Driving is a more complicated activity than meets the eye. The more experience motorists get behind the wheel, the less they think about all the different variables that go into being a safe and responsible driver. Driving is about so much more than keeping speed limits and paying attention to the highway code. Being a good driver also entails operating your vehicle cautiously enough to preserve its roadworthiness. If you allow bad driving habits to build up over time, this increases the chances of falling victim to dilemmas such as getting stranded, or worse, involvement in collisions. Here are a few bad habits to shake if you want to avoid dreadful problems as a motorist:
1. Don’t Rest Your Hand on the Gear-Stick:
It might look cool, and it might feel comfortable, but that doesn’t change the fact that resting your hand on a gear-stick will damage your car. The sad thing about this habit is that most drivers never find out until it’s too late. Placing extraordinary weight on gear-sticks creates a constant burden of pressure which displaces gears in the transmission system. If a car has trouble shifting gears, there’s a good chance this malfunction was triggered by bodyweight on the gear-stick.
2. Don’t Wait too Long to Refuel:
Drivers often like to wait until the fuel gauge is close to empty before deciding to refill on gas. While this habit might seem efficient, it actually has some unintended bad consequences. When a car is not in use, mechanical impurities build up in its various reservoirs. Over time, these impurities gradually settle downwards in fluid as sediment. Allowing your gas tank to rest with plenty of open air accelerates the formation of this sediment, which then gets flushed into the rest of the engine whenever fresh fuel gushes in. Keeping the fuel tank full starves the sedimentation process of the oxygen which catalyzes it.
3. Don’t Ride the Brake:
Drivers who like to be overcautious have a habit of constantly depressing the brake to maintain their desired speed. This is a detrimental practice because it wipes out brake pads and brake discs faster than usual. If you want to prevent your braking system from waring out quickly, learn how to slow down, drive and merge at a corresponding pace with the rest of highway traffic. Also maintain your foot at an ergonomic posture so that you can depress the brake without exerting too much force. Avoid tailgating and keep your distance as well to reduce the chances of applying emergency brakes unnecessarily.
4. Use your Parking Brake:
When a car is parked on a slope without using the parking brake, the entire burden of halting its gravitational momentum is concentrated on the transmission system. This is problematic because it keeps the transmission system engaged throughout stationery periods when it shouldn’t be. Moreover, the transmission system isn’t designed to prevent the car from rolling away assuming it gets struck by a different moving vehicle or extreme forces. Even if it involves a few extra steps in your instinctive routine, engage the parking brake whenever you stop your car.
Every time you decide to go on a drive, don’t just fixate on getting to your destination as fast as possible. Think about all the different processes you’re carrying out just to fulfill your journey. If you push your vehicle too much without taking care of it, you might get where you’re going fast, but you’ll also shave years off the overall lifetime of your car. Go easy on the throttle, and use your brake efficiently. Get your car serviced on an appropriate schedule, and use the right materials to keep it clean. If you do all of this in combination with respecting the rules of the road, nothing will prevent you from driving a car which lasts for decades instead of years.