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  Making Things a Little Easier Good Driving Tips

Making Things a Little Easier


Most jobs become easier if they are done properly and driving is no exception. But it involves taking a little more care in the first place to save trouble later on. This chapter suggests some of the ways in which a driver can help himself and other road users. It also includes some advice for disabled drivers.

Automatic transmission :

A vehicle with automatic transmission has no clutch pedal. It has a system that senses the need and makes changes to higher or lower gears for itself. So a driver does not have to worry about the normal gear changing. This not only makes the physical job of driving much easier but also allows a driver to give more attention.


Generally speaking, an automatic transmission changes to a higher gear as road speed rises and to a lower one as it falls. But it also takes into account the load on the engine so that it changes down, if necessary, for uphill work. But there are times when you need a low gear although your speed is constant and the engine load is light - as when you are going down a long steep hill. The automatic transmission will not necessarily choose the right gear in these situations, so you need to know how to use the particular type of controls fitted to your car to best advantage.

The importance of the handbrake :

In earlier chapters, we have said that as a general rule, the handbrake should be on whenever your vehicle is stationary. If the selector lever is at D, L or R (or an equivalent position) an automatic one will move off under power if the accelerator is pressed accidentally or on purpose, unless the brakes are on. If the choke is in use making the engine revs higher, an even lighter accelerator pressure can move the car away.

The disabled driver :

The need for easy transport encourages many disabled people to make remarkable efforts; and those who have driven before they became handicapped are often spurred on to learn new skills in order to master vehicles and drive them safely. Disabilities can vary so much and call for so many different sorts of adaptations to the controls that it is not possible to mention them all here in detail. But we do describe some of the possibilities in fairly general terms.

Do you fit your car ?

This brings us back to fitting the car to the driver. Does your build affect your driving? If you are unusually tall the mirrors may need some re-arrangement to give you a full view, or you may need an extra one. If, on the other hand, you are very short, you may find some cars difficult to drive because of high facias or small pedals; or again you may need to re-position or add to the mirrors.


Your physical build may affect only certain driving operations; in this case you may need to do no more than adapt your driving method slightly to overcome the difficulty.

Good habits :

Good habits are as much a part of safe driving as good technique. Most drivers have their own pet good habit which they recommend to other drivers. You may find yours among the following, or you may think some of them too obvious to mention. But they are all important - as habits - to good driving and to safety.

More haste, less speed :

Even getting up early enough can be part of the story. If you don't start in time, you may be tempted to hurry on the journey. Hurrying leads to mistakes and mistakes can lead to accidents. Accidents mean arriving late - or even not at all. Leave in good time so that you don't have to rush.

Planning your journey :

A map or road book will often show you the way round a town rather than through it. Give a little thought to rush hours and keep out of towns at difficult times.


Adapt your plan to weather conditions if possible. Mist or fog may mean a later start to a morning journey or an earlier start to an afternoon one to get you in before dark. Try to avoid driving in fog if you can and so leave more room on the road for those who must be out in it.


If you like to run to a schedule on a long journey, plan it on the generous side. You will then probably find yourself running ahead of time instead of late and avoid any temptation to feel that you must catch up at all costs.

Regular daily journeys :

If you drive to work everyday, leave yourself more than the bare time for the journey, especially if you have no regular parking place and have to look for one. Don't be too thrusting or drive too fast because you know the route well. Try to keep home and business worries out of your mind. They may creep back during traffic hold-ups, but switch them off before your move off again.

Your home ground :
  Don't let familiarity breed contempt. One day there will be something there.

Clothes :

Comfortable clothes can make all the difference, especially on a long journey. Shoes are important too. Slippery soles are a menace on brake and clutch pedals. Shoes that are too wide can cause you to operate the accelerator by mistake at the same as the brake pedal. - It is a sound idea to keep a pair of comfortable shoes even if they are old ones, in the car.

Rest and refreshment :

Don't go too long without a rest or try to press on if you are tired or in need of refreshment.

Health :

Health affects driving; even a cold can put you below par. If you must drive when you are feeling under the weather, keep your speed down and give yourself more time to react.

Drugs and medicines :

Always check with your doctor whether a medicine you may be taking will affect your ability to drive. And take his advice if he warns you against driving.

Drinking and driving :
  Penalties apart these two things just do not mix.

Necessary stops :

Don't be tempted to put off stops for natural functions. If you do, it will usually be at the expense of your concentration and safety.

Smoking :

Smoking presents difficulties when you are driving. Lighting up, smoke, ash and so on all involve risks, even if you feel that smoking helps you to concentrate. If you really must smoke, remember the risks. Lighting a pipe certainly means a stop.

Radio :

Listening to a car radio is a matter of taste and utility. Road bulletins, for example, can be very useful. But serious listening could affect your concentration.

Talking to passengers :

Even at the risk of seeming rude, be ready to drop out of any conversation if the road needs more attention, or if an argument seems to be developing.

Clear windows :

Like misted windows, stickers on the glass and dolls in the back windows don't help anyone, except possibly as a warning to other drivers.

Seat belts :

You are twice as safe wearing a seat belt as you are without one. Always wear your seat belt when you drive and get your passengers to do so, even for the shortest journey. Safety apart, the steadying effect of a belt can help to prevent tiredness for both driver and passenger. Children should always ride in the back of the car, with a harness or belt, or in a safety seat, if possible.

Advance warning triangles :

Get into the habit of carrying one of these red reflecting signs. Use it to warn other road  road, the triangle should be at least 50 yards away from your car. On a dual carriageway or highway, it should be 150 yards away at least. A warning triangle does not excuse your vehicle from standing in a dangerous position unnecessarily, and it is not a substitute for vehicle lights at night.

  Don't forget to take the sign with you when you can move your car.

Soft ground :

If you have to go on to soft ground to turn (or for any other manoeuvre) don't let your driving wheels get on to it. Keep them on the road, or other hard surface, so that they don't dig in.

Acknowledge courtesies :

It doesn't cost anything and it makes things more pleasant, to acknowledge courtesy and help from other road users.

A last word :

Finally, worthwhile experience takes time to acquire. Driving is no exception, and no one has ever 'seen it all'. You may be an experienced driver or a novice, you will always be getting more experience from watching other people on the road. Judge the quality of what you see. Looking for and copying only the best what you see will go a long way towards making you a good driver.


New driver or old, the responsibility is yours; the road is no place for impatience, exhibitionism or selfishness. Your attitude to driving is as important as the driving techniques. This book has described the techniques necessary for good, safe driving. A proper attitude of mind is something that only you can develop. And here we comeback to Chapter 1 where we said that a good driver needs a sense of responsibility, concentration on the job of driving; patience and courtesy.


Automatic transmissions: what they do and how they help; getting the best out of them.

Semi-automatics: how they differ from automatics
Overdrive: its value on long, fast journeys
Problems and some solutions for the disabled driver
Do you fit you car? How your build can affect your driving.

Good habits: learning to acquire them yourself and recognize them in others. The right attitude to driving.