10 tips for a safe journey behind the wheel (Part 2/2)

Ok, so here’s continuing from my previous post. 5 more tips for a safe journey for drivers.

So far, we’ve covered the following:

  1. Always SIGNAL when you wish to turn or change lanes
  2. Check your blind spot whenever you are shifting out of your lane!
  3. Don’t tailgate (unless necessary)
  4. Don’t hog the road if you’re slow
  5. Don’t slow down too drastically before a speed camera

Now, let’s move on to the next 5…

Tip 6: Stopping your vehicle appropriately

Let’s say you need to stop your vehicle for a short period of time – perhaps to pick up a friend or to drop off a parcel to your family members waiting by the side of the road. First of all, if there are double zig-zag lines along the side of the road, don’t be a smart alec and stop along there. Fines and penalties aside, these lines are painted at the spot for a reason – there might be a blind corner just before the lines, or perhaps the road is simply too narrow. Whatever the reason, abide by the rules and move on to find a suitable location even if it means walking another 100 m extra. It won’t kill you, will it?

Surely these double zig-zag lines are there for a reason? Photo | Picsicio

And in addition, should you really need to stop along the road side (for urgent cases along suitable and appropriately demarcated roads), give an advance warning signal at least 100 m before you stop. Taxi drivers, unfortunately, are the worst at this. They stop as and when they want (which will be elaborated more in Tip 10). Signal early and you might just avoid a curse being hurled at you, or even worse, an accident.

 

Tip 7: Talking on mobile phone while driving

Yes, I know there has been scientific study that proves that talking on a mobile phone does not affect a driver’s concentration. But unfortunately, many of our drivers are proving this theory wrong. They’re getting themselves into accidents, and even resulting in losing their lives as a result of talking on the phone and not paying attention to their surroundings.

 

Get a handsfree headset, be it a wired mic-earpiece or a Bluetooth headset. It won’t cost much, and I’m pretty sure your life is worth more than a $83 Plantronics 3XX Bluetooth set, right? Unless you’re on a suicide mission, that is.

 

Through personal experiences, I must say I’ve noticed drivers who are so engrossed in talking on the phone behind the wheel tend to slow down a lot and will not be able to stay on their lane. They have the tendency to veer off their lanes, causing panic and shock to the cars around them. They’ve never failed to escape my horn and high beam, so, a sub-tip for you: next time you encounter such a driver holding his phone to his ear and chatting away while driving, blare your horn at him. He deserves it.

 

Tip 8: Heavy Vehicles

Yes yes, I know you’re huge, and you take up a full lane and probably the length of two Mercedes C class sedans. But that does not give you the right to act like the boss of the road. Heavy vehicles (or rather, should I state – vehicles with a speed limit indicator sticker) should ALWAYS stick to the extreme and second left lane of the road. Take a drive along West Coast Highway and you’ll see trailers and trucks zooming past you in the RIGHT LANE as if they’re the Jenson Button of the trailer world. Losers.

 

Vehicles such as the Renault Kangoo always feel that they are not considered an industry vehicle and tend to take to the right lanes too. They fail to realise or even notice the 70 km/h sticker on their back door, and will take pride in accelerating past you at 100 km/h, only to meet you at the next traffic light. Kangoo owners (or owners of vehicles with similar build), please realise where you stand in terms of vehicle performance and safety. Keep OFF the right lane, before someone gets injured or too frustrated because of you.

 

The almighty Renault Kangoo that will attempt to impress you by speeding past you. Drivers, please realise you have a 70 km/h sticker at the back of your vehicle. Photo | Way Motor

 

Tip 9: Turn on your headlamps after 7 pm and use your high beam appropriately

Many drivers fail to turn on their headlamps before 7 am and after 7 pm. This can be accredited to the fact that most sedans now come manufactured with a built-in ‘light-up’ dashboard. This means that unlike the older automobile models whose dashboards will light up only when you flick the light switch, these new cars’ dashboards will remain lighted up once the ignition is started.

The dashboard on the left belongs to the older generation of cars that will only light up when the light switch is flicked. The dash on the right are the ‘light-up’ dashboards that illuminate up once the ignition is started. Photos | What The Tech & Hefel

 

So drivers, please make it a point to check once the clock hits 7 pm, or anytime when you deem visibility is low. Headlamps are important for you to navigate your way around in the darkness, but they are equally important for the vehicle behind you to have a rough estimate of the distance between his car and YOUR car. Spare a thought for others, and make both your rides a more pleasant one.

 

Next, I’d like to move on to high beams. There is this minority group of retards on the roads who drive with their high beam on. Yes, you heard me – retards. By regulation of the highway code, high beams are used during low visibility or to serve as a warning for near-collision situations. You do NOT drive with your high beams on. This will cause severe discomfort for the drivers in front of you. Yes you will be able to see better, but the driver in front of you won’t be able to check all his three mirrors due to the blinding light coming from you. Grow up, and be more responsible. Show some sense of courtesy on the road, or don’t drive at all.

 

Tip 10: Beware of these drivers…

No stereotyping or generalising, but beware of most taxi drivers, female drivers and drivers in sports cars with their ‘zhng-ed’ exhaust that sounds like a thousand cow farts.

 

Firstly, let me clarify that I’m by no means condemning any of these drivers – there’s just this proportion of them who act as the black sheep in the herd and spoil the image of the entire group in general.

 

Taxi Drivers

Taxi drivers are notorious for acting like the kings of the road. Most of them think that they’re extremely familiar of the roads after so many years of driving, and tend to speed and cut into lanes. 99% will act complacently and fail to signal before they turn, stopping as and when they wish to…etc etc.

I do agree that in most instances, the passenger is at fault, for most passengers fail to take into account the road conditions and simply demand that the taxi stop as and when they like. Strange that how when they’re not driving (for those drivers taking taxis), they tend to forget all they learn in their highway code.

Taxi drivers need to be educated on the importance of road safety and courtesy, as should their management in responding to complaints and feedback from the general public. For all instances whereby I hear complains being directed into Comfort Delgro regarding their taxi, the standard reply will surface:

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused and the unpleasant incident. Our taxi driver has been counselled and we will continue to monitor his progress. Comfort Delgro stresses excellence… blahblahblah”

So you stress about excellence. Well I don’t give a damn about how you stress about excellence. I care about and care for the safety of other road users and MYSELF. So, taxi drivers, please wake up.

 

Female Drivers

This may be stereotyping a little but you have to admit that majority of the female drivers out there can’t drive for nuts. They take an average of 3 attempts to park, hog up the right lane, drive with their necks over the steering wheel, stare nowhere but the front of the road, and yet get into most accidents.

 

I do agree there are some females that are awesome drivers, having met some of them personally. If you’re not confident of driving on a busy road, perhaps you should do some practice on more isolated roads especially along Ubi and Bukit Gombak (near the driving schools). Get yourself familiarised with the roads and the right of ways, before you head out to the major roads and expressways.

 

Ladies need to build up more confidence when on the road. The standard argument I always meet with is that they are more cautious. I find this bullshit. Yes you are more cautious by driving slowly, as you prevent accidents from happening to YOURSELF because you don’t crash into someone. But, you fail to take into consideration that you’re hogging up the roads behind you, and someone might crash into YOU.

Seriously, does she look like she’s being cautious? I would think it’s over-cautious (: Photo | Courtesy of Internet


This trend will never end, as per the argument that ladies cannot drive. It is a topic that has been debated for ages, and will continue to be. But still, a word of caution, do avoid them and give them a little more space to be more ‘cautious’.

Yes, I do. Photo | The Vinyl Village

 

Sports Car Drivers

Last but not least, sports car drivers. I’m referring to those ah bengs driving WRX and ‘zhng-ed’ Honda Civics and blast their exhaust every time they meet someone on the road. Supercar drivers behind the wheels of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches tend to be more refined, coming from the upper class of society.

 

Unfortunately, these ah bengs have the same mentality as most taxi drivers, thinking that they can outrun everyone and everyone (except Traffic Police). It’s rather funny and ironic when they tailgate you, speed past you upon overtaking, and end up at the same traffic light 500 m down the road. Losers, eh?

 

I just don’t see the fun in that.

 

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That concludes my 10 tips for a safe journey behind the wheel. Remember, drive safe, stay happy, and most importantly, alive (:

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