Car safety and safer roads, combined with decades of public information on safe driving have helped to greatly reduce the number of car accidents, but these numbers could still decrease.
Here are the top ten tips for safe driving to keep you, and other people on the road, safe.
10) Don’t Drink and Drive
This seems like a given, but each year over thirty percent of auto accident fatalities involve a driver who was under the influence of alcohol. Those deaths could have been prevented.
Even at low levels, intoxication lowers inhibitions, affects decision making, and reduces reaction time and coordination. At higher levels, alcohol can cause blurry or double vision and even loss of consciousness. Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal as well as dangerous. Don’t do it.
9) Obey Speed Limits
Speeding puts you at a greater risk for accidents. Studies have shown that you are 4-5% more likely to crash with every mile per hour your drive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that over 31% of fatalities were speed related crashes. That’s a lot of lives that could have been saved by obeying the speed limit.
8) NO Distractions
Distracted driving is dangerous. This includes using your cell phone, adjusting the radio, eating or applying makeup while driving. Many states have laws against distracted driving. These distractions interfere with the driver’s attention, causing slowed reaction times which leads to deadly crashes.
7) Don’t Drive while Drowsy
Some studies have shown that 20% of accidents have a drowsy driver as a factor. Even being a bit sleepy can increase your risk of accidents. Some drivers report falling asleep at the wheel. Driving drowsy could lead to disaster.
6) Buckle Up, Every time!
You have heard it a thousand times. Seat belts save lives. It’s true. When worn properly, seat belts protect you during a crash. The prevent you from being thrown around inside the vehicle or ejected during a crash. NHTSA statistics show that more than 50% of all accident fatalities were people not wearing a seatbelt. That number is staggering. Buckle up, and make your passengers do the same.
5) Be Cautious in Hazardous Conditions
Rain, snow, fog, sleet, and icy roads all present dangerous driving situations. Always be cautious in these conditions. Drive slower than the speed limit, maintain a good distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, and always take extra precautions during curves on the road.
If you are uncomfortable in the driving conditions, ask someone with more experience to drive, or find a safe place to wait out the storm. If you ever lose visibility of the road and end up in the ditch, turn off your vehicle lights. Other drivers may use your lights as a guide for where the road should be. If they don’t realize you are stopped, and off the road, a collision could occur.
4) Avoid Tailgating
Keeping a safe distance between your car and the one in front of you can help you avoid collisions. This extra space gives you time to react if the car stops or turns suddenly. Experts recommend using the “three second rule”.
The three second rule works like this. Find a stationary object on the side of the road, like a sign or utility pole. When the vehicle ahead of you passes the object, begin counting seconds. You should get to at least three seconds before your car passes the object. As you gain experience, this will become natural and you will be able to maintain this safe distance without having to count.
3) Pay Attention to Other Drivers
No matter how safely you drive you always have to pay attention to other drivers. You can obey all the laws and still have someone crash into you. The only real way to handle this is to be prepared for anything. Expect sudden stops, swerving, tailgating, unpredictable or unsignaled lane changes and turns and every other bad driving behavior you can think of.
There is no way to list them all. Common examples would include: be prepared for other drivers to not stop at a stop sign, even when you have right of way. Don’t trust turn signals when you are pulling out into oncoming traffic. Always remember to check your mirrors and be away of what is happening in front of you and on the road around you.
2) Defensive Driving
Can you think of a time when another driver made you really angry? Maybe they cut you off on the freeway or drove too close behind you. This is considered aggressive driving and it causes accidents.
Defensive driving means staying calm during frustration traffic issues. Aggressive drivers may use rude language and gestures, tailgate, honk, or flash their lights. Staying calm will help prevent accidents in these situations. It may also help save you money since some insurance companies give discounts to drivers who complete a defensive driving course.
1) Maintain Vehicle Safety
Maintaining your vehicle is important. It helps to extend the life of the vehicle, but it also keeps your vehicle safe. Most states require an annual safety inspection, but it is important to maintain the vehicle in between inspections.
A common issue is improper tire pressure. Tire pressure that is uneven, too high or too low can cause a blowout which could cause an accident. It is important to keep this checked and maintain a correct tire pressure.
Another essential aspect of your car’s safety is the breaks. If you notice any issues at all when breaking, you should have your breaks checked by a mechanic as soon as possible.