I have been driving for a while now, well since I was 18 I but won't tell you how long that has been, I don't want you doing your maths. In all those -- let's say 10 years -- of driving I have picked up and stuck to four principles by which I drive. When I was 15 and my dad was teaching me how to drive in my mother's jalopy that looked a lot like the car above; it was vintage and a bold colour, a car that would soon become my first. He said "get in the car and put your seat belt on." That's the lesson I treasure above all else.
My driving rule book as I have mentioned above has four basic rules that guide me whenever I take to the road. Be it a road trip in university with my best friend and the then love of my life, be it driving to brunch or even driving around a foreign city.
1. Seat belt
The words my dad said to me during our first driving lessons stayed with me. Both my parents had been very strict about seat belts from the time I was a kid, even when we were driving to the supermarket a few streets from home. An article on Everyday Health quotes the director of the Pennsylvania Traffic Injury Prevention project who says that "people thrown from a collision are four times more likely to get killed than those who remain inside." This is how I've avoided a lot of traffic fines, that and keeping to speed limits.
2. Phone Storage
I love my phone! I love texting and receiving phone calls and staying in touch with my people (friends, family, business, acquaintances etc.) And then I went to visit home one day a few years ago after mum had had a whole week to stew about an episode of Oprah where they were discussing the dangers and fatalities of driving and texting. To cut a two day lecture short, my phone now lives in the glove compartment in my car. I put it on silent and throw it in there.
Driving alert is one of the most single important things a driver can do for themselves and other road users. The Road Agency and Arrive Alive recommend taking a break every 200KM when driving long-distance. Pull into a garage, stretch your legs, get some air, take a bathroom break and have an energy drink or coffee. A goodnight's sleep on my Sealy bed ensures that I am always alert on the road.
4. Spare (Inflated) tyre
I think I learned to change a car tyre before I even started my driving lessons. When my dad and I weren't washing his or mum's car I was by his side passing tools -- I popped the hood. I carry a roadworthy spare tyre in my boot so that should the need arise I can stop and change the damaged tyre. With that comes the reflective vest (for when I'm working in the dark) and traffic triangle to warn approaching motorists.
For more information on driving in South Africa go here
Happy safe driving!