Smart tips for careful driving

We are all creatures of habit. If we do something for a long period of time, right or wrong, it becomes a habit. And we continue to do it.

Cars of bygone days, Ambassadors and Fiats, had about half a dozen keys per car. One for the ignition, one for the chor switch, one for the driver's door handle plus one extra lock you had fitted. The boot had a lock in the handle but it was unreliable so you put a large chain around the handle and secured it to the bumper with a lock. They all had to be on one key ring.

Then there other keys: One for the house front door, the garage lock, the steel cupboard, the office, the list is endless. You carried about half a kilo of steel keys. They were the keys to your kingdom.

Happily those days are gone. Today one key is all that is required for your car. The car can be locked electronically by remote or a smart key. A smart key doesn't even have to be removed from your pocket. As you walk away from the car, press a button on the door handle. The car automatically locks itself. As you approach the car it opens itself. To stop-start the car, no key is required. The car may also have an immobiliser.

So, here is your first deviation from habit. These keys may not be kept on a ring with a bunch of metallic objects. These electronic keys work on a radio frequency (R.F.). If there are a lot of metallic objects around it, they may create a magnetic field which will interfere with the R.F. of the key and render it useless.

This way another problem will come up, so just one key for the car will do. But you still have to carry the key for the gate and front door. Rather than keep them in your pocket, remember not to keep them close to the smart key. Instead you should put them in the glove box.

Should your car should get stolen you have a real problem. The baddie has the keys to your front gate and home and if the registration certificate is in the car, he also has your address. It won't be a case of breaking and entering, it will be an open invitation to the thief.

Some of you must be driving cars with controls on the steering wheel. You should prevent yourself from removing the hand from the steering wheel and fiddling about with knobs on the dashboard. This will be of great help for safer driving. However, two of the most important functions, traffic indicators and wiper controls are still on stalks behind the steering wheel. The wiper controls are used occasionally but the indicator controls are used dozens of times daily, especially in the city. Some drivers who are not used to modern cars, develop their own driving styles, which are invariably wrong. Every fitment is designed to be used and operated in a specified manner. Operating the indicator lever is a one-finger operation, push up or down. Proper procedure demands that you reach the lever from behind the steering wheel, not through it. Imagine your finger is operating the indicator lever through the steering wheel, with the other hand you spin the steering wheel. There is a good chance of the finger being caught between the steering wheel spoke and indicator lever. Don't take this lightly. Drivers have ended up with a broken finger. Happy Motoring.