Whether you’ve just bought yourself a brand-new SUV or are considering swapping your current car for something larger, it’s worth noting that you may need to adapt the way you drive to accommodate the change in size.
With larger vehicles comes longer stopping distances, more blind spots, and less manoeuvrability. This means it’s important to gather some experience driving a bigger car as soon as possible in order to minimise the risk to yourself and other road users. We discuss four essential safety tips below.
Use both your camera and your mirrors
Larger vehicles typically have more blind spots, so it’s important to identify where these are located. Minimise these blind spots by positioning your mirrors farther out so that you can only see a slither of the car’s side.
With many vehicles like the Hyundai Tucson being designed with parking cameras, it’s never been easier and safer to reverse. This is particularly beneficial for larger vehicles, where your view of behind may be restricted by the body of the car.
Leave more space
With a larger car, you can expect to take up more room on the road. However, roads are usually designed to accommodate vehicles of all sizes, so don’t feel tempted to steer too far left or right as this could cause issues.
In situations where the path is clear, aim to stay in the middle of the road. For narrow lanes, counter the increased risk by driving slower and keeping a more central position on the road, pulling over only when safe and necessary.
The same goes for pulling out of a junction or into a parking spot. Don’t assume that there’s plenty of space between you and another car, wall, or barrier. If you don’t have the luxury of park assist, you’ll need to be accustomed to these differences quickly to prevent accidents. Always check your wing mirrors and get out to look if unsure.
Read the vehicle handbook
Getting to grips with your vehicle isn’t always intuitive. Your car likely comes with a variety of technology and safety features so it’s vital to read the vehicle handbook to identify these and learn how to use them.
For example, lane keep assist ensures you remain in your lane and helps to prevent drifting. Additionally, blind spot monitoring notifies you when a vehicle appears or is approaching your blind spot.
Take it slow
Larger vehicles are much harder to handle and aren’t designed to make quick, sharp turns. Make sure to slow down around corners and on curved roads, as well as during adverse weather conditions.
Additionally, your stopping distance will be much longer due to the vehicle’s increased weight. In the case of a crash, the impact will also be much more significant. Giving yourself and others plenty of space and time to react can help to reduce the chances of serious accidents.