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Tips for better driving from the RAC

  • 3, Aug 2020
  • Read time: 5 mins
Signed up to SMART WHEELS and want to be a pro behind the wheel? We caught up with the RAC, our official breakdown provider, to find out their top tips for the road, plus how you can get a great driving style score.
Man putting seatbelt on.

1. The two second rule

Always leave a gap of two seconds between you and the car in front, or four seconds in wet conditions. This will help provide the right stopping distance and will give you a much better view of the road ahead of any potential dangers or hazards.

You can check your stopping distance by picking a landmark and timing yourself from the point when the car in front passes it, to when you pass that mark.

2. Tyres and tarmac

When in a queue of traffic, make sure you can see the tyres of the car in front of you on the tarmac.

This will ensure there is enough distance if the car in front rolls back a little when moving off, as well as ensuring that should you be hit from behind, you’ll be less likely to go into the back of the car in front.

3. More paint means more danger

If the gap between white lines is smaller than normal, or if it is a solid white line, remember that it means there are more hazards and potential dangers to look out for.

The same can be said if there are more signs and more street lights in the area you’re driving through.

4. Vehicle maintenance

This is essential for avoiding any issues on the road, whether it’s checking the tread on your tyres to make sure they’re safe (especially important in wet weather), or checking the levels of oil and coolant, to help prevent any engine problems.

A lot of modern cars might seem complicated to look at under the bonnet, but you can still carry out these simple checks to help keep you safe on the road.

5. Don’t drive under the influence

If you are going out with friends, agree on a designated driver and buy them non-alcoholic drinks all night as part of the deal. If you are spending an evening out and having a few drinks, don’t assume you will be safe to drive in the morning. Alcohol can stay in the bloodstream well after your last drink and you may fail a breathalyser test if stopped.

6. Mobile phones and devices

This is one of the biggest distractions for drivers. When you’re at the wheel you should not be using a handheld mobile, texting, or looking online. It is never worth risking an accident for. Make sure any other distractions are kept at a minimum, such as the behaviour of other people in the car.

7. Fuel efficiency

Remember, every time you put your foot down on the accelerator, it burns fuel and costs you money. Try to drive in a more fuel-efficient way by reducing hard braking and acceleration.

If you stick to the two second rule that will give you more time to brake smoothly, and accelerate gently, putting less strain on the engine and saving you fuel and money.

8. Lighten the load

Although not something that will affect your driving style score, if you want to keep fuel costs down, try not to keep unnecessary items in your boot.

On average, every 50kg will increase your fuel consumption by 2%. This is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight so it affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.

9. Water and windows

Check your water daily and top up as required. Don’t forget your windscreen washer fluid level and keep windows and mirrors clean.

10. Anticipation

Always anticipate that the driver in front could do something out of the ordinary and be prepared for it; you can never assume people will do what you expect on the roads.

Find out more about SMART WHEELS insurance, our black box telematics insurance for younger drivers.

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