What do expert drivers know that most drivers don’t?

Mudassir Ali
Jan 31, 2020 07:30 AM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Jan 31, 2020 07:30 AM

An expert driver gets to know their vehicle. Intensely. Not simply limiting your vehicle to the routine commute. Get to know your cars limitations on roads not often traveled. A few weekend road trips may do the trick. It’s important to know everything about your vehicles driving dynamics. The car should be an extension of your body, little different than your own arms and legs. Furthermore, know the cars feel, smells, and sounds. Understand what’s normal. For example, with enough experience, you’ll be able to smell a leak, know whats leaking, feel when a tires air pressure is too low or high, or hear a cylinder misfire, worn belt, or vacuum leak, long before closer examination.
An expert driver goes the speed of traffic. This is a basic rule of just about every drivers ed class that most drivers forget. If the speed limit is 60, and the flow of traffic is 70. Guess what? You go 70. Not going the speed of traffic increases your chances of ending up in a wreck or causing one.
Assume everyone on the road is a moron. This will save you alot of heartache. Expert drivers develop a “sixth sense” over the years. At least 4 times a week, I can predict stupid acts behind the wheel from other drivers before they do it. Its hard to explain completely, but there are signs an inexperienced or dumb driver is about to do something stupid like swerving or being extremely timid. The rest is gut instinct.
Speaking of moron drivers, an expert driver creates a buffer around themselves to avoid gaggles of cars driving close to each other. This I believe is the biggest reason I’ve avoided disasters on the road. Now, understand that occasionally involves driving faster to avoid gaggles of cars. This seems counter-intuitive, but getting around herds of cars and creating a buffer keeps fools behind me. In my experience, most wrecks seem to take place in groups of cars that are close to each other. If at all possible, I don’t want to be close to other cars, especially cars next to me. Nothing says “oh shit” like some clown next to you inches away going 70 putting on makeup, texting, shaving, or reading. If groups of cars are ahead of me or behind me, at a comfortable distance, great. But I do not trust other drivers too close to me, especially large groups of cars. Why? See number 3.
Expert drivers know when to not drive. Keeping an ear on the traffic radio for white out/zero visibility or black ice conditions is key. AWD/4WD will not save you from zero visibility and icy conditions. I have driven in extreme weather just about all over the US, I draw the line at black ice and zero visibility. I will pull off somewhere and wait it out. Its better to be late than be dead or crippled. Further, not only weather, but knowing the area is pretty important in terms of wildlife. Hunting and mating season often means more deer loitering near the roads. A large enough deer can at minimum cause you thousands in vehicle damage and at worst, send you to the hospital or coroner.
Expert drivers don’t rely on lights at intersection assuming the other guy will obey. Why? Again, see number 3. Hesitate for a bit after a green light and look both ways to make sure you don’t have that one asshat trying to run the light.
Expert drivers understand you are more likely to wreck in local traffic close to home than you are further away on the interstates. Use the same amount of vigilance on local 40 mph roads as you would 70 mph interstates. People think that slower local speeds means more safety. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Slower speeds in local traffic makes people more complacent, which actually increases your chances of wrecks. For every one wreck on the interstate, I can assure you that there are several in local traffic.
Other than navigation, an expert driver doesn’t dick around on their smart phone. This one should be obvious, but my experience with others on the road tells me this is not a rare occurance.
An expert driver does not drive tired. Studies have shown that driving tired is just as bad or possibly worse than driving drunk or stoned. Being young and stupid, I’ve been guilty of 18 hour, long distance endurance hauls years ago. I’m lucky I didn’t kill myself or someone else. And no, hopping up on energy drinks is very unwise. Not only will you eventually hit a huge physiological wall drinking that crap, you’ll likely do long term damage to your body. A good rule of thumb is treat driving like an 8 hour work day: 8 hours of labor (driving), then find a place to get some sleep. This may of course mean much less than 8 hours depending on the individual. And do be well rested before you attempt a decent haul from the get-go.
An expert driver doesn’t fuel himself on fast foods. Sure, the roadside fast food joints are an American tradition. I’m not above a trip to my local chick-fil-a myself. But overloading on carbs, corn sweetened drinks, and grease isn’t the best for keeping yourself alert and sharp. For longer trips, I try to forgoe fast foods and munch on nuts, meat protein (turkey jerky is my preference), some apples, and water to wash it down. Coffee (not Starbucks sugar loaded designer drinks) is ok too.
If in a residential area, an expert driver drives as if his or her kids live there.
An expert driver uses his turning signals to let other drivers know his or her intentions.
An expert driver does not tailgate. Why? See number 4.
An expert driver understands the left lane is for passing, not cruising. If he or she is in the left lane he or she is actively passing another vehicle.
Last but not least, is an expert driver has a healthy respect for the car. Lets call it what it is. The average car is a 4000 plus pound plastic, glass, and metal missile full of hot, flammable liquids. Its not hard to see why over a hundred Americans die each day in wrecks, with hundreds more seriously hurt despite countless innovations in safety technology by automakers over the last 50 years. That doesn’t mean drive timid, that means drive smart. Its like owning a firearm. If you ignore basic common sense and safety fundamentals; you will eventually hurt, maim, or kill yourself, or worse yet, someone else.

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