Hi-Tech driver Aids …
The most obvious and widely used is almost certainly the ubiquitous Satellite-Navigation. This gadget has revolutionised the way we find our way around – or in some cases still get hopelessly lost or stuck up a dead end in a coach! Like most things in life they are not infallible and as they are built by humans and used by humans they may fail or more likely be programmed incorrectly or the instructions misinterpreted.
On the plus side they can remove a whole level of uncertainty and direct us to our destination without having to even consider a map or work out which route is likely to be best. Even if you know your route, Sat-Nav systems can be very useful especially if you have to take a diversion caused by the bad weather or accidents, and anything which allows us to still concentrate on the driving rather than balancing a map on the steering wheel is good.
Hint: Enter your destination before starting to drive!
It’s worth mentioning the mobile phone that nearly everyone now carries and is a must for anyone venturing into remote areas. Whilst you can call for assistance you will need to communicate your precise whereabouts, as not all rescue services have the technology to pick up this information from your phone.
For example if you break down on a motorway it is tempting to call 999, but remember your call could be directed to a centre in a different part of the country leaving you to try and explain exactly where you are to somebody who doesn’t know the area. Therefore if you suffer a breakdown on the motorway network always try to use a fixed roadside emergency phone to call for assistance, as this will pinpoint your position to the operator and speed up the response.
Hint: Always stop before making a call on your mobile – including hands free.
Cruise control has been around for a while, but the latest adaptive cruise technology allows your car to follow other vehicles at a set distance and provided you set a sufficient distance it can be very useful. However what is a reasonable distance? The good old 2 second rule is to my mind the easiest distance judging aid to remember, meaning that when the vehicle in front passes a fixed point you should not arrive at that point within 2 seconds (double this in the wet). Any lesser distance and a sudden change in the speed of the traffic you are following could lead to disaster because you will not have time to react.
Hint: - You still have to drive the car and remain alert to all hazards.
Whatever gadget you decide is for you, always be sure to read the instructions on how to use it properly before you get out on the road. Don’t get pulled up for driving without due care and attention just because you were playing with your favourite gadget.
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