Being a safer motorist should always be your top concern when you are behind a wheel, whether you are alone, or with someone. It’s crucial to know the basics of safe driving (also known as defensive driving) and practice them when you are on the road.
Defensive driving can keep the road safer for everyone, save you time and money, and help you navigate in any traffic conditions. Driving around the city can be very stressful, especially during the rush hour, but defensive driving can make it a more enjoyable experience. It’s not difficult to remember these few tips, and you won’t regret following them.
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Slow Down on Wet Roads and in Bad Weather
This is the most sensible thing to do when you are facing bad weather conditions such as snow, rain, or fog. Make sure your tires are in the best shape possible and that they have good air pressure. Avoid tailgating and breaking during the turn to avoid a spin-out if you are on a wet road. If on top of it, you are surrounded by a dense fog, it can become difficult to judge the distances and you may get disoriented.
All these causes can lead to an accident, so make sure you concentrate and drive slowly. If you need to pull over and wait – just do it. It’s a much better idea than risking your safety. Never try to overtake in such conditions. Here are a few extra tips for driving in bad weather:
- Always wear a seat belt
- Keep your radio on low volume
- Keep your lights on
- Change speeds gradually
- Increase your following distance
- Pay attention to your dashboard warning lights in extreme temperatures
- Remove the ice and snow from your rooftop to keep mirrors and windshield clean
Avoid Distracted Driving
There are so many potential distractions while you are behind the wheel. Many things (e.g. cell phones, other passengers, GPS devices, etc.) may pull your attention from the road. But remember that it only takes a few seconds for a crash to happen.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents. In fact, 9% of fatal crashes in the past few years involved distracted drivers, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Try being extra careful, and never talk on the phone or text while driving; even avoid eating or lighting a cigarette. It’s always better to pull over and take a break. Remember that safety comes first.
Resist The Need For Speed
Maybe higher speeds make you feel excited and free, but following the speed limits is a must!
Many people drive at a speed similar to the cars around them but you don’t have to follow them and speed just because other people are doing so. Never feel pressured to drive faster by the others around you. Just move to another lane, or pull over to let them pass.
Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
Avoid alcohol or any substance that might impair your response time. It is known that alcohol affects your thinking, muscle coordination, and reasoning, but it also decreases your ability to make safe choices.
Driving with alcohol in your blood is illegal in most countries, but think about other substances, such as marijuana and other drugs that impact your brain in a similar way. Please don’t forget about over-the-counter and prescription drugs that can make you sleepy.
Always Wear a Seat Belt
Seat Belts can really save lives! Make sure you buckle up before you start your car and make a habit of it. It’s easy to get distracted and forget about it, but try to concentrate every time you sit in your car. Seatbelts are the most effective ways to reduce injuries when an accident happens because they don’t allow you to be thrown around or out of the vehicle during the crash.
Don’t Drive When You Are Tired or Don’t Feel Well
Drowsy driving, or driving when you are fatigued can be very dangerous. Did you know that sleep deprivation can affect your body the same way as drinking too much alcohol? Many people don’t even recognize that they are too tired and they believe they can push through a long drive. If you close your eyes just for a moment, it can cause tragic consequences.
When you are planning to drive overnight try being cautious and prepared. Have a lot of naps the day before so you can feel fresh and concentrated. It’s always a good idea to travel with somebody that won’t be sleeping either so you can talk, listen to music and have fun. This should keep you awake, but if you suddenly feel low on energy – pull over, take a nap, drink some coffee and continue driving when you feel ready.
Protecting yourself and others from accidents and injuries is the most important thing to think about when you are driving. Make sure you are safe, responsible, and concentrated while on the road and that will make your driving enjoyable and stress-free.