1. Avoid fiddling with radio or CD controls.
If you don’t know your car’s stereo system well, sit down in the parked car and spend a half hour getting to learn it. Use your eyes at first, then practice changing the stations etc. with your hands while not looking. Practice until you can do this confidently and quickly. Another alternative is to only change stations or track when stationary at lights, parked etc.
2. Adjust the mirrors to your height and sight before you start the car.
This can change from morning to evening, so you may need to adjust more than once a day. Often after a day’s work we sit lower than in the morning, from sheer exhaustion and this can reduce the effectiveness of our mirrors by an inch or more! Make sure that you can see things properly out of your mirrors before you drive off each time.
3. Avoid music or radio talk if it distracts you.
If you need total quiet to concentrate, forgo the radio and just concentrate on driving.
4. Obey the signals and signs.
Watch for indicators, stop signs and traffic lights all the time, not just when you know they are coming up. Avoid speeding up to beat the amber light unless you have no alternative but better than that, start concentrating on the traffic light sequence well before you reach it, so that you can slow down gently.
5. Be conscious of possible problems.
Driving is about anything happening any time and you need to remain alert to the possibilities. It is really important to anticipate possibilities – this does not mean the same thing as assume – it means that you must anticipate what might happen next. For example, you see a driver’s head in front of you turn one way but they haven’t used the indicator. Be prepared for their sudden slowing down and turning because you read their body movement. People forget signalling sometimes and it is wise to be prepared. Anticipate light changes, congestion impacts (driving too close can result in rear-ending during traffic jams), turning vehicles, wide vehicles needing more space, emergency vehicles needing to pass through etc.
6. Avoid talking too much.
Talk is distracting. If you feel that your passengers are going to be insulted by your silence, tell them you don’t mind them talking among themselves but you can’t answer because you are concentrating on driving. This is especially important in congested, peak hour traffic when you are tired.
7. Avoid eating or drinking.
Many colliions occur as a result of reaching for food or drink when driving. And the activity of doing either often requires one less hand on the wheel. Drinking can cause you to put your head back and your eyes don’t focus on the road. Pull over, or wait for a stationary place before attempting either action.
8. Be confident about your driving.
A confident driver is more likely to pay attention because he or she knows the limits and strengths of the vehicle under their control. And remember that – the vehicle is under your control. It doesn’t drive itself; you are the one wholly responsible.