6 Driving Mistakes You're Probably Doing

Do you abuse your hazard button?

We all know that you're not supposed to overspeed, blitz through red lights, or cut off other drivers in traffic. But there are other not-so-obvious manifestations of bad behavior that many local drivers think are normal. Let's take a look at some of the more common ones, why they're wrong, and what to do to correct them.

1. The five-minute warm-up. 

Engine oils and parts need to be warmed up before use. They do not, however, need to be warmed up for this long. Even in the coldest weather you'll see in the Philippines, the time it takes to belt up and adjust the mirrors is enough to get the oil circulating.

What's right: As with people, the best warm-up for cars is light exercise. "Walk" the car for a few blocks at low revs before "jogging." And once the temperature gauge reaches normal or the "cold" light goes out, you can finally let it "run."

2. Abusing the hazard button.

Hazard lights are used by many drivers to drop off passengers in the middle of the street, make illegal U-Turns or go against the flow of traffic on one-way streets.

What's right: If you wouldn't do it with your hazards off, don't do it with them on. Blinking yellow lights don't make you immune to traffic-violation tickets or accidents.

3. Blinkers in the rain. 

We've covered this before, and we'll keep covering it until drivers finally wise up.

What's right: If you can't see, pull over to the right and get off the road as soon as possible. If you're driving at 100kph in the blinding rain with your hazards on, you are either reckless or simply misinformed. We hope it's the latter.

(Read: Ensure wet-road safety with these practical tips)

4. The zombie stare.

Many drivers suffer the "Wandering Eye," distracted by cell phones, underwear billboards, and the occasional supercar. But that's obviously wrong, so we'll cover something less obvious: staring down the road. This causes tunnel vision, where things even slightly to the side fade from view.

Continue reading below ↓

What's right: Your eyes should scan back and forth, and occasionally to the mirrors to "refresh" your mental map of traffic, identifying potential dangers like pedestrians and tricycles waiting to dart across the road. This also allows you to identify escape lanes in case you need to swerve to avoid an accident.

5. My lane! 

Insisting on your right of way in traffic is a nasty habit. If you don't move forward when the car in front of you does, it's both impolite and dangerous to suddenly zoom forward to block people trying to merge. If you collide, you will be found at fault!

What's right: When roads narrow from two lanes to one, it's also polite to practice alternate or zipper merging, ensuring that traffic moves freely behind you.

For more driving mistakes you're probably making, check out topgear.com.ph!

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