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How To Drive Better

By raccars Published

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We can't all have the Stig's driving skills but some basic rules should sharpen up your behaviour behind the wheel.

Look where you're going

It might sound obvious, but you need to look in the direction you want to drive. When your gaze wanders elsewhere, your car tends to follow it, so don't allow yourself to be led away by distractions on the side of the road. The same applies in emergency situations - if you feel yourself skidding on ice, look in the direction of recovery rather than the big tree on the verge, or you are likely to hit it. You shouldn't only be looking directly ahead but also into the distance, so that you are aware of what to expect.

Delay your change up

We are in the habit of changing up a gear quite early, mostly for reasons of fuel economy. However, using lower gears means using engine braking and can help you stay within lower speed limits. It won't save on fuel, but it could help you keep your licence.

Be aware of signals

The road tends to give you plenty of clues about what is about to take place. If there are lots of people at a bus stop on the other side of the road, chances are there's a bus approaching down the road. If bins are out on the road, a bin lorry is also likely to be around. If you see fresh horse poo, keep your eyes open for the culprit.

Position yourself carefully

Drive where you get the best view without straying out of your lane, such as towards the left when reaching a bend to the right and vice versa.

Maintain stopping distances

You need to be able to stop within the distance visible ahead. If you are driving too fast to stop without hitting anything, you are cruising for an automotive bruising, as you will be unlikely to be able to avoid a broken down car or fallen tree which suddenly appears around a sharp bend.

Be prepared

At least one collision is an inevitable part of most driving careers, and even if you escape them, you will have experienced a few near misses, so you have to expect the worst at any time. Don't trust other drivers and keep your eyes peeled at all times, because hideous accidents do happen - children do run out from between parked cars, trailer loads do tumble out onto the road and other cars change lanes suddenly without indicating. If you are always aware of the potential dangers, you will be quicker to react.

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