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Safe and Pleasant Holiday Driving

Preventing drowsiness

Driving on long journeys is often more hazardous than negotiating busy city streets. With little to do, boredom sets in, which, in turn, leads to drowsiness.

Symptoms to watch out for are: yawning, heavy eyelids, spasmodic jerks of the body and your vehicle wandering off the road. The following tips could help prevent such symptoms:

  • small and regular snacks during your journey are preferable to large meals
  • avoid wearing tight clothes and accessories
  • stop at least every 200 kilometres for about five minutes to stretch your legs
  • ensure that there is adequate ventilation in the car
  • encourage other passengers to chat with you.

Beware the other driver

Together with darkness and rainy conditions, other road users may be regarded as one of the commonest hazards. Learn to recognise potentially dangerous drivers and keep clear of them.

No matter how severely you may be provoked, keep your temper and resist the temptation to retaliate - it may result in anything from a collision to a shooting match.

Be especially wary when driving near any of the following:

  • Any vehicle in which the driverís range of vision is limited, such as a fully laden pick-up with no side mirrors.
  • A truck with a badly packed or unsecured load.
  • A car containing active children and pets - the driver may be distracted.
  • A vehicle with many dents and scratches - the driver may be habitually careless.
  • A driver who obstructs the way and does not let you pass - slow down and let him get far ahead.

Travelling with children

Driving very soon becomes tedious for children so a long trip should be planned ahead to include rest stops, toys, games and refreshments.

The frequency of stops along the way may depend on the ages and dispositions of the young passengers as well as the availability of shade and other facilities. When stopped allow the children to run around and play in a safe place, to work off some of their energy. Although there will inevitably be some unscheduled stops for minor emergencies, try to determine safe and suitable stopping places in advance, such as garages and restaurants with play areas.

Conclusion

Safe driving requires the driver to be fully aware of what other road users - including pedestrians are doing, and to be able to anticipate what they are likely to do. When a potentially dangerous situation does arise, the driver must possess the skill to be able to cope readily and smoothly, and without endangering either lives or property.

Driving techniques becomes a matter of habit, whether good or bad. Inexperienced drivers should try to develop the correct techniques, while it may be useful for the veteran to carefully check the pattern of his own driving practice.

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