Just one mistake behind the wheel or a moment of distraction can prove disastrous. Sadly, more than 3 million Americans are injured in car accidents annually with another 42,000 killed according to the federal government. Avoiding becoming a grisly statistic starts with reviewing your driving habits. Manage these and you will do everything in your power to remain a safer driver.
Effectual Driving Habits
When was the last time you reviewed the sound habits of a safe driver? Likely, when you had driving school. Thus, it is important to review from time to time the best practices for behind-the-wheel safety.
Never get behind the wheel if you are upset or angry. Those feelings will impact the way you drive, making you an aggressive driver. If you have recently got into an argument, find a way to cool down for a few moments before you drive off. Then, do not think of those problems while driving.
Stay within the posted speed limits and you will decrease the likelihood of getting into an accident and one with terrible consequences. We understand: that the urge to speed is there, especially if you are running late. Instead, we recommend setting cruise control to manage your speed, reducing the chances of an accident or a moving violation. The only time we do not recommend engaging the cruise control is when the conditions are slippery. In this case, you will increase the chances of an accident if the roads are wet.
Keep Your Distance
Accidents are more likely to happen in high-trafficked areas in part due to congestion. While you cannot avoid “bumper to bumper” traffic, you can ensure that your vehicle has enough stopping distance to avoid accidents. Employ the “three-second rule” when driving on the highway. This means you need to count three seconds between you and the vehicle in front to allow for enough reaction time. Add a second if the roads are slippery. Double that time under the most challenging circumstances, such as ice and snow. Always avoid tailgating.
Make a Plan
GPS is your friend. Indeed, ever since the global positioning satellite network rolled out to replace maps, drivers had no excuse to find their destination. We recommend setting your destination before you head out. This means you will determine the best route before you start. Some plans, including those tied in with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, allowing you to adjust your route along the way. This happens if there is an accident reported en route. Here, you will be able to update your journey to avoid congestion.
Keep the Kids and Pets Busy
In-cabin distractions can come from anywhere, including your cell phone. Do not use the phone while driving or at least use an app to control incoming calls. There is a loss of cognition when talking and driving, therefore either pull safely off the road to chat or take the call later. If you have children or pets, they can be distractive as well. Keep your children occupied with books or movies on long trips or by playing games with each other while driving. Your pet should not be moving through the cabin either. Keep him fastened in a pet restraint. A treat such as a bone should keep him calm.
Don’t Drive Tired
Fatigue is your enemy, especially behind the wheel. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis evaluates the impact a lack of sleep has on drivers. Specifically, it can affect your coordination, judgment, and reaction time, which is known as cognitive impairment. The easy solution is to get enough sleep before driving. Or, if you have driven for a long distance, pulling over to get rest can recharge you. Studies have also shown that drowsy driving is similar to driving impaired such as under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Maintain Your Vehicle
A car that runs well will supply you with safer driving. This means paying attention to your owner’s manual to ensure all maintenance due items are handled. For instance, your tires should have enough tread remaining to bring your vehicle to a safe stop. Also, tires should be properly inflated. Rotate them regularly as well. The brake pads and calipers must be in ideal shape to handle the road ahead. Perform all maintenance tasks on schedule to avoid problems later.
Driving Habits Considerations
Lastly, reviewing your state’s driver learning booklet from time to time is wise. Typically, you will find a copy online, the same one that new drivers review as they evaluate the rules of the road.