Workplace training and safety blog
Posted in Defensive Driving

Defensive Driving Tips

After 20 years of driving 4WDs on bush tracks and dirt roads in the NT,  I think I have learnt a few things about making the drive safer!  Defensive driving will help you make your road trips safer.  Firstly, the attitude of the driver is paramount, a defensive driver does:

  • Takes time to inspect vehicle road worthiness
  • Ensures every person wears seat belts
  • Secures loads especially in cabin in case of rollover
  • Aware of fatigue & takes breaks
  • Drive within speed limits
  • Does not take on other drivers problems, calm manner not aggressive
  • When in doubt slow down or do not proceed
  • The speed limit is Not a target
  • Acceleration: increase speed smoothly, not aggressively
  • Braking: Leave a four-second gap between you and vehicle in front. On unsealed road this should be five seconds
  • Cornering: Slow down before entering corner, gentle acceleration.  4WD course dates.

Understanding the braking system is very important to a defensive driver.  The stopping distance of a vehicle will depends on:

  • Drivers reaction time
  • Surface type, sealed, dirt, wet, slippery, sandy
  • Tyre wear & type
  • Braking system – ABS prevents front wheel lock up therefore steering is improved
  • Braking technique for NON ABS brakes, feathering or pulsating to prevent wheel lock

Fatigue whilst driving a 4 wheel drive is very common and is the silent killer.  If you have or feel any of the following symptoms, pull over and have a rest.  Driver fatigue robs you of normal concentration, anticipation and reaction time.

  • Loss of interest
  • Restless
  • Boredom
  • Tired eyes
  • Blurring of vision
  • Increases chance of accident

A defensive driving course will look at the hazards and change your driving habits so your are safer on the road.  4WD courses will help you be a better driver.

James Gorrie has been driving 4 wheel drives through out NT for the past 20 years and has worked at over 35 locations throughout Northern Australia.