Safe driving can literally be a life saver but it can also save you a ton of money and stress. Follow our 10 best driving tips to make the most of your driving experiences.
Maintain your vehicle
Your vehicle can’t take care of you if you don’t take care of it. This includes oil changes, tires and all regular car maintenance. Deferred maintenance and repairs can prevent your vehicle from responding the way it should. Brakes are crucial for stopping quickly. Proper tires can help you stay on the road. Maintenance can be expensive, but it is a critical component in keeping you safe.
Follow best practices in the vehicle at ALL times
This goes for you and your passengers. Examples of good practices include wearing your safety belts each and every time as well as making sure passengers are wearing theirs. In addition, make certain your littlest passengers are secured in car seats or booster seats as their weight and height dictate. If you have questions about the best type of seat for your child, reach out to your local fire department and see if they have appointments for car seat installations.
There are a million different ways we invite distractions into the vehicle with us. Screaming children, a blaring stereo, phone calls, eating, and applying makeup are all contributors to dangerously distracted driving. Some people enjoy taking pets for car rides and end up with a dog or cat underfoot while driving. Other people think that they will take advantage of commute traffic to catch up on their reading. These activities all lead to a lack of attention and possible delayed responses which can cause a car accident.
Check the weather
While emergency equipment in the car such as water, blankets, and a radio are always a good idea, preparations should also always include checking the weather. Some states now have websites that allow you to access traffic cameras so you can see the condition of the roads in real time. Snow, fog, ice, high winds, monsoons, and haboobs are all important weather conditions that you should be aware of ahead of time so you can plan accordingly.
The best offense is a good defense
To truly drive safely you need to be aware of what’s going on around you. This includes looking ahead for traffic that may have abruptly stopped and checking your rearview mirror regularly to see what’s happening behind you. Also, be aware of people beside you. Driving in someone’s blind spot is never a good idea and if someone is driving erratically or aggressively, make a concerted effort to simply get out of their way.
With more drivers on the road than ever, it is important that you stay calm and collected. Some road rage incidents have had tragic outcomes. If you encounter someone tail gating you, yelling or otherwise being aggressive, get out of the way. Do not engage in these types of encounters. If necessary, get off the road somewhere public and safe, such as a local police station. While these types of situations can be scary, you need to stay calm and stay focused on safely removing yourself from the situation.
Some days, it is hard to get enough sleep in the best of circumstances. Regardless, you cannot be exhausted and be safe in the driver’s seat of a car. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can cause similar impairments to drunk driving. Speaking of which…
Don’t drink and drive – ever
This should not need to be said and yet, “every day, almost 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes—that’s one person every 50 minutes in 2016”. Driving while under the influence impairs your vision, reflexes and decision making skills making drunk drivers much the most dangerous people on the road. Drunk driving accidents are preventable and tragic. Please, don’t ever get behind the wheel while impaired.
Obey the law
Pay attention to speed limits and avoid careless habits like tail gating. Leaving enough space between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you will give you enough time to stop abruptly if needed. Maintaining a reasonable speed gives you the opportunity to stop or slow down as needed as well. Make sure that you have a valid driver’s license and enough insurance coverage and that you are following all the rules of the road as established by your state and lastly, almost all state has enacted mandatory car insurance so be sure to have one before going behind the wheel or suffer the consequences for not having one.
Give yourself enough time
Too many accidents are caused because people are in a hurry to get somewhere. Leave yourself enough time so that you are tempted to make poor choices on the road such as speeding or driving dangerously. Your life is simply not worth the extra five minutes.
While these tips are helpful and should be heeded for safety sake, there are simply no guarantees of accident-free driving. Make sure that in addition to driving as safely as possible you have all the necessary auto insurance in place to protect yourself in the event of an accident. With fines, the cost of repairs and plenty of uninsured motorists on the road, the risk of driving without car insurance simply isn’t worth it. The roads are getting more and more crowded; make good choices and drive with care.