Are you a bad driver?

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WE’VE all experienced bad drivers at some point in our lives.

From the truly dangerous (those who like overtaking on a blind spot) to the truly annoying (those who speed to beat the red robot), we’ve all had to deal with the fallout of bad driving.

So, given that you’ve shaken your fist at many of these drivers, it’s difficult to ask yourself this question.

Are you a bad driver?

Yes, it’s a tough one. The majority of people can legitimately be said to respect the road and the safety of others but bad driving goes further than that.

It can also include habits you’ve unwittingly fallen into that can damage your car and cause you unnecessary expenses.

Here the common bad driving habits, and what you can do to stop them:

1. Dragging the Brakes Downhill

Don’t be heavy-footed on the brake pedal when you’re going downhill. This will cause increased wear and tear on brake pads and discs.

Instead engage a low gear, apply light braking, then release the pedal to give the brakes a chance to cool. Repeat until you’ve reached the foot of the hill.

2. Resting Your Hand On the Gearstick

Yes, when you were a learner driver, your instructor did drum it into you that you must always have both hands on the steering wheel.

Yet, soon enough, bad habits, like resting your hand on the gearstick, stuck faster than the L-sticker on the back of your car.

This is bad for the car’s transmission, because too much continued pressure causes premature wear of the selector fork, which will cost you.

3. Flooring the Accelerator in a High Gear

Modern cars have a gearshift indicator light, telling you when to change up or down. This enhances efficiency so as to maintain the gear shifter, and achieve greater fuel economy.

If yours doesn’t have, beware of accelerating in too high a gear. This places unnecessary strain on the motor. So don’t!

Change down, allow the revs to rise, then change up. This is crucial when carrying heavy loads or climbing hills.

4. Overloading Your Vehicle

While modern cars can carry heavy loads, be cautious not to overload them.

The weight will strain your brakes, suspension, and drivetrain. You’ll also be reducing your car’s fuel economy, and even increasing your car’s emissions.

5. Changing Down Gear at the Wrong Time

Changing gears before they’re ready to be changed, or in the wrong order, is a big no-no. Your transmission will scream in agony when you do it. And you love your car, so why would you hurt it?

If you’re changing down gears, reduce speed to reach the gear position’s optimal rev range, which will reduce wear and tear.

6. Hitting Potholes and Speed Bumps

You’re a South African, so you know all about this one. Unfortunately, nobody fixes potholes, so it’s up to you to take evasive action.

If you do hit them, you’re looking at buckled wheels, lumps in the tyre, cracked alloys, messed-up wheel balancing or damage to the underside and exhaust system. Phew, this list is long!

7. Revving the Engine When Cold

All vehicles start from cold, and whilst your engine oil does need to warm up, don’t try achieving this by revving the engine.

Let it warm up in its own time and avoid potential wear and tear.

8. Riding the Clutch

This is a top ten when it comes to bad driving. A clutch is a “wear and tear” item, and not covered by a warranty. So, don’t incur that extra expense.

Don’t rest your foot on your clutch after changing gears, and never ride your clutch when doing a hill-start.

For the former, remove your foot between clutch changes. For the latter, leave the car in neutral with the handbrake on until you’re ready to scale that Everest.

9. Late Braking

Sure, a time will come when you need to slam on the brakes in an emergency stop, and that’s okay.

But don’t make it a habit, as doing it consistently will place a strain on the braking system and your wallet!

Lastly, remember, your car is your baby. Treat it as such. Don’t be harsh on it or put it through unnecessary strain. or chances are you’ll be exchanging that bright yellow sticker on your back window to:

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