Driving a Sports Car or Convertibles? 5 Things You Can Do To Improve Safety
Posted by: Lydia on 3/04/2018
Driving was always designed to be fun. Sure, having a driver’s license comes with some rules, but ever since we exchanged the horse and carriage for horsepower, car fans have been grinning from ear to ear while getting from A to B. And there are few ways to have more fun than driving a sports car or convertible.
These vehicles should deliver a thrill, but they should also be driven with safety in mind, and fortunately, the two aren't mutually exclusive. Here’s a look at 5 ways you can relish your ride while also staying safe in the seat.
1. Adjust your driving style to the car
Driving is fairly standard across most vehicles, but sometimes driving styles need to be adjusted depending on the type of car you’re driving. For instance, it’s easy to accelerate too fast in a zippy speedster if you’re not familiar with how fast they can be, which could cause an accident.
With any new car - but especially a fast sports car - it’s always a good idea to take some laps around a quiet neighbourhood before putting it on the freeway so you have time to become acclimated to its features and quirks. This is particularly a good idea if you’ve spent the last decade driving a sedan or station wagon.
The same concept applies to convertibles. For example, it can actually be unsafe to drive a convertible in a lightning storm. They can also be more prone to vandalism. So just be aware that you may not be able to drive your convertible wherever you want, whenever you want. If stormy weather is in the forecast, you may want to drive your SUV instead. The same holds true if you’ll need to park your convertible in a less-than-safe area when you arrive at your destination.
2. Invest in good tyres
As you prepare to get behind the wheel of your cool ride, it’s important to check those tyres.
After all, a new transmission and a finely-tuned engine won’t prevent a skid if your tyres are worn and torn. Good tyres are important for every vehicle, and speedsters are no exception. Whether you choose performance tyres or a regular set, ensuring your tyres are in tip top shape is vital to the safety of your vehicle.
In fact, if you’re regularly using a sports car or convertible for long road trips and highway drives, it’s extra important to keep a close eye on the tyres, as wear and tear can occur faster when driving on a variety of different surfaces. And speaking of different surfaces...
3. Be extra-mindful of your surroundings when driving top down
Few Aussies are going to be using their sports car for a bit off off-roading anytime soon.
We may be a rough-and-tumble bunch, but the majority of car fans have the good sense to leave Mad Max’s adventures on-screen. Nonetheless, as Holden recently discovered, our driving style does have something of a national quirk when it comes to gravel.
The fact that Aussies ‘keep good pace’ down a gravel road is one thing in a regular car or 4WD, but in a sports car it can become a safety issue due to the open interior. Even if you’ve adjusted your driving style, it’s important to be mindful of your surroundings at all times. Hitting a rubbish bin or bumping a tree branch with the roof of a sedan is annoying, but when driving a convertible, these things can greatly increase the risk of injury to you and your car.
4. Keep the roof up (especially in heavy traffic)
A rooftop cover may not offer the same level of protection as a permanent roof, but it can make a big difference when need arises. And while having the top down can be great on an open road, in peak hour traffic, it can be a really frustrating and potentially unsafe experience with all the noise and petrol fumes in the air - not to mention rocks or other objects that may end up inside the vehicle. If you find yourself driving in these conditions, be sure to put the top up to give you a buffer.
Having the top up can also be really important for personal safety. When driving a great sports convertible along a coastal highway on a sunny afternoon, it would be a crime to have the top up! But driving home late at night through the city? Keep that cover on for extra peace of mind when you stop at lights.
5. Consider a roll cage or roll bar
Does anyone actually ever plan to get into a crash car? Of course not. And no driver wants to think about serious accidents and rollovers when taking their convertible out for a spin on a beautiful day. But regardless, they’re still something that drivers need to be mindful of.
However you look at it, convertible roofs are weaker than those of regular cars. And if a serious crash occurs, the strength of your roof can have a big impact on your safety. That’s why adding in a roll cage or roll bar can be a really good move. The installation process can also be a ton of fun, with a variety of customisation options available.
Convertibles and sports cars excite for a reason: they are meant to bring a smile when driven.
And driving should be an enjoyable experience, especially as most Australians spend over 60 minutes in their car a day. But it’s also important to take proactive steps to arrive at your destination in the good condition you were in when you started your drive.
By adjusting your driving style, getting good tyres, keeping an eye on your surroundings, being wise about when you put the top up, and getting a roll cage or roll bar, you’ll be certain to maximise your safety. Once this is done, all that’s left to do is pick a good radio station, find an open road, and enjoy the wind in your hair as your cruise down the road.
What other safety tips do you have for driving a sports car or convertible? Let us know in the comments below: