There are few things as tragic as vehicle accidents where family members gets seriously injured or pass away. Unfortunately, so many of these injuries or death could be lessened or even prevented by simply sticking to basic good practices.

Before anything else, the driver must have the attitude that EVERYTHING is HIS responsibility. That includes driving in a way not to cause accidents himself AND thinking for the other fools who cause them, in order to take early action and avoid an accident.

Buckle up

Why this item is so difficult for people to adhere to, is simply beyond my understanding. Your vehicle can have all the airbags and electronic traction aids that exists, if the vehicle rolls or hits something solid and passengers are not buckled up, they will be flopped around and splat like jelly because of the enormous forces of physics.

I often need to take working colleges with me as passengers and I insist that they buckle up before we go. It is after all by law, the drivers responsibility to ensure that. Once again, it fails my comprehension that when there is an accident and it was clear that those who died was not buckled up, the driver was not in one single case that I have heard of, charged for his negligence.

Still, I often find that one of my passengers silently slips off the belt shortly after we are on the move and then the devil takes control of me. At the first opportunity when my tail is well clear of other traffic, I will simply take note when my passenger is unaware, accelerate smoothly to a higher speed and step hard on the brakes. Almost without exception, they will hit the dashboard or the rear seat and although not happy, at least they are buckling up willingly.

Usually after such an ordeal, I ask the person why he does not buckle up? Few can actually give any comprehensible answer. So I ask them if when we get to a stop, we can do a simple experiment. All I want them to do is to run as fast as possible straight into brick wall. Not a single person up to now was willing to, most of them feeling that I insulted their intelligence. Obviously it will hurt huh - you think I am stupid? Yet, if I point out to them that they can only run at a fraction of the speed that the car moves, they still cannot bring the ends together and realise that they WILL get terribly much more hurt if the car gets to a sudden stop.

People don't realise that a fully grown man sitting loose on a back seat, will without exception comfortably fly though the little space between the roof, the head rest and the person in front of him (usually breaking his neck) and out of the front window in a head on collision at a mere 60 km/h.

The same goes for rolling a vehicle. You actually have an excellent chance to survive a roll-over when buckled up because the vehicle shell is made to protect you, and the energy of the accident is dissipated over a long distance. However, people who are not buckled up usually falls out of the side window at the first roll - once again a fully grown man comfortably gets through there - and the person is crushed the next time the vehicle goes over as he is be then halfway out of the window. That is usually where his corpse is planted in the soil giving the impression that the person was slinged out like a stone from a slingshot.

There is only one single exception when you and you passengers do not buckle up, and that is when you need to do a water crossing in your 4x4. For the rest, there is no argument. Please do not put yourself in the position where you kneel next to your dead child knowing that a safety belt would have saved his life. The pain is not worth it and you have no right to expect sympathy for being this negligent.

Always Both Hans on the Wheel - 10/3

As a younger driver, I though keeping both my hands on the wheel at the 10/3 position, was a load of hogwash and just some more nonsense of K53 to make our lives difficult. It required more effort and my arms got tired because it was not used to it.

I also drove with this one or two fingers of one hand curled around the wheel and thought that keeping the car straight was all I had to do.

In 2008 my life changed though and I had to spend a lot of time on the road. I travelled about 80 000 km per year for two years in a row.

In order to reduce this added risk, I realised I had to become a much more skilled driver and I went for my first advanced drivers training. Put into this environment of fast track and the skidpan, the instructors quickly proved to all of us what a huge and instant difference this single habit makes on the vehicle control of a driver.

The way I could feel and read the car was so profoundly different that I decided to stick to 10/3 from that day that I left the gate of the training facility. In the beginning, my arms got tired from the long hours but I persisted and soon found it comfortable.

It was worth it all over. Where in the past I had no hope in hell to catch a sliding tail, it now came almost naturally because one can sense the change in balance and feedback through the steering as it should be. With one or two fingers on the wheel and arms resting on the arm rests, you loose all that advantage.