6 ways to upgrade your driving skills

MANILA, Philippines – Being a smart driver boils down to a few simple things: awareness of road rules, alertness to any potential hazards, and using common sense with every turn of the wheel.

But amid all the distractions out there, it’s all too easy to forget these things while driving. While the latest cars have been designed with better safety technology, (READ: Driving in the modern world), these innovations are only effective if you do your best to avoid danger in the first place.

Check out the slideshow below for a few simple rules to remember or adapt the next time you’re in the driver’s seat. Remember, smart driving isn’t just about your safety – it’s about the well-being of everyone else on the road, too. – Rappler.com 

Hands to the side Driving schools have always taught us to keep our hands at the 10-and-2 o’clock positions on the steering wheel. But since today’s cars are usually equipped with airbags inside the steering column, keeping your hands on top of the wheel can actually be dangerous. Upgrade: To adapt to airbag technology, it’s now recommended that you keep your hands on the 9-and-3 or 8-and-4 positions. These allow you to keep control of the wheel while saving you from injury in case the airbags deploy. Keep a safe distance Nobody likes a tailgater. Following a car closely from behind isn’t just being a nuisance; it also increases the risk of an accident. Upgrade: While some modern cars are fitted with an emergency automatic braking system, it’s always better to prevent an accident than to react to one. Unless it’s a bumper-to-bumper traffic situation, remember to stay at least one car length or more from the car in front of you while moving. Check your mirrors It’s not enough to just keep your eyes on the road in front of you. Your safety also depends on knowing what’s around and behind your car. Upgrade: Check your side and rear view mirrors regularly even if you’re not changing lanes. As a safety feature, your car should also come equipped with a warning system that alerts you when a car or an obstruction is near one of your blind spots. When in doubt, turn your lights on Most people can remember to turn their lights on at night, but they’ll often forget to turn them on during heavy rain or when they enter a parking lot. Upgrade: If at any point you’re in doubt about your visibility or the visibility of others, turn your headlights on. To increase safety, modern HID and LED lights can provide better visibility than using regular halogen lights. Be extra careful when it's raining When it rains, it pours. And when it pours, roads get slippery and your car’s tires lose traction. Upgrade: A few simple rules can help you keep control in the rain: slow down, avoid turning sharply, and brake early. If you hit a skid, some cars today are equipped with an electronic stability system that help you regain control right when you need it. Don't text and drive Driving requires your full attention. You shouldn’t be looking down at your phone for any reason when you’re sitting in the driver’s seat. Upgrade: Save the texting for when you’ve already parked. If you need to make a call while you’re on the road, sync your phone to the radio via Bluetooth. With this, a few simple voice commands let you use your phone without taking your attention away from the road.