Strategic Driving and Parking

Little will save you from an auto accident that is going to happen anyway. Understanding that, there are steps you can take to improve the odds that you will continue to drive without an accident. You have heard about defensive driving. I am introducing what I call Strategic Driving. Strategic Driving is where you take defensive driving and apply it to other driving situations.

Idling Safely In Traffic or at Turn

You have heard the rule about keeping a distance from other cars. Usually, this rule is to apply when you are driving behind other cars. What about when you are stopped behind other cars waiting to turn or at a traffic light? The best thing is not to idle close to the car in front of you, but to idle at a distance of 2 cars back from the car in front. That way, while you are temporarily holding the brakes and the brakes fail (they shouldn’t but they could), you’ll have enough of a gap to possibly avoid hitting the car in front.

This approach has limits such as when cars are in lanes beside you. However, as a habit, it may serve you well should some spots in the side lanes have adequate room for you to maneuver in a hurry. Idle the car 2 cars back as often as you can whether waiting to move or waiting to turn.

Watch The Traffic Lights

You may be at a turn and really want to turn as soon as you can. Just wait. Some cars on the opposite side facing your direction may still be in the process of turning into the same lane you are planning to turn into. Of course, some are riding the yellow light and other such things. The coast should be clear for at least 4 seconds. In some cases, that may mean that you have to wait for another turn signal or open opportunity, but while the wait seems long, it often is not in reality.

Parking Strategically

You neither want to open your car door into the side of another car nor do you want another car door to hit the side of your car. That can happen when the parking spaces are cramped with very little room for you or the other person to get out of or into a vehicle. The best option is to try to park in an area that may have fewer cars such as a rear lot or parking spaces furthest away from a building entrance. This one decision can avoid you the strained discussions you may have if your door or theirs hit the vehicle.

Strategic parking may also give you a cleaner exit. When you park strategically, you may put yourself in a spot to were you can back out and drive away with little to no cars in your path. You should always look carefully when backing out or pulling out of a parking spot for other things like posts, cats, and land fixtures, but if you park the right way, you can increase the chances of a clear and clean exit.

Strategic Distancing

It does not matter where you are going. If you are going to a place in the morning, it is not how fast you can get there. Rather, it is about how early can you get up so you can take a route that is the best on gas. Some roads to where you are going bend in such a way that they end up being better routes in terms of gas used. If you were to take a straight road to the highway, you may make very good time, but you may also burn more gas due to velocity unimpeded by traffic lights. Instead, a shorter geographical distance is preferable to a time efficient distance even if traffic lights lengthen out the time.

Vehicle Conservation

Cars are great but it is best to limit their use as much as possible. Be as thoughtful as possible when driving. Do not let down your guard as that may prove fatal. Maintain as much fuel in the tank as you can through limited driving. Reduce the wear and tear on the vehicle which will keep the vehicle in service for longer periods of time. All said, if you can use public transportation to your destination and back, that is preferable to spontaneous vehicle operation. As public transportation improves and more people adopt that mode of transport, it will become a value resource to preserve the use of a car for those particular situations to which they apply best.


By Michael Gautier

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