Travel is part and parcel of our daily lives, making it something that we often take for granted. While our roads are critical to our country’s economy, South Africa is also well known for its poor road safety and high vehicle accident rate. With this in mind, it is important to acknowledge that driver behaviour is a major contributing factor in over 90 percent of road accidents, according to data from Alive Arrive. Therefore, it is up to each and every one of us to become safe and responsible drivers this month and beyond.
Here are 3 practical tips to become a more responsible driver:
- Ensure clear visibility
Good visibility is necessary for safe driving, as it is the small things that can take you off guard and cause an accident. It is therefore essential that you ensure that you can clearly see the road and other drivers. Poor visibility has many causes, including objects obstructing your mirrors, a dirty or cracked windshield and environmental conditions.
Although environmental conditions such as rain, fog or smoke are not within the driver’s control, it is advised for you to do the following in order to safely navigate through these conditions:
- Reduce your speed
- Switch on your emergency lights
- Turn on your demister and your windscreen wipers
- If there is no visibility pull over in a safe spot and wait for the conditions to improve
- Stay off the road, if possible, to avoid these undesirable conditions
In addition to the above tips, we also advise that you make sure your vehicle is in good condition by:
- Regularly replacing your windscreen wipers – tell-tale signs that these need to be replaced is when they leave behind dirty streaks, make jerky movements and/or screech
- Keeping your windscreen and mirrors clean
- Attending to cracks and chips in your windscreen as soon as they occur, as the damage is likely to worsen over time
- Aim for smooth driving
Smooth driving involves moderate acceleration with anticipated breaking, resulting in an even and controlled driving experience. It is widely regarded as the best style of driving because it:
- Causes less wear and tear on the vehicle than hard driving styles, lowering your maintenance costs
- Is considered to be more fuel efficient and energy saving, lowering your fuel costs
- Provides a better passenger experience
Moreover, better driving practises may result in lower insurance premiums and rewards if your insurance company includes this in their loyalty program.
Matrix takes it one step further by offering behaviour tracking solutions and analysis to help you take note of your own, or your loved one’s driving behaviours. You will receive a notification via the Matrix Vehicle Tracking App when your vehicle experiences the following events:
- Harsh braking
- Harsh cornering
- Hard acceleration
In doing this, Matrix gives you the insight and awareness needed to become a safer and more considerate driver.
- Plan routes ahead of the trip
While this may seem like a no brainer, knowing where you are going is another step you can take to become a more responsible driver. Why? Well, let’s take a look:
- Helps you avoid getting lost which is likely to put you in a stressful situation and distract you from the road; Distracted drivers are some of the most dangerous on the road
- Enables you to see how long your journey will take and therefore allows you to avoid being late and possibly speeding
- Planning your trip ahead means that you will not have to consult your GPS while driving and by extension enables you to avoid putting yourself and others at risk by using your phone while driving
Don’t forget: Always follow the rules of the road!
Matrix encourages all road users to think about road safety and remember that you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to responsible driving.