Road Trips are more than just covering miles or kilo meters. Road trips make the journey the adventure. The act of being in the car or bike, seeing the sights and not having to rush becomes your trip.
The destination is secondary. But before you embark on your road trip, here are some basic driving lessons that you should learn…
1. Do it Right
Driving is a process of body automation to the techniques of driving. Do it right from the day one.
2. Understand your vehicle
Before you begin driving, you must understand the vehicle characteristics. You must know how the engine, steering, brakes etc behave in certain situations.
The most vital part of any vehicle is the ‘contact patch’ of tyres with the road surface. If the surface is even, dry and tarmac your car steering, power transmission and braking will be at its best subject to the conditions of your tyres, engine and other parts.
So you must always keep in mind the car ahead of you and look at the contact patches and not at the body size for the safety. Your tyre pressure should be according to recommended pressure by the manufacturer for better mileage, steering and the braking.
Many people fill more air which means your car loses traction so often besides the comfort level goes down.
3. Rear View Mirrors
Rear view mirrors on both sides should be focused on the rear bumper corners and also on the road around the bumpers. People mostly focus the mirrors on the road for the traffic. This is wrong. There is a mirror in the middle of inside the car for rear traffic view.
4. The Steering Wheel
Hold your steering with both the hands right on the right and middle of the steering ring. I’ve noticed many drivers holding the centre of the wheel spoke for style. This way you will be wasting a crucial second to negotiate a situation. Every micro second is important in an accident situation.
5. The Gear
Usually a car has 5 forward and 1 reverse gear. There are actually 4 forward gears and the 5th gear is an override for cruising beyond 70 KMPH. People generally engage the 5th gear at even 30 KMPH speed. This is wrong.
6. Shifting Gears
Gear shift depends on the engine RPM that defines the power band. As a thumb rule for the cars, one should shift the gears as under:
- 1st to 2nd at 15 kmph
- 2nd to 3rd at 25 kmph
- 3rd to 4th at 35 kmph
- 5th gear should be used only after 70 kmph speed is reached.
This is how you can get an optimal fuel average and your engine will last longer. Remember the 1st gear is the lowest in motor sports terminology.
7. Going Downhill
While driving down the slope do not shift to the neutral gear or high gear. Most people do so to save on fuel. This is a myth.
As long as the throttle is not pressed, the engine runs in idling speed for which the fuel is taken in through an idling circuit. So if you climb down in in the lowest gear, the vehicle will use engine brake to slow down but there will be no fuel used despite the fact the engine RPM will increase.
All the modern cars have ‘short throw’ gears which are nimble. Use them without showing the signs of struggle.
The most important aspect of driving is ‘anticipation’ that can help you to avoid accidents and save on fuel.
9. The Brakes
Front brakes, of all kinds of vehicles including 2 wheelers, are more important than the rear brakes coz they give 75% contribution to stop a vehicle. Don’t ignore your tyres and brakes.
10. Follow The Rules
Follow traffic rules. You can never win on the roads. You can never be ahead of all the traffic because there is always someone ahead of you. So just chill and hold your wits.
Keep your head on your shoulders and stop behaving like many illiterate or ignorant commercial drivers with no dignity for self and the others.
Drive safe, enjoy the surroundings and have respect for others. You can always drive but you must live.
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