MotorHappy has advice on how to deal with tailgating, as well as 4 reasons why your car battery is getting drained.
HOW TO DEAL WITH TAILGATING
Ever been driving on the highway and you look in your rear-view mirror only to be alarmed that there’s suddenly a car right behind you, and it’s way too close? That’s called tailgating. And not only is it extremely annoying, but it’s also very dangerous.
“Tailgating is considered high-risk driving because it doesn’t allow enough reaction time if something happens to the car in front of you. Driving too closely behind another car is one of the main causes of rear-end crashes,” says Barend Smit, Marketing Director of MotorHappy, a supplier of motor management solutions and car insurance options.
A safe following distance is usually about two to three seconds, or having two to three car-lengths, between your car and the one in front of you. If the roads are wet, increase this gap.
“If the car in front of you suddenly brakes, a safe following distance gives your brain enough time to register the incident, and time for your body to react and ultimately, for your car to respond. If you are tailgating, you might not be able to stop in time,” explains Smit.
He continues to say there are two types of tailgaters: deliberate and passive. Deliberate tailgaters use this as a bullying tactic, to intimidate you and to get you to move out of their way as quickly as possible. They are usually aggressive drivers.
“With road rage a real concern on our roads, your safest option is to take a deep breath and to move out of the way as quickly as possible. As tempting as it might be, don’t provoke the tailgater and just let him go. Drive defensively, not aggressively,” he advises.
It might be tempting to gently press on your brakes, to give the tailgater a message. Not only could this spark a road rage incident, but if your tailgater isn’t quick to respond, it could cause a collision.
Passive tailgaters are simply not paying attention, or they might be inexperienced drivers who are unaware of the danger they might be causing.
If you have a passive tailgater behind you, it might be tempting to drive faster, to put some space between you – but again, rather drive defensively. Be sure to keep a safe following distance between you and the car in front of you. By speeding up, you might close the gap and in turn you become the tailgater for the car ahead.
If possible, move out of the way and let the driver pass. Alternatively, gradually slow down. That way, if you do need to apply brakes, the driver behind you might notice and take quick steps to prevent a collision. If you do crash, at least it will be at a slower speed with potentially less damage.
Tailgating is illegal, and you could get a fine for doing so. “However, no matter how safely you drive, you cannot control how others drive, which is why Fully Comprehensive Car Insurance is essential for most motorists,” says Smit. “When your car is financed, most banks will require Comprehensive Coverage. This policy covers your vehicle from fire, theft, hijacking, natural disaster, or an accident with another vehicle regardless of fault. In the event of a claim, you are only responsible for the excess to repair or replace your vehicle. If you are in an accident that is partially your fault, your insurance will help you file the claim and settle your damage.”
Car insurance won’t protect you for the carelessness of other drivers when you’re out on the road, but it will protect you financially. It’s a grudge purchase that makes sense in the long run.
4 REASONS WHY YOUR CAR BATTERY IS GETTING DRAINED
Your car battery has two main functions. One is to supply the current via spark plugs so your car can start. The second function is to supply current to all the electrical systems of your car. If your battery can’t hold the charge properly, it won’t have the power to perform these functions. Worst case scenario, you won’t be able to start the car. Plus, the electrical equipment, devices, and features of your car won’t work.
There are four main reasons why your car battery might be getting drained: Faulty alternator; parasitic drain; corroded or loose terminal and wires; and poor battery condition.
Your car’s alternator charges the battery while your car is running. If your car has a faulty alternator, your car battery won’t be able to hold the charge and will continue getting drained.
“In this case, the only real option is to replace the alternator,” advises Barend Smit, Marketing Director of MotorHappy, a supplier of motor management solutions and car insurance options. “The cost of replacing an alternator can be anywhere between R7,000 to R15,000 depending on the type of vehicle you drive. ”
Not many South African homes currently have that much money available at short notice, which is when a Maintenance Plan really begins to show its value. Most Maintenance Plans include alternator replacement. This means that expensive vehicle repairs are covered through easy, fixed monthly payment plans.
Another reason why a car battery might be draining is because of a parasitic drain. This happens if there are certain defective chips and sensors in your car. Even if you turn off the ignition, they keep drawing power and end up draining the battery.
“This is the most frustrating of all reasons because it is very difficult to pinpoint the cause. The only solution is to enlist the help of a trusted professional to find the component causing the parasitic drain and replace it,” says Smit.
A third possible cause for your car battery being drained is corroded or loose terminal and wires. With the passage of time, the battery cable and terminals can become corroded. This may cause the battery to drain sooner than expected. Cables and terminals are responsible for providing passage for current, and rusty cable or terminal won’t allow the battery to charge, resulting in a drained battery.
Visit your local automotive store to look for solution fluids that help to get rid of rust. Thoroughly clean the battery terminals with the fluid. If it doesn’t resolve the problem, try replacing the cable or terminals or both.
Finally, the problem could be caused the battery itself. If the battery is too old, chances are it won’t be able to hold the charge properly. Older batteries tend to drain faster, especially if you take frequent short trips. The only solution in this scenario is to replace the battery.
“There are several other reasons why your car battery might be drained. Extreme weather changes can also impact your battery. Having a battery that won’t hold a charge and keeps dying can be frustrating, especially when the problem is not obvious. A qualified technician will be able to run a diagnostic test to help identify the cause,” concludes Smit.