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June 6th, 2018 by


Every driver develops bad driving habits. Many of us throw K53 out of the window the moment we leave the licensing department. In time, you may have developed a number of other habits which make you an absolutely terrible driver. There is little doubt that you will accidentally kill somebody. One day.

Your conduct, which makes other motorists want to hit you, may include the following gems:

  • Stopping too far out in an intersection;
  • Putting your indicator on after you’ve started changing lanes;
  • Dive-bomb braking;
  • Not giving other drivers a chance to merge;
  • Taking up two parking spaces;
  • Tailgating;
  • Sitting on your phone and not paying attention to anything around you;
  • The mental and physical inability to maintain a consistent speed;
  • Not moving out of an emergency vehicle’s way;
  • Increasing your speed when somebody is trying to overtake you;
  • Turning from the wrong lane in roundabouts.

You get the picture. We’ve all encountered these people, because – and this is most sobering – many people out there are idiots and are completely unqualified to be operating any sort of machinery.

So, these habits may be harmful to you, as a driver. When somebody finally decides to accost you through your window at a red light.

There are many more bad driving habits which are harmful to your car, though. Your car didn’t deserve that. It’s just trying to be the best car that it can be.

Let’s take a look.

Running Your Petrol Tank Down To Empty

Hey, the petrol price is about to go up again. If you haven’t yet become acquainted with the feeling of having to put in R20 petrol, hang in there. 2018 is shaping up to be a long, hard year.

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What many people don’t know is that by running your tank down to empty, you’re damaging your car’s fuel system. Commonly, fuel pumps stay cool by staying emerged in the fuel, in the tank. Depending on your car, if you’re running your tank at less than a quarter, there is a very real risk of this fuel pump overheating and wearing out.

Older cars may also have rust or dirt drifting around at the bottom of the tank, which gets sucked into the combustion chamber and may block your fuel injectors or carburettor.

Do you know what petrol you should be using for your car? We found out here!

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Vin Diesel Syndrome

There are so many bad habits which could fall into this category.

First and most obvious among them – do not floor your accelerator. It may seem like a lot of fun to drive this way, but it uses significantly more fuel than gradually applying petrol.

High speeds often come hand in hand with sudden stops, which wear brake pads and rotors. Neither the flooring of the accelerator nor the flooring of the brake is good for your car.

Resist the urge, Randfontein. Resist it.

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Gears And Bad Driving Habits

Gears offer their own set of problems. Sometimes, for instance, we make a mistake and try to shift into first gear instead of fifth while cruising down a highway. This never ends well.

Another is not really knowing which gear to use and when. Picture trying to pull away in fourth gear. Imagine trying to tackle a steep hill and coming in not-so-hot in fifth. Many of us can’t even conceive of it, because it makes us want to cry, but these things happen. Daily.

It’s tough out there.

So, not selecting the right gear for the job, such as accelerating in too high a gear as suggested above, means that your engine has to work way harder than it should. It places unnecessary strain on the motor. The revs need to rise before changing up, particularly when carrying heavy loads or climbing a steep hill.

Luckily, many modern cars now feature a gearshift indicator light. This nifty little function advises you when to shift up or down a gear.

Speaking of shifting… You reverse out of the driveway, and before the car has come to a halt you’ve crunched the gears into first to pull away in a hurry. Don’t do this. In fact, many modern cars won’t even allow you to.

An exercise in patience may save you a ton of money on repairing the transmission, engine or axles later on.

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Lastly, unless you’re actively changing gears, there’s just no reason to be touching it. Many drivers have a bad habit of resting their hand on the gear lever. This places extra weight on the selector fork, bushings or synchronizers, and leads to internal wear.

Most owners’ manuals quite specifically advise against this. So, it’s just better to keep both hands on the steering wheel.

Riding The Clutch

Ah yes, clutch control. The yardstick by which all other motorists measure your competence.

Most drivers, especially those who have no choice but to endure soul-destroying traffic, abuse the clutch without knowing it. It’s a lot easier to use the clutch to keep your car at a standstill at a red robot, for instance. But – it’s bad for the car. The clutch is known to be somewhat of a wear-and-tear item. As such, it’s usually not covered by any warranty.

Spending so much time kangaroo-hopping the clutch leads to damaging the pressure plate, release bearing and release arm. Also, sooner or later the cable could snap. In peak Cape Town traffic. And then the problems really begin.

It’s much better to only use the clutch when operating the gears. At a stop, keep the clutch out of it, gears in neutral and the handbrake up.

Many people also tend to rest their foot on the clutch pedal when driving – without even knowing it. It’s important to be mindful of this.

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Revving A Cold Engine

All vehicles start from cold. Old men who still own and run the cars they bought back in the 50s will all agree on one simple thing; don’t rev a cold engine.

What you really want to do on a frigid winter morning is to start your car and leave it running for a while. Let it idle for a minute or two. Give it time to warm up, for the oil to circulate around the engine.

Revving the engine does not warm it up, contrary to popular belief. What it does do is cause abrupt temperature changes which can damage engine components. You want to avoid this undue wear-and-tear.

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These are just some of the many bad driving habits which people pick up as they go along. Many of them can be attributed to negligence, but some are just down to convenience. Being able to pull away faster, to get to our destinations quicker, to make the ride a little more comfortable.

Owning a car is a huge responsibility, though, and with fuel prices so high and car insurance and maintenance and upkeep – it gets a little pricey. These days, it certainly doesn’t hurt to save money where you can.

Use your handbrake when you’re standing still. Don’t ride your brakes downhill. These small changes make a difference. Be mindful, and your car will last for a long time.

Start your car insurance quote.