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Effective ways to avoid road rage

Whether we’re driving on a busy multi-lane highway, or in a much quieter country area, most of us have experienced road rage at some time or other. Aggressive drivers can pose a major safety concern on our roads. Here are the most effective ways to avoid road rage so that you arrive safely and stress-free at your destination.

1. Always smile and give a friendly wave when another driver shows you a courtesy, such as letting you in when traffic is congested. Get in the habit of showing the same courtesy yourself. For example, allow space and let another driver in when they’re trying to merge. Think of it as the on-road version of spreading goodwill.

2. Don’t use your horn unless it’s absolutely necessary for a potentially dangerous situation. On the road, a blaring horn is the equivalent of a raised and angry voice. Consequently, if another driver is rudely beeping at you for no good reason, just take a deep breath and don’t allow yourself to be offended.

3. When confronted by an aggressive driver, stay out of their way as much as you can. Ignore any angry gestures they make, don’t make eye contact, never speed up or block their vehicle, and you stand the best chance of defusing the situation.

4. If you’re on edge yourself before starting out, relax by listening to calming music either before or during your drive. And whenever possible, allow plenty of time. Whether there is road construction, heavy traffic or bad weather, there are often delays, usually when we least expect them, and they are the most common reasons for on-road stress.

5. Never make gestures of frustration. As harmless as you may think they are, they could be taken the wrong way and cause anger in another driver.

Each year, there are more and more vehicles on our roads, increasing the potential for road rage. Observing these tips will help you avoid being swept up in the actions of aggressive drivers.

At Not My Fault, we hope you never have an accident as a result of road rage, or for any other reason.

If, however, you do have an accident and you are not at fault, then you are entitled, under Australian law, to an accident replacement car while your vehicle is undergoing repair. Keep our number on you – 1800699034 – and give us a call if such a need should arise.

Photo: Driver by Oleksii Leonov licensed under Creative commons 4

Being alert to the most common causes of auto accidents

Apart from totally unacceptable behaviours, such as driving when drunk or under the influence of drugs, there is a wide range of other reasons why accidents occur. Here are some of the most common; it’s worthwhile thinking how many might – even if just once in a while – raise a red flag reminder for you…

Speeding

Speeding doesn’t have to be by many kph. This can be particularly true in areas new to you, where you may not be certain of the limits. Equally, on longer drives, speed concentration can easily waver.

Tailgating

Many people think of this occurring at high-speed on highways, especially zooming up behind frustratingly slow heavy loads. But, this can happen just as frequently in city or town traffic queues when travelling at only a few kph.

Distractions

From taking or making phone calls to eating a sandwich or unwrapping a sweet; from putting on make-up or straightening a tie – all can cause that vital moment of non-concentrated driving.

Weather

Particularly when conditions suddenly change from dry to very wet, calm to extremely windy, clear to foggy or misty. Being too slow to react is an easy error to make, especially if your concentration isn’t at it’s highest. The same is true of a more gradual switch from day to nighttime conditions when on a long journey.

Gawping

A word that brilliantly expresses the unthinking condition of staring open-mouthed at some off-road event or incident or that accident on the other side of the highway.

Road conditions

Potholes or debris are a good example. Here, a lack of attention to the road ahead can cause the vehicle to come into contact with holes or bumps that throw it off-course. Particularly out-of-town, here in Australia, the behaviour of animals who are not highway-savvy could also come under this heading!

Even when you have taken great care…

…it’s easy to become an innocent victim of another driver who hasn’t! If your car needs to spend time in a repair shop, under Australian Law, if you are not at fault, then you are entitled to a replacement courtesy car. This is why it’s important to keep this number with you – 1800699034 – and then call our Not My Fault team should this ever happen to you…

Photo: Speed II by amalakar licensed under Creative commons 4

Tips for driving through a fire-ravaged area

Obviously – don’t. It’s simply not worth taking any level of ‘it’ll be okay’ risk in such deadly circumstances.

However, with summer approaching, there are circumstances where drivers might find themselves in an area, perhaps unknown to them, where a forest fire has taken hold. Or, there might be a need to quickly leave home if fire is threatening. If this should ever happen to you, here are four vital tips to remember…

1. Look for the safest exit road less impacted by the fire

There can be a danger to just getting in the vehicle and driving out along any road. Here’s a mantra to remember: it’s not always the quickest way out, it should always be the safest. Of course, there may only be one viable route. Otherwise, do check what advice is being offered about any options regarding a route to take. For a longer drive, check again at regular intervals because safety advice or road closures might change as rapidly as the spread or direction of the fire.

2. Close all vents and windows

Your air-con will be a friend in re-circulation mode. There is a danger if, say, smoke seems to have cleared, of opening the windows for some ‘fresh air’. However, it might actually still be toxic, especially for anyone in the vehicle with allergies, respiratory health problems and the like.

3. Drive cautiously, not just quickly

There can be a mindset of ‘beating the fire’ and the conditions that this has caused, or is causing. Calm driving is vital, as is an attitude of caution. In severely reduced visibility, use your horn on bends and to warn other vehicles or wildlife on the road. Remember to be alert for others in difficulty who might suddenly have stopped in the middle or by the side of the road.

4. Check your vehicle before you set out

Make sure there are no flammable items such as gas cans on board. Try to avoid wearing any flammable synthetic materials; remember to take a phone and in-car charger. Add extra bottled water, and make sure you have a first aid kit with you if possible.

Hoping the above never happens to you

Here at Not My Fault, we hope that you never find yourself in the terrifying situation described above.

The same is true of car accidents – under any conditions. However, do keep our number to hand – 1800699034. If you are an innocent victim of an accident, and your wheels are going to the repair shop, under Australian Law you are entitled to an accident replacement car. So, call us if this ever happens to you…

Four important tips for staying alert during a longer drive

Taking the kids to school, heading to work, or undertaking the weekly shop, are all driving activities which are unlikely to require long periods behind the wheel. For many drivers, an extended journey is a more unusual event, and one they might not always be best prepared for. Here are four tips to help you focus on staying alert…

+ Rest beforehand

Enjoying a good night’s sleep is the obvious answer here. But it might be that you are setting off later in the day, or even early evening, and be driving long into the night. If you can, take even a ten to twenty-minute power nap before setting off; remembering that it can also take about the same time to fully wake up again after such a brief nap.

+ Take a short walk before setting off

Rather than leaving you feeling tired, this is much more likely to actually wake you up! In fact, such a burst of exercise (and feel free to jog or run if you prefer) often boosts your energy levels. Such exercise might only last five or ten minutes but can make a terrific difference.

+ Be caffeine careful

Remember, coffee is a quick fix. It can bring you down quickly not long after taking you up high, and will head through your system and soon provide another requirement. Driving while desperately needing to find a toilet isn’t great for concentration! If you do need your caffeine fix, then small and frequent servings are recommended to gain the best ongoing effect.

+ Eat and hydrate sensibly

Caffeine can dehydrate, as can eating salty foods – so make sure you keep well-hydrated. As you drive, it can be a frequent reaction to enjoy some sugar-packed junk foods. Again, it’s better to choose a more natural and continuing energy boost, compared to what these items will provide.

Staying alert doesn’t always prevent a not at fault car accident

While it gives you a better chance of avoiding other drivers’ carelessness or even stupidity, even the most alert of drivers can be the victim of a Not My Fault accident. If you are, keep our number to hand – 1800699034. We can help arrange a courtesy accident replacement car while yours is in the repair shop. Under Australian law, this is an entitlement after a not your fault accident scenario.

Photo: Drive by chase_elliott licensed under Creative commons 4

What causes a driver to become distracted?

What causes a driver to be distracted is an interesting question because the answer is likely to be different for each individual. However, here’s a checklist of some possibilities it’s worth paying attention to…

Driver eating, drinking or smoking

For example, trying to light a cigarette using the dashboard lighter, or placing or removing a cup from the holder, can divert attention from the road.

Using and adjusting the vehicle controls or using a device

Fiddling with the radio, or reaching for or replacing a docked device, can cause problems. Equally, using the actual vehicle dashboard controls can be problematical too. Perhaps a seatbelt is uncomfortable or becomes unclipped, maybe a mirror needs adjusting – both can remove your attention from the road for a moment. Then, of course, the use of mobile phones – even if these are being operated without holding them.

Moving people or objects inside the vehicle

On one side there are the other people in the car, perhaps wailing kids or uncomfortable passengers. Then there are pets who are not being controlled. Thirdly, the distraction might be caused by an insect or bug that’s found its way inside your vehicle and is buzzing around.

Events outside the vehicle

From somebody walking along in fancy dress to the tendency to stare at breakdowns, accidents or other ‘interesting’ events – these can thoroughly remove the driver’s attention from the straight-ahead.

Wandering thoughts

Surveys have shown this to be the major cause of serious accidents, often eclipsing all the previous possibilities added together. This is often due to unintended complacency, especially if driving a familiar route or on largely empty roads. When the mind drifts – sadly, often, so does the vehicle!

If you are the victim of another driver’s lack of attention

Even paying good attention yourself is no guarantee that you won’t be involved in a not my fault accident, leaving your car in a repair shop for a period of time. If this is the case, under our law, you are entitled to a courtesy replacement car, and one as close in size and style to your own as possible, so your transport needs can still be met.

Keep our not my fault number to hand

It’s 1800699034 – and if you are ever an innocent accident victim, call us and set us to work on your behalf…