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Driving Tips - Things not to do while driving

Snapshot: We take a look at some of the common mistakes people make while driving

In any civilized society there are certain rules and laws that people need to follow. When driving, there is a code of behaviour that one should follow in order to ensure that everybody on the road, including yourself, is safe. However just like in other spheres of life, there are certain people who do not follow the established norms, thereby creating problems, even putting the lives of other road users in danger. In this issue we examine some of the most common driving etiquette failures that we often come across on the road. Make sure that you are not one of those to make the same mistake, endangering your life or that of other road users and you continue to have an enjoyable driving experience.

Failure to use the indicators while turning
The indicators on your car are not decorative bits that have been stuck to the side of your vehicle to make it look nice. They are there for a very good reason — to warn other road us-ers that you are about to either make a turn or change lanes, or that your car is having problems. Not using the indicators can cause serious problems and can lead to accidents. Ensure that you use the blinkers whenever needed, and if they are not working properly get them rectified at the earliest.

Driving while distracted is dangerous
Driving requires complete attention. Any distraction can prove to be extremely dangerous, not only for you, but also to other road users. So, if you receive a call when you are on the move, ensure that you pull up on the side of the road or on a hard shoulder. Using your phone, fiddling with the music system, drinking and smoking while driving are safety hazards to all concerned. Also do not drink and drive. So the next time you decide to go to a pub, ensure that you have a designated non-drinking friend with you who can drive you home or call a cab.

Double parking
Double parking is an etiquette failure that many of us have seen countless times and sometimes the culprit committing the act has been one of us. It doesn’t matter what car you own and drive, be it a humble Nano or a 'look at me' supercar, it doesn't give you the right to double park. Also no one thinks your car is cool or special enough to deserve the few extra feet of space "earned" by double parking. Always park in the designated parking area.

Lane insanity
Driving in a lane is safe for everyone on the road — be it on the highway or traffic clogged arteries in the city. Cutting across lanes is not only rude but it's also dangerous. Also, slow down when another vehicle is trying to merge with the road that you are travelling on. If you are in a hurry and don’t want to slow down for merging traffic, change lanes in a correct manner.

Driving with high beam on
Driving on high beam is one of most common problems. Using the high beam only makes sense on dark and deserted stretches of road. However, using them while driving in the city or on a well lit road is not a sensible thing to do. Driving within the city limits on high beam creates problems for road users in front as the bright light is reflected off the mirrors into the eyes of the driver causing temporary loss of vision. It also blinds drivers and riders coming from the opposite direction, again leading to temporary loss of vision, that can result in head-on collision. In certain cities driving on high beam is a traffic offence.

Tailgating
Sticking to the bumper of the car in front of you will not get you to your destination any faster. On the contrary, it can cause a big problem for you if the vehicle in front of you is forced to make an emergency stop. If you are being tailgated try to increase the distance between your car and the vehicle behind you. In case, the vehicle behind you closes the gap again, it's best to allow it to overtake you.

Holding up traffic by driving to slowly
The speed limit set on a specific road is determined after calculations by road planners. So weather and road conditions permitting, it is quite safe for you to drive at the specified speed limit. While driving at a slower speed may be theoretically safer, but driving too slowly can create a different kind of a problem. Vehicles moving slower than the rest of the traffic can cause disruption in the flow of the traffic, especially if the vehicle in question is driving in one of the faster lanes.

Incessant honking at traffic signals
Stopping for pedestrians crossing the road at the zebra crossings and staying put while waiting for the lights to turn green can bore you to death. But still that is no reason for you to go berserk with the horn. No pedestrian enjoys spending time walking across the middle of a jam-packed road. In fact, they are trying their best to cross the road as fast as possible. So do not try to hustle pedestrians to move faster by incessantly honking at them. Also, honking at other cars at a traffic signal which has just turned green won't make them move any faster. Need-less honking not only causes tempers to flare, it adds to the noise pollution as well.

Stopping your vehicle in the middle of the road
Lost for directions or worse answering a phone call. Never ever decide to halt in the middle of the road. Motorists behind you will take time to notice a slowing down car and chances are they might hit you. If you need to pick up somebody ask them to wait at an easily visible point on the left side of the road, which will not be a nuisance to others.

Beware of others on the road
Driving defensively will always keep you safe. You may find an old man signalling you to stop for him to cross the road even when you are going at 60 kmph. Or a cyclist forgetting the fact that it is not as easy for you to quickly slow down as it is for him. This is another reason why it is important to not speed within city limits and follow the rules. A driver needs to be responsible about himself as well as every-body else on the road.

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