10 Things That Make Cool Drivers, Cool
Driving is always my favorite activity since I was at high school. I never bored sitting behind the wheel and put my leg onto the gas pedal and push it hard. I used to be a (street) racer. I don’t mind running over 190kph using Mitsubishi Galant 2002 v6 2.4L on a Cikampek highway or running over 140kph using Honda Civic on a main road connecting Purworejo and Yogyakarta just to chase a BMW and a modified version of Corolla at 12AM and after that, running as fast as possible along with those cars as police chased us on the back (thank God I never get caught because I suddenly turned to the nearest gas station and hide while the police still chasing those two cars).
Jeez, those were my “dark ages” when I was young and now, as I’m become older, I always remind myself how important it is to be cool while driving.
“What.., wait! So you want to say that those 190kph thing-y and the pursuit wasn’t cool?”, someone asked me.
My answer when I was doing that: I felt pretty cool.
My answer recently until today and beyond: No.
Why? Simply because I have another definition of coolness while driving a car. Let me tell you.
1. Use your seatbelt after closing the car’s door and before starting the engine
It’s obvious. If you think you can put the seatbelt after starting the engine, wait until you forgot to use it because as soon as the engine started, you will forget the seatbelt and push the gas pedal right away.
2. Never reach the maximum speed limit allowed in the particular road
When the sign said “100 / 60”, which means you should drive at a maximum 100kph and a minimum 60kph. This sign usually seen on the highway. I encourage myself to drive at an average between the maximum and minimum (which is 80, in this case) to avoid any dangerous situation. Driving more than the maximum will increase my risk to hit another cars while driving below the minimum (e.g. 20kph) will also put myself in danger I could be hit by someone with a maximum speed.
3. Always stop behind the white line
This rule is not only helpful in the traffic light but also you can use it in any road that have crossed white line, say it a zebra-cross, a roundabout, any junctions, or a railroad crossing gate. You know it’s there to help you and to avoid putting you and your family’s life in danger.
4. Defensive driving is the best while offensive driving is the worst
The idea behind the defensive driving style is that you should always in “defense” mode, meaning that you always aware of any dangerous situation that might arise and never ever involved in any offensive situation that put anybody’s life (including you) in danger.
Speeding up while the others slowing down, taking over from a left lane (or right lane in a right-hand traffic country), turn left or right without using sign, and frequently hit horn so anyone will get annoyed and give you a way. Those are offensive driving style and nobody likes it. Not only put you and your kid’s life in danger but also put anyone’s life and kids on board in danger, too.
Meanwhile, keeping a distance from the front car by two-seconds distance, giving a sign when you’re about to take a turn, slowing down at a junction to give others a way (or pedestrians to cross the road) and maintaining the speed at a constant level are the defensive driving style everybody will like it (except those who use offensive driving style).
The idea behind the defensive driving style is that you should always in “defense” mode, meaning that you always aware of any dangerous situation that might arise and never ever involved in any offensive situation that put anybody’s life (including you) in danger. Always avoid any dangerous situation at any costs.
5. Put away any distracting devices such as hand phone
Facebook and Twitter can wait but avoiding an accident can’t. So choose your priority and set it high so nothing can distract you from the road.
I always minimize the use of hand phone while driving a car. I replaced the map functionality in it by using dedicated GPS such as TomTom. I connect it to wireless speaker using bluetooth. If there’s an incoming call or message, I will ignore it except when I was stopped at the traffic light or in the rest area. Facebook and Twitter can wait but avoiding an accident can’t. So choose your priority and set it high so nothing can distract you from the road.
6. Taking rest when you’re about to sleepy, not when you’re sleepy
when you’re about to sleepy, the moment when you thought it was bored and the road seems no endings and you start to think about how comfortable your bed is, stop.
When driving, you don’t know exactly whether you’re sleepy enough and need to take a rest or just a little sleepy you could go on for an hour or two. My suggestion: when you’re about to sleepy, the moment when you thought it was bored and the road seems no endings and you start to think about how comfortable your bed is, stop. Take the nearest rest area or gas station. Don’t dare continue driving because you don’t know the time your eyes can’t take any longer. Trust me, I don’t want you to have a bad experience as I was, hitting the side of the road at 90kph with eyes were closed. I spent almost 2,500 dollars just to fix things up. So please, take a rest.
7. Brake slowly, even when you have ABS installed
…if that 1% occurs, it’s enough to kill you and your family inside of the car.
To brake slowly, or properly, you need to take a proper distance from the vehicle in front of you. You might think that it is safe enough to do the tailgating because the probability of front vehicle do the sudden break is less than 1% but remember, if that 1% occurs, it’s enough to kill you and your family inside of the car.
If you have the ABS installed, you still need to keep a distance just in case that 1% happened. If you don’t have the ABS installed, that 1% could be doubled or tripled or quadrupled. Think twice.
8. Be kind to others, especially to pedestrians, motorcyclist and cyclist
They might cut your lane off, ignore your presence, precede you in junctions, or yelling at you but they’re no match to your power.
Please keep in mind when you’re on the road: Car is one of the strongest vehicle on the road it can cause damages to others, including life. Remember these words, “with great power, comes great responsibilities”. You have a very great responsibilities to keep others –pedestrians, motorcyclist and cyclist– stay safe. They might cut your lane off, ignore your presence, precede you in junctions, or yelling at you but they’re no match to your power. Smile and keep it safe. You have great power over them, so keep that privilege by doing what we know as great responsibilities.
9. Don’t forget to eat
I love to eat, especially when I need to drive more than 5 or 6 hours straight. Why? Because I don’t want to be distracted with starving and thinking about food while driving. Eating before driving long hours will make you focus and not thinking about the food, especially when you’re in the middle of intersection between two cities where restaurants are rare. Don’t divide your focus into two things at once. Eat enough before you drive.
10. Enjoy the ride
Driving at 150kph will increase your risk to death by probably twice or third times bigger than the one who drove 75kph.
Some people might not enjoying the ride due to many factors: bad road conditions, bad mood, in a hurry, have to catch a flight, or bad vehicle conditions. While bad vehicle conditions can’t be fix without going to the nearest service station, the others are relatively easy to fix. You can plan your path to be passed through and time to depart to avoid these conditions such as bad road conditions or probably in a hurry.
Enjoying the ride will make you relax and thinking about safety first rather than arrive first. Simple math below will explain why you better start 30 minutes earlier rather than speeding up to 150kph on a 150km highway.
Let’s say, you started at 9.30am going from A to B (~150km) with a constant speed at 150kph. Let assume that this is the ideal condition where there’s no traffic and you always run at 150kph, no more and no less. Your friend started earlier at 9am going the same way through A to B also with a constant speed at 75kph. Your friend, who started 30minutes earlier, will arrive 30minutes after you. And why it’s not a big deal starting earlier 30 minutes and arrive 30 minutes later? Remember, this is the ideal condition. While the actual condition may vary, I hope you got the idea.
Driving at 150kph will increase your risk to death by probably twice or third times bigger than the one who drove 75kph. You never know what will happened while you driving at that speed. You just only have an option to gaining full control when something did happened; and driving at 75kph will make you have more control than driving at 150kph.
11. Bonus: Cool drivers know what car he/she drive
You never want to drive a Kia Picanto or Suzuki Karimun at 160kph while you can do that easily using a sport car. The idea is that you know and understand what kind of car you are driving. You know its superiority and limitation and never push that thing beyond its own limitation. You understand that some cars are bad in oversteer, the others are bad in accelerating against uphill road, and so on. Know your car’s limitation and never push it beyond its limitation.
More good things to add up
There are more and more things to add up into this list so if you want to share about how you perceive a cool driver is, please share!