5 Defensive Driving Tips From Sell Your Damaged Car

If you had to do a survey of South African drivers, the results would probably not square with the ‘on-the-road’ reality. We all think we are good drivers. Some may admit to being cautious or nervous drivers, but no one with a legitimate driver’s license is likely to raise their hand and acknowledge that they are careless, aggressive or irresponsible drivers. And yet, every year, as the festive season rolls around, the Arrive Alive campaigns and road accident stats tell a very different story.

The alarming number of car wrecks, road fatalities and accident-damaged vehicles are a blight on our national driving record.

Here at ‘sellyourdamagedcar’, it is our mission to help you ‘arrive alive’ and stay safe on South Africa’s roads - and that includes the art of driving in the rain or driving in the dark.

We are well aware of the trauma and logistics involved in sitting with an accident-damaged car and are here to at least help your family and your car not become one of our road-accident casualties.

A defensive driving mindset is ‘key’ to avoiding accidents and crashes. An Advanced Driving course at Kyalami or Zwartkops is first prize but will probably remain on your wishlist for a long time, due to the expense.

So here is our layman’s version of 5 defensive driving tips to set you apart as you and your family head off on a road trip:

Drive safe and avoid and an accident
#1 THINK and drive

Before driving becomes a physical activity, it is a mental activity. A car is one of the most dangerous ‘weapons,’ and respecting the responsibility of what it means to be behind the wheel is first and foremost a mind/attitude shift. Critical to being in control of your vehicle is intentionally being aware of road conditions (especially potholes and road works), your speed and driving position, observing all our road traffic laws, road signs and road markings and not only being aware of the cars around you but also being observant of your broader surroundings.

So don’t DRINK and drive; THINK and drive!

#2 FOCUS only on driving

A defensive driver is always focused on their driving skills. This is critical to staying safe and avoiding having to deal with a car crash and the aftermath of sorting out an accident-damaged vehicle.

Being distracted - even for a couple of seconds - could be the difference between life and death. Talking on the phone, eating, fiddling with the GPS, changing the radio station or sorting our irritable kids in the backseat all make a driver less focused and less able to react to potential problems that may come out of nowhere. (On our South African roads this could easily be a pedestrian, a car stopped illegally, a motorcyclist weaving in and out of traffic or a wandering cow or goat).

Defensive driving tip - stay focused and alert

So FOCUS on your driving and if something else needs your attention, find a safe place to pull over.

#3 STAY ALERT while driving

A driver’s ‘duty of care’ of being a driver is being responsible for yourself and others in a vehicle. (Weighty stuff). It is sobering to think that, depending on how you drive, people's lives are in your hands! No driver should ever take risks, be over-confident or think they are superhuman and not need a ‘wake-up’ call every 2 hours. Accidents that have occurred with drivers falling asleep behind the wheel account for a large percentage of our road accident stats.

So STAY ALERT to STAY ALIVE! This requires looking around and anticipating that others may drive recklessly or lawlessly.

#4 Follow the 3-4 second rule

The greatest chance of being in a collision is with the car in front of you. Maintaining a safe following distance (the 3-4 second rule) gives you adequate time to break if necessary (but only if you are staying focused and alert). This rule applies to ideal weather conditions and a responsible, defensive driver will increase this following distance at night or in wet weather conditions or if you are driving a heavy-duty vehicle or truck.

Keep a safe following distance to avoid an accident-damaged car
#5 SPEED kills

Trying to get to your destination as fast as possible is just not worth it. (The beach or campsite are not going anywhere!) Accidents often happen without warning and speed is a serious killer. Controlling your vehicle at speed is that much more difficult if you skid or suddenly have to break to avoid an accident scenario. For you, it may be all about the destination, but that is only if you get there.

So SLOW DOWN, keep to the recommended speed limits and just enjoy the ride.

Contact us if you are in an accident

Defensive driving tips and making sure your car is ready for the trip will help you on your way to avoid a collision and avoid sitting with a non-running vehicle. But we know that accidents still happen, no matter how responsible you are.

Should you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of sitting with a seriously accident-damaged car, ‘sellyourdamagedcar’ is always on hand to lend a hand (and that includes towing your car for free, sorting out the paperwork and offering you the best price should you need to sell your wrecked car).


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