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Car Fail Videos And What They Teach Us About Safe Driving

Published On Apr 04, 2020 08:00 AM By Dhruv

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Here are five of the most common driving mistakes and what you should do to avoid them

Being under lockdown has made us go back to one pastime we have always loved doing - binge watching videos - and that too without feeling guilty. Weirdly enough, one of the favourite topics for everyone in office is ‘Car Fails.’

We’ll be honest, watching others bang up their cars because of their own stupidity is funny, until realisation hits that such people are roaming freely among us and their next victim could potentially be YOU! So, can something be done to put a stop to such public hazards? Well, some of it boils down to being more alert while others are just bad driving habits that we must quit. Here are some of the most common driving mistakes that people make and what you can do to avoid them:      

Bring the car to a rest, secure it so it doesn’t roll.

We know you are thinking this could never happen to you. Take it from our hours of experience on the couch that the number is quite high. We take this action for granted and in the most stressful of scenarios, it is the first task we forget to accomplish.

You can make sure this doesn’t happen to you by making it a voluntary activity. Pay attention to the act of engaging your hand brake. It will engrave this task in your muscle memory. 

  • The right way to do so in a manual car is by pushing the button at the end of the hand brake, and then lifting up the lever. 

  • In an automatic transmission vehicle, put your car in a neutral or park, and then repeat the same procedure as before. Use neutral if you are coming to a stop at a red light whereas use park if you are getting out of the car.

Don’t accelerate swiftly past a line of cars.

Imagine you’re driving through a busy part of the city with cars lined up or parked on both sides of the road. Suddenly, you notice a clearing with an empty patch of road ahead. We know it’s tempting to make a go for it but don’t! Resist that urge to stomp your foot down on the throttle as there are an umpteen things that could go wrong.

Somebody might decide to swerve out of the adjacent lane. Whatever is holding traffic could suddenly shift to your lane. There could be an intersection up ahead. Or the most dangerous of all, there might be a corner up ahead which hasn’t yet come into your view.

In most of the scenarios (except for running a red light on an upcoming junction), you will not be at fault for a collision. However, that extra bit of patience can save you from a nasty fender bender. You should proceed in your own lane at a controlled speed. This will allow you to come to an immediate stop if required. 

Don’t look down at your phone. EVER!

We know, we know, it can be pretty tough to avoid stealing a glance at your phone screen even while driving.Well, try harder. A good chunk of the videos online just show cars rolling into the vehicle in front, or in worst-case scenarios, accelerating hard to end up with the same outcome. 

Another possibility here is you could drift out of your lane to crash into another vehicle or object. According to a report from WHO, drivers who use their smartphones are four times more likely to have an accident. Furthermore, this is a punishable offence in India with a fine of Rs 5,000.

Looking where you go is the best way to avoid such a situation. While steering is taken care of with your hands, it is your eyes that indirectly guide the direction of the car. Taking your eyes off the road means that you are now looking somewhere else, so don’t be surprised if your car follows. It is best to put your phone on silent and keep it out of your reach when driving.

Don’t suddenly change lanes.

You’ll see people doing this a lot of the time on highways and it’s mind-boggling how many times people get away with it. Maybe other motorists on the road are accounting for such idiots to do what they do. Or maybe they are just plain lucky.

Sudden lane changes, especially without indicating, might end in a small fender bender at low city speeds, but it has the potential of causing a massive pileup out on the highway. 

Refrain from making any jerky movements with your car when travelling at highway speeds, apart from emergency braking of course. If something appears out of nowhere in front of your car, there isn’t much you can do. Otherwise, your smooth movements will allow other motorists to adapt your movement on the road more seamlessly.

While changing lanes, make sure you check all three of your rear view mirrors, indicate using your turn signals, and then and then only change lanes. Avoid changing lanes at an intersection or inside tunnels.

Don’t play chicken with a train at a railway crossing.

Don’t. Just don’t. You shouldn’t even be needing an explanation for this. Trains require a different kind of distance than cars to come to a halt. A lot of things can go wrong. You can misjudge the distance or speed of the train, your car could stall due to a sudden input, or you just might get stuck in the ruts of the track.

Wait for the train to clear the crossing and proceed only when you've been given the green signal. Some of the other mishaps on the list might have better chances of ending on a less damaging note, but here, the odds of getting away without a scratch will definitely not be in your favour.

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