially when you are turning, changing lanes, backing up or making a u-turn. Using the proper signals allows vehicles around you to react accordingly to your intentions. Do not, however, use signals improperly such as using hazard lights when parking your car indiscriminately while waiting for someone. Be mindful that this is one of the worst driving practices that Filipinos frequently do.

Don’t text and drive

Texting while driving in the Philippines
Multi-tasking is a skill that is very much appreciated in your workplace, but should not be done on the road. Texting while driving is one of the surest ways to attract a road accident. When on the road, always have your mind and eyes on the road. If you have someone with you in the car, you may ask him or her to help you send that message by letting them text for you.

Respect traffic rules

Red traffic lights means stop ©
Be wary of the area or city’s traffic rules as well as the national regulations. If you are driving a motorcycle, most cities in Metro Manila require drivers to wear protective gear, especially helmets. In addition, do not cross a red light even in the small hours of the night when there are fewer vehicles on the road. Carmudi has also listed some of the traffic rules and violations that drivers should be aware of. One of Philippines' severest penalties is driving under the influence of drugs which can cost you P10,000 and a 1 year driver's license suspension.

Do not change lanes too often

Switching lanes too often ©
Even if you are running late for an appointment, do not fall into the temptation of changing lanes that are moving faster than others. This bad driving habit is mostly observable during peak hours and has been one of the main causes of vehicle collisions. If you are going to change lanes, make sure that there is a decent space between you and the vehicles around you for a smoother transition. Also, signal the vehicle behind you of your intent.

Avoid drowsiness

Sleepy car driver ©
It is one of the many excuses (or reasons) given when vehicles bump into one another. In some cases, vehicles even swerve off the road and smash into structures such as houses or stores. To prevent this, make sure that you have plenty of sleep and are properly hydrated. Irritation is also another way drivers lose their control. If you are feeling sleepy, start a conversation with your companion or play your favorite track.

Always check the speed limit

Speed limit sign ©
Never go above the speed limit in the area, even if the traffic is very light. Countryside roads have them in place, especially on blind side spots, to lessen the probability of collisions. When the road is slippery, do not hesitate to slow down. Constantly check your speedometer to make sure you are moving at the prescribed speed. Also be wary of other road signs particularly in accident prone areas.

Use mirrors to check blind spots

Use side mirrors to check cars behind you ©
Sometimes you also have to implement defensive driving techniques, especially when you encounter drivers who seem unacquainted with basic road etiquette. Check your side and rear mirrors from time to time to make sure that you a general idea of the vehicles to your rear. If they signal that they want to overtake you and you know that you are running slower than they are, let them pass ahead of you instead of getting on your race car persona. This way is safer for both parties and shows your admirable road character. These are just some of the things to help you practice safe driving. Do you have any other suggestions you can add? Feel free to drop them in the comment box below.

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