It’s rainy season. At home that means I use my crock pot more. It means hearty soups and watching movies on the sofa with the kids when school is cancelled. It also means praying for those whose lives change drastically when waters rise. It means being more aware, more diligent, and counting our blessings.
But it also means being more mindful on the road and behind the wheel.
This past Saturday, I was able to attend the Ford Driving Skills for Life workshop given by JP Tuason. I was happy to see JP again, as it has been a while since we have seen him and his lovely wife Jeanette. Nino and I are fond of them and we often imagine how much fun they are having, because when Nino and I were first married we were in the business of making cars fast. That seems eons ago, but still, we look back on that time with a great love. The workshop in Ford Alabang was well attended, probably having close to 25 men and women who wanted to learn more about driving safely during this wet weather.
JP gave us some very important checkpoints to complete before hitting the road.
- Check under the car for leaks.
- Check your tire pressure.
- Secure or remove any loose objects.
- Fix your Driving seat position and your mirrors.
- Check all fluids. (fuel, water and oil)
- Wear your seat belt ALWAYS.
For those drivers who weren’t familiar with what the fluids look like, he even had small bottles so you could learn to distinguish oil from coolant, and coolant from brake fluid.
“Wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of fatality by up to 50% for front-seat passengers and up to 75% for rear-seat passengers.” There is no compromise for wearing your seat belt. BUCKLE UP, ALWAYS. We have instilled this habit in our children from when they were lil peanuts. SEAT BELTS SAVE LIVES.
Even when you are pregnant there are safety precautions you can take to make sure that you and your baby are ok while you are operating your vehicle. You should still buckle up, (like always) but when your belly (and your baby) are growing you should make sure that the belt is positioned properly-below your belly and you should make sure you are sitting a little bit further back from the steering wheel.
This leads me to another very important aspect of driving when your a Momma. Mommas have their kiddos to drive back and forth to soccer practice, school and even just while they are out with us while we are running our errands. We need to make sure our kids are safely buckled in their car seats at all times. This means using appropriate car and booster seats for the age of your child.
- Rear facing car seats for infants
- 5 pointed car seats for toddlers
- 3 pointed Booster seats for big kids
- Children at any age, if in a car seat-should not be sitting in the front seat.
- Pets should be restrained.
Truth is, sometimes, when we are just going down the road and we know it will be a quick trip, I don’t always put Gelli in a car seat. JP’s firm reminder was exactly what I needed to remember to keep my baby girl safe.
While driving there are many things we need to be mindful of so that we can reduce the risk of injury and crashes. Things to remember are actually quite simple, but sometimes might be overlooked because of our tendency to become complacent.
- Maintain a safe driving distance from the car in front of you. (Use the 3 second rule)
- Put the cell phone and all other electronics out of reach.
- DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE.
- Don’t drive when you are tired.
To maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you, use a fixed object that the car in front of you has passed. Count to three. If you pass that fixed point before you reach the count of three then you are following the car in front of you too closely. Talking on the cell phone is not only distracting, it is downright dangerous. Having the cellphone nearby can result in the temptation to answer the phone or text when you should be paying attention to the road and the driving conditions. Drinking and driving while intoxicated is one of the main causes for crashers all over the world. Your reaction time is slowed and vision is impaired. Driving while tired can be prevented by taking short breaks on long drives. If you are very tired, it’s better to stop in a safe place and take a quick nap before getting on the road again, however, the best way to remedy this potential problem is to rest and sleep before driving.
Much of what JP had shared with us might seem to be common sense, however, you could see that there were misconceptions and misunderstandings of what some of the drivers thought to be acceptable practices in driving.
For instance, when driving in a heavy downpour, the last thing you should do is put on your hazards and continue to your destination. Hazard lights should be reserved for when you are safely pulled off the side of the road at a complete STOP, and nothing more. Driving with your hazard lights on can only lead to more accidents. Or, when driving at night and you are blinded by the bright lights of the oncoming cars in traffic, it may not do any good to keep flashing the oncoming traffic into turning down their high beams. Simply look to the right for the lane indicator and do your best to stay in your own lane to avoid any head on crashes.
I also thought it was interesting to realize that some drivers thought it was ok if on the expressway to put on your hazard lights and back up to the missed exit if you passed your destination. (#saywhat) JP adamantly explained that under no circumstances should you be going in reverse on an expressway (think NLEX or SLEX) to catch up to an exit you missed. It will only take a few more minutes for you to keep on going until the next exit and turn the car around in a safe manner.
There are many things we can do to insure our own safety in the car and while driving. But another point that JP brought up was the fact that we can all drive defensively. Paying attention to the roads, the signs, the weather conditions, and even the people around you while you are driving makes for a more alert driver and a safer journey when on the road. Keeping distractions to a minimum can insure that you will not make a mistake while behind the wheel.
While driving, he shared that there are even techniques we can use to become more eco-friendly. Whether it is choosing the right fuel for your car, maintaining the correct PSI for your tire pressure, or emptying your car of unnecessary weight, your fuel efficiency will increase by reducing consumption and cost.
Even when parking your car, he shared, there are ways to help keep you safe. For those women who drive for themselves and then have to park in a lot or garage in which they go to their car late at night, JP suggests parking your car facing out. If there is ever an instance where you feel someone might be following you, by the time you get to your car you can get into your car safely keeping the door is in between you and a would be attacker.
For more information on the FREE Ford Driving Skills for Life Workshop check out their Facebook Page. Look for the “I Pledge to Drive Safe” campaign tab on the page.