Following a vehicle too closely is called ‘tailgating’ and it is an agressive driving behaviour that can easily be mistaken for bullying and/or road rage.
It could be that you don’t know you are a tailgater or perhaps you don’t how to maintain a safe following distance, use the three-second rule to avoid, (see Maintaining a safe following distance). Most rear end collisions are caused by the vehicle in back following too closely and thus crashing into the car in front.
Being rear ended can result in serious spinal injuries, whiplash, or worse. Adult drivers whose infant passengers are not properly secured into their seats could become serious hurt, if not killed as a result of being flung out of the car.
If someone is tailgating you, move into another lane or turn off the road as soon as possible and allow them to pass. DO NOT under any circumstances tap your brakes as an indication of your frustration to the tailgating vehicle, as this could result in an aggressive response from the tailgater.
Cops to seize drivers' cellphones : Murray
Cape Town drivers who talk on their cellphones will have their phones confiscated by the Ghost Squad traffic officers, the City of Cape Town says.
This new plan came after a report on Tuesday which was met by a “groundswell of support”, according to mayoral committee (Mayco) member for safety and security JP Smith.
“This has caused a legislative amendment,” he said on Wednesday night.
The report said drivers who continued to talk or SMS were to be nailed by a new city campaign that included heavier fines and the possibility of jail time.
The tough new measures will be introduced when a new traffic by-law is passed in April, after consideration by the Transport and Safety portfolio committees and Mayco.
On Tuesday, the new by-law excluded confiscation. The city had removed it because of logistical and ethical concerns.
But Smith said: “We had such positive feedback on the article that we have now decided to reinstate (the clause).”
However, he said the measure would apply only to third-time offenders.
“We thought it could be too logistically difficult to implement, and too harsh to impose on first-time offenders.
“We’re aware that a lot of people will be vehemently opposed (to the legislation). Often a phone is an essential emergency tool – but a third-time offender is equally as dangerous on the road. You must weigh the inconvenience to him of not having his phone against the lives he may take when he smashes into someone while texting.”
Smith said the city would develop protocols for the confiscation of cellphones.
Only the Ghost Squad, which patrols in unmarked cars, would confiscate phones and would have to adhere to set procedures.
“We have been working on a ‘prior offences register’ which will allow officers to see a motorist’s record. This confiscation plan would only be implemented once this register is fully developed,” Smith said.
Before a phone was confiscated, a motorist would be allowed to remove the SIM card and turn off the phone.
The officer would then seal the phone in a plastic container and formally impound it within one hour of confiscation.
“People are going to scream blue murder but we believe it would instantly make this (cellphone) behaviour go away,” Smith said.
Provincial transport MEC Robin Carlisle said people who repeatedly used cellphones while driving were “incorrigible and irredeemable potential killers on the road”.
“I can’t see any reason they shouldn’t take his phone away. I would fully support this.”
Smith said he would be taking the amended by-law to Mayco next week, after which the full council would vote on the matter. If passed, the new penalty would be in place within 12 months. – Cape Argus
- Anti-lock braking system, or ABS
Is a safety system which helps maintain control and allows the wheels of a car to safely be in contact with the surface of the road under braking conditions whilst preventing the wheels from locking up (or ceasing to rotate) and therefore avoiding skidding. While the driver applies steady pressure to the brake pedal, the ABS automatically “pumps” the brakes many times per second to prevent wheel lock-up. An ABS offers improved vehicle control and decreases stopping distances on dry and slippery surfaces for many drivers; however, on loose surfaces like gravel or water, an ABS can significantly increase braking distance, although still improving vehicle control.
Under heavy braking, vehicle wheels may lock-up. The anti-lock braking system (ABS) monitors wheel speeds and releases pressure on individual wheel brake lines, rapidly pulsing individual brakes to prevent lock-up. During heavy braking, preventing wheel lock-up helps the driver maintain steering control. Modern ABS has an individual brake line for each of the four wheels, enabling different braking pressure on different road surfaces. For example, less braking pressure is needed to lock a wheel on water than a wheel which is on tarmac. If the left wheels are on tarmac and the right wheels are on water, during an emergency stop, ABS detects the right wheels about to lock and reduces braking force on the right wheels, helping to avoid lock-up and loss of vehicle control.
Since initial widespread use in production cars, anti-lock braking systems have evolved considerably. Recent versions not only prevent wheel lock under braking, but also electronically control the front-to-rear brake bias. This function, depending on its specific capabilities and implementation, is known as electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), traction control, emergency brake system, or electronic stability control (ESC).
Adaptive Cruise Control One step beyond cruise control, adaptive cruise control uses a radar sensor mounted in the front of the vehicle to maintain a safe cruising distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Most systems allow you to set the interval (distance between vehicles) and will then accelerate and brake (within reason) to maintain that interval. In many cases, the systems can take into account hilly terrain and passing situations. All have the ability to act like regular cruise control, and they still require the driver to steer the vehicle normally. Some automakers refer to it as “intelligent” cruise control.
- Air Suspension Instead of steel coil or leaf springs, some vehicles have a bellows-like unit at each corner that contains pressurized air. As a rule, air suspensions can produce a softer ride.
- Adjustable Suspension Provides better ride or handling. A variety of systems are used to vary shock-absorber firmness. Some automatically sense road conditions and adjust shock-absorber settings accordingly. Others include a switch on the dashboard or console that allows the driver to adjust shock-absorber settings to provide a softer or firmer ride, or sharper handling.
- Antiskid System Helps maintain control in fast turns. Works whether or not the brakes are applied. Sensors automatically apply individual brakes to prevent a sideways skid. Some systems also cut back on the throttle, slowing the engine. It’s also known as an electronic stability system or stabilization program.
- Automatic Climate Control A heating and air conditioning system that adjusts itself as needed, to maintain a pre-set temperature.
- Automatic Transmission With Manual-Shift Capability Allows manual gear changes, when desired, in an automatic transmission. Functions as a traditional automatic transmission when left in Drive, but includes a slot in which the shift lever can be moved to change gears manually. Sometimes, buttons for shifting manually through the gears are located on the steering wheel. This affords some of the advantages of a manual transmission, such as greater control of engine speed for better throttle response, but eliminates the need for a clutch pedal.
- Bluetooth Capability The ability of a radio system to work with Bluetooth wireless connectivity, to function in concert with a cellular phone.
- Brake Assist Designed to shorten stopping distance in a “panic” stop. Applies full braking power even if the brake pedal is not fully depressed. Sensors gauge the speed at which the driver initially depresses the brake pedal and determine whether full emergency stopping power is warranted.
- Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) Operates like an automatic transmission, with no need for a clutch pedal, but contains no gears. Instead, power is transmitted in a continuous flow from the engine to the drive wheels.
- Curtain Side Airbags Designed to cushion and protect occupants’ heads. Located on both the left and right sides of the vehicle, curtain side airbags deploy from above the front and rear side windows in a side-impact collision. Advanced systems deploy the bags when sensors detect an impending rollover. The bags inflate within a fraction of a second and deflate after a few seconds. They also help shield occupants from broken side glass. In some vehicles with three rows of seats, the curtain airbags do not reach backseat occupants.
- Dual Front Airbags Designed to protect the driver and front passenger in a frontal collision. Mounted in the steering wheel hub and in the right side of the dashboard, they inflate and deflate within a fraction of a second. Most systems can judge the severity of an impact and determine whether a front-seat occupant is wearing a safety belt or is out of position. This allows them to adjust the rate of deployment to minimize injuries from the airbags themselves. Dual front airbags are required by law on all new passenger vehicles.
- Dual-Stage Airbags Front airbags that can deploy at either of two levels, depending on the severity of a collision.
- Dual-Zone Climate Control Allows individualized control of heating and air conditioning. Most systems are adjustable for the driver and front passenger; others feature a third adjustment for rear passengers.
- Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBS) or Electronic brake-force distribution (EBFD), or Electronic brake-force limitation (EBL) or Electronic brake assist (EBA) EBD is an vehicle brake technology that automatically varies the amount of force applied to each of a vehicle’s brakes, based on road conditions, speed, loading, etc. It operates in conjunction with ABS to balance the force applied to brakes at front and rear wheels. It can prevent over-braking, improve the life span of the brake-pads, reduce “brake fade” caused by excessive heat, and ensure peak braking efficiency in all conditions. EBD can apply more or less braking pressure to each wheel in order to maximize stopping power whilst maintaining vehicular control. Typically, the front end of the vehicle carries the most weight and EBD distributes less braking pressure to the rear brakes so the rear brakes do not lock up and cause a skid. In some systems, EBD distributes more braking pressure at the rear brakes during initial brake application before the effects of weight transfer become apparent.
- Electronic stability control (ESC) is a computerized technology that improves safety of a vehicle’s stability by detecting and minimizing skids. When ESC detects loss of steering control, it automatically applies the brakes to help “steer” the vehicle where the driver intends to go. Braking is automatically applied to wheels individually, such as the outer front wheel to counter an over-steer or under-steer motion. Some ESC systems also reduce engine power until control is regained. ESC does not improve a vehicle’s cornering performance; instead, it helps to minimize the loss of control. According to international research, one-third of fatal accidents could be prevented by this technology.
- Lane-Departure Warning System Issues a warning when the vehicle edges off course and reaches the highway lane markers. The system can detect lane dividers even in rainy weather. It delivers a noticeable sound when the vehicle starts to move into an adjacent lane, whether due to inattention, drowsiness or distraction.
- MP3 Capability The ability of a radio to play computer-generated MP3 music, as well as CDs and/or cassettes.
- Navigation System An electronic map combined with route instructions, usually displayed on a dashboard video screen. The system communicates with a satellite to display, on the screen, the vehicle’s geographic location and direction of travel. Most systems let you input a destination using a keypad. A computer then calculates the best route and issues audible and visual directions to reach that destination. A few navigation systems lack a map, but provide vocal instructions. Some new systems operate with voice recognition, and are able to “understand” addresses and other oral instructions. Navigation systems are usually optional, though some luxury models have them as standard equipment.
- Newton metre is a unit of torque, also called “moment”. The symbolic form is N m or N·m, and sometimes hyphenated newton-metre
- Over-steer and Under-steer Any serious race fan knows the difference between “under-steer” and “over-steer,” but ask for a description and they might get confused. Most front-wheel-drive cars will “under-steer” (“push” or “be tight”) at the limit of adhesion, the point when the wheels lose their grip on the road. This condition is most noticeable in rain or snow. As you enter a corner and begin to turn the wheel, the car may try to go straight instead; and the harder you steer into the turn, the more the vehicle wants to continue to drive straight. You can help lessen the effects of under-steer by lifting off the gas slowly and slightly applying the brakes. This will transfer more weight to the front wheels, allowing them to get more traction.
- Most high-performance rear-wheel-drive cars will “over-steer” or become “loose” if you enter a turn too fast. The effect is similar to “doing donuts” in the high school parking lot after a snowfall. Over-steer is much more dangerous and difficult to correct. You have to first steer in the opposite direction to limit the slide of the car, and then you must be very gentle with the throttle and brakes to prevent the vehicle from going into a “snap” or violent spin.
- Vehicle skid control systems can reduce under-steer or over-steer, but they cannot change the laws of physics. Either way, it helps to know what to do when your car is at the limit of adhesion so you will react quickly and instinctively. It could save you thousands in a repair bill, or even your life.
- Rear Obstacle Warning System Alerts the driver to unseen objects behind the vehicle when backing up. Sensors mounted in the rear bumper detect the presence of nearby objects. A tone or warning lights signal the distance to these objects. Some systems also warn of nearby objects in front.
- Rear-Seat Entertainment System Allows rear-seat passengers to view video. An option most often offered on 4×4s and SUVs. Earlier entertainment systems played VHS video tapes, but most of the current ones play DVDs. Most have a screen that drops from the ceiling behind the front seats; others locate the screen near the floor between the front seats. The DVD player is mounted low in the dashboard or between the front seats or in the front center console. Most systems allow front-seat passengers to listen to a separate audio source while those in back view videos. Remote controls for the DVD player, wireless headphones, and video-game ports and controls are typical accessories.
- Side Airbags Designed to protect occupants in a side collision. Some side airbags are shaped to provide protection for just the torso, others for both the torso and head in a side collision. Some are mounted in the side of the seat backrest. Others are in the door panel. The bags inflate and deflate within fractions of a second. Side airbags can be furnished for both front- and rear-seat occupants.
- Stability-Control System See “Antiskid system”
Is a force that tends to rotate or turn things. You generate a torque anytime you apply a force using a spanner. Tightening the nuts on your wheels is a good example. When you use a spanner, you apply a force to the handle. This force creates a torque on the nut, which tends to turn the nut. In a car, the engine creates torque and uses it to spin the crankshaft.
- Traction Control Helps limit tire slip in acceleration on slippery surfaces. Sensors determine if the wheels that are receiving power have lost traction. The system automatically “pumps” the brake to those wheels to keep them from slipping. Some systems also reduce engine power to the slipping wheels.
- Turbocharged Turbochargers make use of exhaust gases to compress the air that enters the engine, which increases its potential power output.
- Variable Valve Timing Using computer control, VVT alters the opening and closing of the engine’s valves automatically to produce the greatest level of efficiency. Ordinary engines have fixed valve operation.
- Voice Recognition Quite a few climate-control and other systems can respond to vocal commands. These systems are expanding into navigation systems as well.
- Xenon Headlights Also known as “high-intensity-discharge (HID)” and “bi-xenon” headlights. Standard on some vehicles and optional on others, they provide a brighter and more effective beam. On a few vehicles, the headlights can move laterally in concert with the steering wheel to illuminate the road ahead even in a curve.
Many road fatalities are caused by accidents wherein pedestrians are involved. Many of these fatalities may be prevented through the application of some basic principles. The following safety hints should be applied:
- Be aware that many informal settlements are situated alongside main roads and that there are no formal points of crossing or pedestrian bridges.
- Do not speed near these settlements but be prepared to slow down.
- Avoid passing vehicles in the vicinity of these settlements and especially in hazardous driving conditions such as heavy rain or night driving.
- If visibility is bad, slow down – avoid driving when your vision is impaired either by strong rain or the blinding headlights of approaching vehicles.
- Be on the lookout for pedestrians walking at the side of the road with their backs towards you.
- Be aware of intoxicated pedestrians – especially over weekends and near informal settlements.
- Be careful near places where busses or taxi’s appear to stand next to the road – passengers might suddenly decide to cross the road!
- Always be ready for the unexpected!
- Do not assume that you have been seen.
- Be on the lookout for small children
- You can encounter pedestrians anytime and anywhere – even in places where they are not supposed to be found.
- Pedestrians can be very hard to see – especially in bad weather or at night. You must keep a lookout and slow down if you can’t see clearly.
- Stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk, even if it is not marked. When you stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, stop well back so that drivers in the other lanes can also see the pedestrian in time to stop.
- Cars stopped in the street may be stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross. Do not pass if there is any doubt!
- Don’t assume that pedestrians see you or that they will act predictably. They may be physically or mentally impaired – or drunk!
- When you are turning, you often will have to wait for a “gap” in traffic. Beware that while you are watching for that “gap”, you don’t run over any pedestrians who may have moved into the “gap” & into your intended path.
- Be especially attentive around schools and in neighborhoods where children are active. Drive there like you would like people to drive in front of your own home!
Tips for when you are involved in a car accident
- Stay Calm Always remember to stay calm if you have been involved in a car accident. If possible, get out of the vehicle and stand a short, safe distance from it whilst calling all a relative or a friend who can come to your aid by offering support and assistance as you deal with insurance, police, tow-truck drivers etc.
- Moving The Car If it is a minor car accident and you can move the car without damaging it, do so, so that it is not an obstruction to traffic or be the source of yet another accident. If it is a serious accident DO NOT attempt to move the car.