How to Drive Defensively
Driving can be risky when you're not alert. There are a million things you have to deal with while getting from A to B: tailgaters, preoccupied drivers, road users who don't think to signal or give way, et cetera.
The key to driving safely is in knowing what you're doing and being aware of the worst situations. Here are good strategies to adopt.
#1 Sit Properly
Your sitting position can affect the way you drive. Don't sit too far back or too close to the steering wheel. Your knees should only be slightly bent when you fully press down on the brake pedal. Also, make sure your wrists touch the steering wheel when your arms are stretched to the limit.
#2 Drowsy Driving
Consume a whole pack of mints. Ok, don't. Try gargling with mouthwash or brushing your teeth before you start out instead. Falling asleep at the wheel could leave you swerving into another lane and getting smashed to smithereens by an oncoming vehicle. If you need to, pull over and get a little shuteye.
#3 The Annoying Backseat Driver
Keep your cool. Count to 10, space out, try to change the subject or turn on AC/DC to the fullest. If all fails, drive to the nearest petrol station, get everyone out and drive away before said subject returns. At this point, accept the fact that the friendship is over and move on.
#4 Preempt Worst Scenarios
Keep your eyes peeled on vehicles on the road and chances are, you'd be lucky to find someone snaking through cars or another feasting on a 12-foot long sandwich at the wheel. Unless you have a loudhailer, swearing at them is pointless. All you can do is give this Jon or Randy his space. Better another victim than you.
#5 Lousy Blind Spots
Adjust your side mirrors as outward as possible and check over your shoulders as frequently as you need. You could also purchase a pair of wide-angle mirrors to attach to your current side mirrors. They are good safety investments.
#6 Reducing Anxiety
If you haven't driven a manual car for the longest time but cleverly chose rush hour to do so, you will end up stalling at traffic lights, rolling backwards on slopes and getting on everybody's nerves. The easiest way to calm your nerves? Get out, take a bus and think about selling the car for an automatic instead.
#7 When it Rains Cats and Dogs
If you must go out into the rain, risking engine damage and breakdown, make sure your tank is sufficiently filled. Using your lights and heaters, as well as being caught in traffic will use up more fuel than usual. Once you're out on the road, use dipped headlights so that other drivers can spot you better. Rear fog lights will only mask your break lights and blind any driver behind you.
#8 Tyre Pressure
Getting the pressure right before setting off on your journey is the first step to getting good fuel economy. It is as important as tune-ups, so always check the readings first thing in the morning by following the numbers on your door card. Note that temperature and altitude changes can also create a rise or drop in air pressure mid-drive, so do watch out.
#9 Avoid Collision
Should you be driving on a country road, blasting David Bowie's Blackstar, and encounter a possum in the middle of the road, swerve and brake all the way ONLY if there's an open escape path.
#10 Porsche Sport Driving School
At the school, you learn the basics through exercises like effective braking and lapping. Four levels are offered: Precision (beginner), Performance (intermediate), Master (advance) and Telemetric (data analysis). The group is limited to a maximum of 12 drivers and two instructors, but you could always request for a private session, subject to availability. Courses are currently held in Germany, USA and China. They are popular and get sold out pretty quickly. Visit drivingexperience.porsche.com for details.