Vehicle check and inspection
Adjust the mirrors to ensure full visibility from the vehicle. Check the breaks, lights, indicators and tyres daily. Check the tyre pressure, oil level, windshield washer fluid and safety equipment (vest, warning triangle) monthly.
Correct position behind the steering wheel
Your shoulders should always be pressed into the back of the seat. Legs should be bent at the knee at all times. The position of your hands on the steering wheel should correspond to the position of the clock hands when it’s “quarter to 3”.
Fasten your seatbelt
For a person not wearing a seatbelt, even a traffic accident occuring at just 15 to 25 km/h can be fatal. The use of seatbelts cuts the road traffic fatality rate by 50%.
Do not drive if you are tired
Getting behind the wheel when tired is just like driving drunk. When driving, take a break every two hours.
Keep a safe distance
Avoid tailgating. By driving too close to other cars, you limit visibility and risk hitting the vehicle in front if the driver suddenly starts braking. If you travel at the speed of 60 km/h, the distance between you and the next car should be 30 m. Additionally, pay attention to the lateral distance from the surrounding vehicles.
Drive in accordance with the speed limit
Vehicle speed is the essential factor that affects not only the proper and safe operation of vehicles on the road, but also the causes and consequences of traffic accidents. When you double the speed, the braking distance quadruples.
Be clear and visible to other drivers
Use ‘blinkers’ to warn other drivers when chaging direction. You must use stop lights to inidicate your intent to reduce speed, slow down or stop. When making a panic stop, apply the brake fully.
Always stay alert and keep checking your side mirrors. Be mindful of lateral disturbances (motorcycles accelerating past you, sudden lane changes, etc.). Do not switch lanes frequently and pay special attention to cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. Remember – stress is harmful while driving. If you are stressed, try to calm down, open the window, take deep breaths, count from 10 to 1.
Driving on the highway
Always maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front and watch the traffic, both ahead and behind you. Adjust your driving to road conditions and keep in mind that viaducts, bridges and overpasses, which can be frozen in winter, pose particular danger. When experiencing crosswind, drive in line with the speed limit, as carefully as possible.
Driving in winter conditions is a special challenge for every driver, especially when it comes to longer journeys. Here’s a reminder of things to have and check before leaving.
Before you leave, check the following:
- condition of the battery
- condition of the tires
- condition of the wiper blades
- window cleanliness
- windshield washer fluid level (do not use plain water)
- antifreeze level
Always have at hand:
- jumper cables
- abrasive materials (sand, carpet and similar)
- tools to remove snow (shovel, scraper)
- spray to de-ice the car door lock – do not keep it in the car, have it on your person (in the pocket, handbag, etc.)
- spray to de-ice windshield
- gloves, hat, warm blanket
- food, water, medicines, mobile phone (during longer trips)
In case you need to stop or experience a traffic jam:
- Stay near your vehicle.
- Do not overstress your car by trying to get through.
- Place visible markings on your vehicle.
- If you’re starting the engine, clear the exhaust pipe.
- Keep the car running for a short period of time, just long enough to maintain the temperature.
And remember – seatbelt can save your life!
Economical driving is a way of driving adapted to modern engine technologies which reduces fuel consumption by 10-20%, as well as greenhouse gas emissions and the occurrence of road traffic accidents.
- Regularly service your vehicle and check the engine oil level. Regularly serviced vehicles are more efficient and emit less CO2.
- Check the tyre pressure at least once a month. Underinflated tyres increase fuel consumption by up to 4%.
- Remove unnecessary heavy items from the trunk or back seats. When the vehicle is heavier, the engine consumes more fuel.
- Do not keep the windows open, especially at higher speeds. Additionally, remove empty cargo boxes from the roof – this will reduce wind resistance as well as fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 10%.
- Use air conditioning only if necessary. Unnecessary use of air conditioning increases fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 5%.
- Start driving as soon as you start the engine, because the engine does not need to warm up. Turn off the engine if the car is stationary for more than one minute. Modern engines make it possible to start driving the vehicle immediately after starting the engine.
- Drive at a reasonable speed and, above all, be restrained. Every time you accelerate or brake suddenly, the engine uses more fuel and produces more CO2.
- When accelerating, shift the transmission into higher gear as soon as possible. Higher gears are more economical in terms of fuel consumption, so it is best to shift gears between 2000 and 2500 rpm.
- When driving, try to anticipate traffic events. Observe what is happening so that you could avoid unnecessarily stopping and starting the vehicle.
- If you don’t have to, don’t drive alone in the vehicle, because that way you will help reduce traffic jams and fuel consumption.