Maybe it’s because I’m a “car guy.” Or maybe it’s just because I’ve been around a while.
Whatever the reason, I notice a lot of things drivers do, or don’t do, that make me concerned.
These days, there’s a lot of talk about “mindfulness” and I can think of few activities that benefit as much from being mindful as does driving. Take driving on an interstate highway, for example.
If you’re flying down the pavement at 70 mph, it’s vital you pay attention not only to the vehicle right in front of you but also to those several cars ahead. I’ve watched drivers fail to notice the brake lights of the vehicle in front of the car that’s in front of the car they’re following.
Suddenly, it’s “brake check” time; not a good thing on Route 80.
Speaking of interstate highway motoring, I wish people would be more attentive and considerate when it comes to helping others merge. Part of this involves knowing – way before the merge lane ends - whether there are cars on your sides or headed there.
If you know your buffer zones, you can safely move over, or let off the gas a little, to help out the merging driver. And if you’re that merging driver, how about stepping a little more on that gas pedal?
Interstates can be dangerous, but local roads bring other challenges. Unlike the super-slab, local roads have cars going in both directions and they often require us to cross their paths.
Consider this: If you’re stopped to make a left turn – one that involves crossing oncoming traffic – keep your wheels pointed straight. That way, if you get rear-ended (by someone lacking in that mindfulness thing) your car will shoot forward, not into the opposite lane.
And this: If you see the traffic light turn yellow, reach for the brake instead of the gas pedal. Chances are you’re going to have to stop anyway and your brakes are going to last much longer if you use them gently.
Another way to be gentle to your car involves being mindful of its fluids. I’m not talking just about keeping the oil, coolant, brake, transmission and power steering fluids topped off; I’m talking about letting those fluids circulate a few seconds before you take off.
Too often, I see people hop in their cars, hit the ignition and throw the vehicle in gear. For the sake of your rings, valves and bearings, please let that motor run 30 seconds before putting the car in gear. Let the fluids get moving before the wheels get turning.