7 Safe Driving Tips You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Did you know that about 20% of car insurance claims in the Philippines are filed right after Holy Week? Here’s how you can avoid being part of that statistic.


From the movie Little Miss Sunshine / amcnetworks.com

If you know what BLOWBAG means, chances are you’ve heard every safe driving tip there is. You buckle up; check your car’s battery, lights, oil, water, brakes, air, and gas before going on a trip; and keep your vehicle locked at all times.

Yet even the most cautious drivers aren’t safe from the hazards on the road. In fact, the lifetime chances of a person meeting a fatal car accident are about 1 in 470. There’s a 1 in 164,968 chances of someone being struck by lightning, so think about that.

For those driving out this Lenten season, the best advice is this: leave sooner, drive slowly, and live longer. Here are some little-known driving tips for added safety on the road.

1. Tilt the side mirrors outward to cover “blind spots.”

A blind spot is an area where driver visibility is limited due to road conditions, weather conditions, and vehicle type. One trick to address this problem is by angling your side mirrors away from your car to the point that objects that appear on the sides do not overlap with the rearview mirror. This way, you eliminate blind spots and have a better vision of cars approaching from behind.

(See Related Topic: What’s The Safest Car To Drive In The Philippines)

2. Go easy on your vehicle’s sound system.

In 2002, Israeli researcher Warren Brodsky found a link music with higher BPM (such as electronic music) and traffic violations. His findings suggest that faster music increases heart rate and therefore makes people more prone to taking risks. So when driving at fast speeds, keep your speaker volume to a minimum and stay more alert. Remember, even a few milliseconds of distraction can make a world of difference on the highway.

3. When parking, always use your handbrakes.

There is one other main reason you need to pull the handbrake more often: Infrequent use of emergency brakes will make the mechanism more prone to corrosion. While the brake cable is encased by a protective sleeve, corrosion can eat this away and may result in cable failure. By using your emergency brakes often, rust buildup is averted and the cable is saved from breaking.

4. Don’t jam on the brakes during a blowout.

People think the safest thing to do when your tire explodes is to put your vehicle to a sudden halt by slamming the brakes. Wrong. This can make your vehicle fishtail and, in certain instances, flip. Instead of braking during a high-speed blowout, keep your feet on the gas to regain control of the vehicle, then slowly release it until you come to a complete halt; the blown tire will slow you down anyway.

5. Remove obstructions from your windows.

Stickers, phone holders, and cute stuffed bears are great add-ons to your car’s interior, but they may also impede your visibility. Not to mention, adhesives may wear off in time and even fall when you break at a high speed.

(See Related Topic: Prevent Road Rage By Asking Yourself These 9 Questions)

6. Backseat riders should buckle up too.

In 2002, Dr. Masao Ichikawa of Tokyo University found out that rear passengers who don’t wear seatbelts put the front passenger and driver at more risk. This is because in the event of a forward collision, people in the backseat basically have enough force to pin the front passengers to the windshield. Like they say, hug your kids at home, but belt them in the car.

7. Know what to do in case of a brake failure.

Knowing how to use properly use your car’s brakes is one thing; knowing how to use them during an emergency is another. In the event of a brake failure, keep on pumping the brake pedal to warn the driver behind you. See if putting enough pressure will finally make the brakes work. If they don’t, use the handbrake slowly and downshift to make it easier for the vehicle to stop. Coming in too fast? Find a soft spot like bushes and grass lawn to crash your vehicle. –Dino Mari Testa