As time progresses, more and more females are beginning to drive a car. While driving may just be a recreational activity for some, it is more of a responsibility for others. Whatever the case, there are a few things that you should constantly keep in mind as a female driver.
I am confident that you will find these suggestions valuable, and that they will assist you in adopting a better and safer driving style.
Always wear seatbelt
First and foremost, always fasten your seatbelt when you get behind the wheel. You shouldn’t use your gender as a justification for not fastening your seatbelt. The seatbelt not only holds you in your seat in event of a collision, but it also tells your car’s ECU that someone is in the driving seat. If the seatbelt isn’t activated, your car’s airbags won’t deploy in case of an accident.
Ensure no clothing is dangling outside the door
Many female drivers often won’t notice if their items of clothing (kameez, dupatta, etc) are dangling outside the door. Always double-check and neatly tuck them in before you close the door.
Adjust seating position
According to a study, female drivers wearing seat belts are 47% more likely to be seriously injured when compared to men, in collisions because of their smaller stature and preferred (incorrect) driving positions. Remember airbags can deploy at speeds of up to 325km/h! So if you are too close to the steering wheel during a collision, you could get seriously injured.
Sitting in a proper driving position can help you make sure your vehicle’s safety systems are protecting you–not putting you in danger instead. If you are on the petite side, it can seem tough to find a comfortable yet safe driving position, but a few simple adjustments can help you keep a proper distance from the airbag.
Related: Do Airbags Guarantee Your Safety?
As a general rule of thumb, never drive with your hips too lower than your knees. For optimum control, your knees should be slightly bent, but your feet should still be able to reach the pedals easily. Keep your neck upright, with the back of your head in contact with the center of the headrest. To achieve the best posture, follow below:
i. Tilt your steering wheel down.
Adjust your steering wheel so that it points at your chest rather than your head or neck.
ii. Move your seat backward.
Move your seat back as far as you can while still being able to reach the pedals comfortably. Ideally, you should be at least 10 inches away from your breastbone to the middle of the steering wheel.
iii. Recline the back of the seat slightly.
If you are still too close to the steering wheel after adjusting your seat, try slightly reclining the seat. If this makes it difficult to view the road, try elevating your seat (if your car has seat height adjustment) or by placing a solid non-slippery cushion on it. Still within 10 inches? You might want to think about pedal extenders.
iv. Keep your hands on at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock on the steering wheel.
The new safety rules being followed in developed countries recommend all drivers keep their hands positioned on opposite sides of the steering wheel at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions. This is a more comfortable and stable steering posture, as well as one that keeps your hands away from the airbag.
Adjust rear-view mirrors
The use of rear-view mirrors is critically important, something that most drivers overlook. Your rear view mirrors should be set up in a way that they effectively remove the blind spots. Always make sure you efficiently use all three of them, one inside the car and the other two mounted at both the front doors of your car.
Many accidents could be avoided if everyone had their rearview mirrors positioned correctly. For a detailed way how to adjust your mirrors, you can go through our earlier article on this.
Always use indicators
For your own safety and others around the road, always make sure you properly use indicators. Activated via a simple stalk mounted right behind your steering wheel, this device is significant to inform your intended next move (to others) to avoid accidents.
Also, always use hazard lights in order to warn other road users that your vehicle, if stationary, is causing a temporary traffic obstruction. You may use hazards when your cars has broken down, had an accident, run out of fuel, or been forced to stop by an obstruction in the road.
Use proper shoes
This is often another overlooked aspect of female driving. You need to be wearing a comfortable set of shoes, with which you can operate the pedals efficiently. Wearing too-pointed ones, or those with heels, etc are prone to cause mishaps. In case of emergency, you need to press the brake pedal quickly, wearing standard footwear will help you do that in a flawless manner.
Checklist when your journey ends!
Once you reach your destination and have safely parked your car, ensure you cross-check the following:
- Ensure the parking brake has been activated.
- Make sure to switch off the headlights.
- Cross-check if all windows are rolled up.
- Don’t forget to take out the keys with you.
- Use a sunshade to cover the windshield if your car is parked under direct sunlight.
- Check if all the doors are properly locked.
Choose the right vehicle for you if at all possible
If you have the luxury to buy a vehicle that suits you best, then go for it. Ideally, newer vehicles are smaller on the outside but offer greater space inside (think newer Vitz/ Mira, etc) compared to older cars (like Khyber, Mehran). Also, cars with smaller dimensions on the outside are easy to maneuver within traffic and easier to park in tight spaces too.
Safety should be an important element so consider a car that’s equipped with good safety features. More importantly, newer cars have “pull-out” type door handles, these were introduced specifically due to the increasing number of women car drivers around the world. Ask any female with long fingernails which handle they like better, 100% of them would say the pull-out handle since it’s much easier to grasp without breaking a nail.
I don’t eat, sleep or dream of cars, I am just someone who loves to see, think & write about cars. I love Ferrari in Pink but they won’t make one for me. I use X to write my full name, but that doesn’t mean I’m inspired by Altis X, in fact, my dad hates it 😀 Btw I’m an occasional writer so don’t expect too much from me 🙂