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Tips to Improving your Driving

tips to improve on-road driving
Author: Piotr Zub

Whether you have just received your learner’s permit or have been driving for many years, you should always strive to improve your driving skills. Defensive driving is the best way to avoid accidents and keep the roads a safe place for all drivers. With experience comes intuition – but there may always be aspects of defensive driving that aren’t always obvious.

Don’t get distracted
Transportation Alberta claims that nearly 20-30% of accidents are caused by distracted driving. Anything that steers our attention away from the road makes us react much slower to the ever-changing road conditions. Cell phone usage is a major contributor, but this is very easily avoidable with the use of a Bluetooth device. Also, the usage of cell phones is only one form of distracted driving – from fiddling with the car controls on your new vehicle to driving while eating your lunch, try your best to avoid distractions.

Be a proactive driver
A common piece of driving advice is to not trust any other driver on the road. What exactly does this mean? It’s the idea that you never know what the other drivers may or may not do. We have all experienced the drivers that leave their blinkers on eternally, or worse – that driver with serious road rage doing brake checks. The important thing to remember is that the only thing you are in control of is your own driving.

Look 10 -15 seconds ahead of where you will be going, while checking your rear-view mirrors to be aware of your surroundings. Anticipate what the other drivers around you will be doing, but also try to have an escape route if an emergency situation were to occur. This greatly increases your awareness and allows you to react to otherwise unexpected situations.

Being proactive also means that a driver should avoid any situations that can increase chances of an accident. Ever wonder why you may be getting tailgated in the left lane even though you are driving above the speed limit? As much as you would like to see justice served and force that aggressive driver to slow down, it may not be worth the added risk. Simply yielding to the right and letting the tailgater pass leaves both drivers to merrily continue on their route instead of creating possible conflict.

Smooth and steady control
The key to staying in control of your car is to make sure your control operation is as smooth as possible. Lightly applying pressure to your accelerator or brake pedal as opposed to stomping your foot will not only save you money in fuel but also in wear and tear. This will also give you the utmost control of your vehicle. This becomes crucial in poor weather conditions where sudden jerks in motion can leave your vehicle careening into an undesired direction. It greatly helps to be familiar with your vehicle’s safety features like ABS, Traction Control, 4WD, etc. For example, ABS is designed to allow you to steer away from the hazard and may actually increase your stopping distance. Being familiar with how your vehicle reacts in all kinds of situations allows you to avoid surprises on the road.

How can Geotab help with your driving?
Regarding distraction, Geotab GO devices are designed to reduce the number of interactions with the driver. Limiting notifications to audible alerts allows the driver to have complete focus on the road while still maintaining feedback from the device.

Being a proactive driver doesn’t just end when you’re out of your vehicle. Use Geotab devices to keep up with vehicle maintenance to ensure your vehicles are in tip-top shape. Geotab devices can also be used to improve the way you handle your vehicle. By using driver feedback coupled with accelerometer data, Geotab is able to alert the driver when they exceed a certain amount of force.

To find out more information on how Geotab can make you a better or safer driver please contact your Authorized Geotab Reseller or feel free to contact us by visiting: http://www.geotab.com/contact.aspx

References
Freeman, Shanna. “Driving Distractions.” January 2, 2008 (Accessed May 26, 2014). http://www.autotrader.com/research/article/safety-tips-car/26589/driving-distractions.jsp.

Distracted Driving Legislation (Bill 16). “Government of Alberta” (Accessed May 26, 2014). http://www.transportation.alberta.ca/distracteddriving.htm

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