When it comes to road safety, women have long been recognised for their cautious driving habits with perks such as better insurance rates than men. With more women taking to the roads as the primary driver for the family, further investment in improving driving skills is a worthwhile endeavor. Here, advanced driving instructor and stunt woman, Michele Habig teams up with AutoTrader to give advice on road safety and how to be the best driver possible.
Road safety tips from the experts
Focus on your seat placement
This is often an overlooked detail that Habig has seen repeatedly. “Women tend to sit way too close to the steering wheel, which inhibits their arm movements when trying to steer,” said Habig. “The reason for this is no surprise – women are generally shorter, and without proper guidance it’s easy to get too close to the wheel in favour of making sure the pedals are in easy reach.”
3 seating points to consider
- To find the right distance from your steering wheel first, touch the brake pedal with your right foot. There should be a good bend in your knee with no stretch to reach, and your knees shouldn’t be touching the wheel.
- Then, make sure you’re able to see over your steering wheel and in the centre of your windscreen.
- Lastly, the height and depth of your steering wheel must allow you to rest your wrists on the top of it without your shoulders leaving your backrest.
“It might feel a little strange sitting in this way at first, but it’s the safest and most comfortable way to sit in your car,” said Angelique Lynch, Marketing Director for AutoTrader.
Master a few advanced driving skills
“Another step to improve your ability on the road is to learn a few advanced driving skills in addition to the basic driving rules you learn as part of your learner license” Lynch points out.
Skills typically taught are ABS braking, collision avoidance, brake distance recognition (how long it takes for your vehicle to stop when travelling at different speeds), correct steering (with steering exercises), driver assistance (safety systems, what these are and how they work). “Practical exercises are carried out on different terrains like a skidpan, which can be abrasive when it’s dry and slippery when wet, in order to simulate different weather and road conditions” Lynch points out.
“Interestingly, women are far easier to teach than men,” said Habig. “They listen well and are attentive drivers, making them much more conscientious. If there is a ‘bad habit’ that female drivers have, I would say it’s a lack of confidence.” Habig best piece of advice is to invest in an advanced driving course.