Getting behind the wheel of your automobile may appear to be a routine act, yet it is almost certainly the most risky thing you will do all day. Car accidents are the sixth largest cause of mortality in the United States. Depending on where you live and what you drive, your chances may be much higher, so make sure you’re insured with a low-cost car insurance policy.
Although you have no influence over the conduct of other drivers, you do have a lot of control over how you drive your car. That implies that by taking a few easy measures, you can improve your chances of having a safe journey. Here are twenty useful hints to keep you cheerful when driving.
1. Keep your attention on the work at hand.
Allowing phones, radios, air conditioning, kids in the backseat, or a passionate argument with your spouse to distract you from your responsibilities as a driver is not a good idea. Keep your eyes on the road and your car at all times. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers under the age of 20 are the most vulnerable to distractions while driving, with 11% involved in fatal collisions while distracted.
2. Expect other drivers to make mistakes.
Don’t put your faith in anybody but yourself.
3. Slow down.
According to the 2009 U.S. Census, 33,808 people died as a result of speeding. The faster you go, the longer it takes to come to a complete stop, and the greater the impact when you crash. However, follow the flow of traffic as long as it does not exceed the recommended speed limits.
4. Take advantage of safety devices.
Look for a vehicle with a good safety rating and a lot of air bags. Make sure your family has the proper kid restraints and seat belt adjusters, and don’t forget to use them. “Putting children in age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats decreases severe and fatal injuries by more than half,” according to the CDC.
5. Always, always, always buckle up.
By merely wearing a seat belt, many automobile accidents may be avoided each year. According to the National Safety Council, seat belts lower your chance of injury in an accident by 50%, and seat belts saved 75,000 lives between 2004 and 2008. Teens, rural drivers, inebriated drivers, and commercial truck drivers are the least likely to strap up.
6. When in doubt, yield.
If you’re not sure who has the right of way, take extra precautions. Give in if you know you have the right of way but another driver appears to disagree. It’s preferable to lose a little time than to get involved in an accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, males are more likely than women to fail to give the right of way, with a 1.5 to 1 ratio for ‘failure to yield’ offenses.
7. Stop on red
Running a red light is the top cause of junction crashes. It’s sometimes due to a lack of focus on the road. It’s sometimes caused by the setting sun’s glare. Sometimes it’s just a matter of being in a rush. The ideal strategy is to slow down and assess the situation before each junction. Never try to beat a yellow light.
8. Use your blinkers.
The enemy of safe driving is confusion. Make your lane changes and turns smooth and predictable, and always indicate ahead of time. According to Richard Ponziani, who performed a recent research for the Society of Automotive Engineers, “neglected or faulty turn signals cause 2 million automobile accidents nationwide every year.” If you fail to signal after an accident, your insurance claim will be invalidated, and you will be financially accountable for any damage you cause.
9. Let it go.
Road rage is more than an urban legend. Because you don’t know who’s behind the wheel of the car that just cut you off, it’s best to back up and ignore the violation. In all 50 states, road rage has resulted in the death of people for minor violations. Getting even might result in your death, as well as the deaths of innocent drivers in your neighborhood. Stay away from another motorist if you believe he or she is inebriated, and call the authorities as soon as it is safe to do so.
10. Keep a buffer between yourself and other motorists.
Tailgating causes rear-end crashes, which you will be responsible for paying for. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tailgating is responsible for one-third of all traffic accidents, which might be avoided with sufficient space. In ideal weather, provide at least two seconds of lead time; in severe weather, allow more.
11. Monitor your blind spots, and stay out of others’ blind spots.
Large vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, are especially vulnerable. If you can’t see the driver in the truck mirror, you can bet he can’t see you either. Accidents involving semi-trucks frequently result in the death of a vehicle driver.
12. Don’t drive drunk, buzzed, high, or low.
Even over-the-counter cold medicine might affect your response times, so be honest with yourself before opting to drive. One drink can only be metabolized every hour by the average drinker. 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits make up one drink. Stay away from the wheel if you are under the influence of any mind-altering substance. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 28 people die every day in the United States as a result of drunk driving accidents.
13. Adjust for rain.
Your braking times increase when the roads are slippery and wet, especially during a strong rain during the first thirty minutes of a storm. Disable cruise control. Make more room between your car and other vehicles. Slow down as much as you can. Learn how to recognize and respond to hydroplaning.
14. Prepare for snowy weather.
If you observe snow piling on the roadway, slow down and apply snow chains, but do not use chains on ice. Invest in winter snow tires if you live in a region where snow and ice are prevalent. If you think there’s ice on the road, switch off your cruise control.
15. Inflate your tires appropriately, and change them when they are worn.
Tires that are properly inflated are safer to drive, whereas blowouts can result in a complete loss of control.
16. Use headlights wisely.
When vision is hampered on twisting roads, in fog, rain, snow, or low light, switch on your headlights to ensure that you are seen. High beams should only be used in low-traffic areas, and they should be turned down for approaching traffic.
17. Maintain your vehicle.
Oil changes and fluid checks on a regular basis might help you avoid unexpected failures on the road. If your automobile breaks down on a crowded highway or interstate, the National Safety Council suggests pulling over into the breakdown lane if at all feasible. Always use your turn signals and keep an eye out for fast-moving vehicles. If you’ve parked far enough away from traffic, lock the doors and wait for assistance.
If you’re near to traffic, get out of the car and locate a safe location to stand away from the car’s side and back. If you can’t get to the breakdown lane because you’re stuck in traffic, get out of the car as soon as it’s safe to do so and wait for help by the side of the road.
18. Respond safely to tailgaters.
Add twice as much distance between your automobile and the car in front of you if someone is following you too closely. This improves your capacity to observe and react in the event of a collision. Then slowly and gradually reduce your speed to a level that is somewhat slower than the surrounding traffic, and try to shift into the right lane to let the tailgater to pass. Prevent slamming on the brakes unless absolutely necessary to avoid an accident.
19. Keep a steady pace.
Other drivers may have a difficult time anticipating your behavior due to sudden increases and drops in speed, abrupt lane changes, and surprising stops. Predictable behavior will help you avoid shocking others.
20. Look far ahead of your vehicle
Maintain a long view of the road ahead of you and foresee issues before they occur. Drivers who are unpredictable, sluggish traffic, junctions, and highway debris should all be avoided.
There are a variety of defensive driving lessons available both online and in your region. This is a terrific present idea for a young family member, or you may do it for yourself as a preventative activity.
Above all, make certain you’re insured by a low-cost auto insurance coverage.