New drivers are coming into cars and onto the roads. While the enthusiasm for the independence of the automobile isn’t exactly what it used to be, the pandemic has had many realize that cars may be the safest way to go. And, as always, there’s more to think about than you may think before you buckle up.
For one, driving isn’t just about knowing the rules and getting the license. It is about driving safely and defensively, and that means anticipating problems and teaching yourself what to do. Driving schools are great, but we also recommend further training in defensive driving and yes even racing. Giving you a feel for what you and the car can physically do can keep you from harm.
Another thing, look after your car. Somewhat gone may be the days when car manuals thought you how to change a spark plug or adjust timing, and indeed many cars don’t even come with spares you can change. But it isn’t a bad thing to do a once-around of your car sometimes if not everyday. Check your tire pressure, yes even if you have run-flats. Run-flats and tire-inflating-and-sealing cans cannot handle catastrophic damages like sidewall gashes, so it pays to double-check. Keep an eye on your battery, modern vehicles require more electricity that before and often give no signs prior to you being unable to start your car. Even the fluids you can check like windshield washer and possibly power steering and such are good to keep an eye on.
Driving isn’t the same everywhere. Your city habits may not work in the country and vice-versa. Rather than get frustrated at being stuck behind slow-moving public transport or farm animals that slow down your expected and intended pace, realize that you are in their world not in yours. And remember that in the provincial areas, many people especially kids do think the road is theirs to play on.
Speaking to driving further out, make sure you know the legalities and the costs. An International Driving Permit can do wonders, we get ours from Automobile Association Philippines. These are often more honored than the driver’s license themselves and can come in handy with rental cars and police stops. Also make sure you are insured for foreign travel driving. Rental car companies sometimes say they have deals but many assume you have western insurance that they can draw upon. This may leave you uninsured. Then you end up having to find trustworthy car accident lawyers when all you wanted to do was find some out-of-the-way drives. The world is more complicated, be prepared.
Everything comes down to being prepared. Have extra food and water and clothes in your daily drive, have the numbers of people you may need to call not just on your phone but also on paper. Bring a notebook to take down details and actually make sketches in case of an accident.