No, we are not talking about the drivers who hog the fast lane at turtle. They know, even if they’re already driving at speed limit, they should still give way if faster cars are approaching from behind. They either hog the lane on purpose, or never realized there’s a rear view mirror in the car. What I want to point out here are “innocent” driving mistakes. Things that you maybe doing unknowingly, compromising either your safety or the durability of your car.
Turning on the hazard lights in heavy rain
When visibility deteriorates during heavy downpour, drivers tend to turn on their hazard lights. The intention is good. They want to alert other drivers of their presence, and indicate that they are slowing down. But turning on the hazard lights is not a good idea. In many car models, when the hazard lights are flashing, the turn indicator no longer functions as intended. You can’t signal your direction when you need to change lane, making driving in the rain even more dangerous.
Instead of turning on the hazard lights, just make sure that you headlights are on. You can also turn on your fog lights to let other drivers see you better.
Driving in neutral
Petrol is expensive. Some drivers like to “free gear” when the car is coming to stop. For example, when approaching a traffic light. They believe by keeping the RPM low, they get to save a few cents. However, there is potential danger in this practice. If a car closes in from the side unexpectedly, you can’t get away in time because your gear isn’t engaged. The only time the car should be in neutral is when it’s stationery. Period.
One foot on the clutch pedal
The tip only applies to cars with manual transmission. Some drivers keep one foot on the clutch pedal all the time. They think it’s convenient, because they don’t have to move their legs that much when changing gear or stopping their cars. This is not only a bad habit, it’s a bad habit that would cost you big bucks.
Even if you think you are not applying force to your left foot while it’s on the clutch pedal, you are. Very lightly. Because your leg has weights. The light touch on the clutch pedal would disengage the clutch slightly, all the time. The constant grind will wear off the clutch sooner than usual, to the point that the engine can no longer transmit any power down the wheels any morel. The car just gives up moving. Leave your foot to the side of the clutch pedal. Only step on it when you need to change gear.
Stabilizing the car on a slope with clutch and accelerator
I remember my driving test years ago. We could only use cars with manual transmission. The part that worried me the most was launching on a slope. If I couldn’t control the clutch precisely enough, the car would roll backward. I would fail the test. After a lot of practice, I could balance the clutch and accelerator just right and hold the car stationary. It was cool, or so I thought.
It is actually a very bad idea to keep a car stationary on a slope with the clutch and accelerator. The reason has already been laid out in the previous tip. Applying power when the clutch is only partially engaged cause unnecessary wear and tear. Furthermore, because I am on the accelerator, I am also wasting fuel.
What is the right thing to do to keep your car stationary on a slope? Use the brakes, of course!
What other common mistakes do Malaysian drivers make? Leave a comment below.