Driving in towns or cities can be particularly demanding because as a driver you will be bombarded with a massive array of visual information, that you need to quickly assess and then react to accordingly. The close proximity of your vehicle to more vulnerable road users also means that a greater level of concentration, anticipation and observation is required. |
It is important to obey the speed limits when driving in town but you also need to make your own personal assessment of the road conditions and environment. For example whilst the legal speed limit may be 30 mph for a particular road, driving past a school at that speed when the children are leaving would severely affect the safety of yourself and other road users.
In attempt to slow drivers down, many councils have installed traffic calming devices in areas where they believe speeding to be a problem. The most problematic of these devices is the speed hump, because of its potential to damage the suspension and underside of a vehicle, and because there are not set dimensions for these humps some of them can be quite severe.
When approaching a speed hump, avoid harsh braking just before you reach it, as this will cause your suspension to compress, your ride height will be reduced, and the chance of grounding out is more likely. Instead as you reach the bump accelerate slightly, this will raise the front of the car and improve ground clearance.
When driving through a busy town it is a good idea to switch your headlight bulbs on even if it is daytime, to help pedestrian and other road users see you more clearly and avoid accidents. In fact the government is looking at making daytime running lights compulsory by 2011 as studies have shown they can reduce daytime crashes by 10%.
Driving in town also requires you to adopt an assertive and confidant attitude. Traffic in cities is often heavily congested, and so you need to be alert and decisive in your actions and look for the routes of least resistance. For example, even though a traffic light junction may have two lanes for travelling straight ahead, the left hand lane will usually have the longer queue. Don't follow the crowd, confidently move into the right hand lane to make swift process otherwise you could be stuck in traffic for some time.
Driving with your headlight bulbs on during the day, when motoring around town, is one of the easiest ways to improve your visibility to pedestrians and other road users. Studies have shown that the typical slow speed accidents that occur in towns and cities when drivers have not clearly seen each other can often be prevented by leaving your car lights on throughout the day. It is also well worth considering fitting long life car bulbs, which will save you money in the long run as they last longer and so do not need to be changed as often.
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