Driving Conditions - Learner Driver Tips [EBOOK] Ch 6
April 30, 2019 at 11:16 AM
In Chapter 6, learn about driving in different weather and road conditions including driving at night, in the wet or fog and on mountain roads.
Even roads that you’re familiar with during the day can feel quite different when you’re driving on them in the dark. The reduced ability to see warning signs and road markings, and the risk of encountering new hazards make driving at night more challenging.
Here are a few tips to help you reduce the risk when driving at night:
- Prepare your car. Clean your windscreen before you take your car out in the dark as it will help reduce glare from streetlights and headlights making it easier to see.
- Increase your stopping distance. Drive more slowly and increase your following distance to allow yourself more time to react to hazards if need be.
- Do a lot of practice. Get at least 10 hours experience of night driving starting with roads that are less busy at night.
- Don’t forget the risks. Pedestrians, cyclists and animals will be harder to see at night so be keen to spot them early. Unfortunately, there’ll also be more drunk drivers on the road at night, so keep a large enough following distance and reduce your speed so that you’re ready to react when another driver does something dangerous.
Wet weather makes the road slippery and also makes it hard to see ahead clearly. This significantly increases the risk of having an accident which means that you have to be extra careful to remain safe.
Here are some tips to help you drive safely in wet weather:
- Reduce your speed and increase your following distance to at least four seconds.
- Look at least 12 seconds ahead for big puddles as these can cause your car to lose its grip if you drive into them at high speed. You should also keep an eye out for sprays from other vehicles especially larger ones. Maintain a bigger following distance or drive more to the left if vehicles from the other side of the road are spraying you.
- Be more careful if it is raining after a dry spell as the dirt and grease build-up will make the road more slippery.
- Try driving in the tracks of the vehicle in front of you as this part of the road will be slightly drier .
- Be extra careful when driving at night in wet conditions as the glare from streetlights could make it difficult to see road markings.
Because visibility is drastically reduced, driving in the fog can be quite dangerous.
Here are some tips you can follow to keep safe when you’re driving in foggy conditions:
- Slow down. The poor visibility makes it difficult to identify hazards early enough for you to react. Drive slower than you would in normal conditions and use the speedometer to regulate your speed – rather than relying on visual indicators which could also be obscured by the fog.
- Use your headlights in low beam. Turn on your headlights to low beam as a high beam will reflect off the fog and dazzle you instead of providing illumination.
- Use your fog lights. If your car has fog lights, turn them on as they will not only help you see the road but they’ll also help other drivers see you.
- Position your car as far left as possible. Don’t hug the centreline when driving in foggy conditions. Instead drive as close to the white line on your left as possible to keep away from oncoming traffic.
- Don’t stop on the road. If you need to stop, find a place far from traffic to pull over. Turn off your car’s lights as they may cause other motorists to assume your taillights are indicative of the line of travel – this could result in a collision.
Driving on mountain roads is often an exhilarating experience, but it can also be quite unsafe when done wrong.
Here are some tips to make any mountain road drive safer:
- Make sure that your vehicle’s brakes, windshield wipers, defogger and exhaust systems are in good condition before starting your journey; a failure in any of these systems could make the drive unsafe.
- Drive as fast down the mountain road as you would when driving up by shifting to a lower gear. This way you won’t have to rely on your brakes to hold your speed downhill.
- For steep upgrades, shift to a lower gear and watch your car’s temperature gauge to avoid overheating the engine. Pull off to the side of the road at a safe place and keep your vehicle at fast idle if you need to cool off the engine.
- Do not drive too close to the centerline especially around curves.
- Always remember that vehicles going uphill should be given the right of way when driving down a one-lane mountain road.
6.5 Top Tips for City Driving
Driving in the city poses many special challenges. There is traffic, trying to find a parking spot and of course the challenge of getting where you want to go on time and with your nerves intact. Here are our top tips for city driving:
- Stick to a single lane. Many people tend to switch lanes and weave in and out of traffic, hoping that it will get them to their destination sooner. This kind of behaviour will get you to your destination only a few seconds earlier and increases your risk of being in a collision.
- Consider driving an automatic car if you are going to be doing a lot of city driving. You will get a lot better gas mileage and it will be a lot easier to drive if you are not constantly changing gears as you are driving in stop and go traffic.
- Be on the lookout for pedestrians when you are driving in any city. Pedestrians can be anywhere and may run out in front of you at any time – they do not always wait for a crossing as an opportunity to cross the street.When you are driving in an unfamiliar city, use a navigational system to guide you or have your route mapped out. Make sure that you have plenty of contingency plans if you miss a turn or a place that you want to reach.
- Stay alert and take in everything around you. There is a lot going on in the city with taxis, busses, big delivery trucks, emergency vehicles, cyclists, motorcycles and plenty of other cars. You have to keep an eye one what is going on at all times and make sure that you drive at a speed that allows you to stop if something occurs suddenly in front of you.
- Slow down. Be prepared to stop quickly if something should occur in front of you. Make sure that you are doing the speed limit, but look all around you and stay alert.
- Keep an eye out ahead so that you are prepared for what is coming up next. Some lanes may change to a “right turn only” or a “left turn only” or a “bus lane only”. Whatever the case, you want to be certain that you are ready for everything that is going to occur on the road in front of you.
- Plan your route and practice driving it in your mind so that you will be mentally prepared for it once you it the city streets. If you are not confident or feel nervous, it can affect your driving and make it difficult to concentrate.
- Don’t panic. Many people driving in the City can become impatient and lay on their horn or make a nasty comment to you if you make a mistake. Don’t let this rattle you, just carry on with your route and concentrate on getting there safely.
- Drive smoothly. Don’t take off quickly from a stop only to brake hard at the next light. Accelerate slowly and drive at a constant pace. It is easier on your car and on your mileage.Contact us for all your driver training needs.