It’s easy to become complacent when you’re driving, especially if you’ve been driving for many years or you’re only going a short distance. You know how to avoid car accidents, you just need to drive in a way that reflects that knowledge.
And, unfortunately, even if you’re doing everything right, you need to be aware of the risk that other drivers pose.
Check out this guide to 10 driving safety tips to keep you safe on the roads and make sure you arrive alive.
1. Make Sure Your Car Is Safe
Keeping up to date with regular maintenance on your car is not only important for extending its life but for car safety in general. Your car will naturally degrade and undergo wear and tear every time you drive it.
Being safe on the roads includes driving a car that is road-worthy and won’t contribute to causing an accident. The tires should be replaced whenever they are very worn and the tire pressure checked. Do regular oil and water checks, too. Make sure your lights work well for night driving and that your windscreen wipers are adequate so that your visibility is never impaired.
If you hear strange noises or think there is something wrong with your car, get it checked out by a professional as soon as possible.
2. Always Use a Seatbelt
This is without a doubt one of the most important safe driving tips. You’ve heard it a thousand times and it’s true: Seatbelts save lives. You should always buckle up — even if you’re only driving a short distance.
Don’t become complacent and always ensure everyone in your car is buckled up too. When you put on a seatbelt as you get in the car you cut the risk of fatality in half.
3. Keep Calm on the Road
You are in control of a powerful vehicle and the minute that you lose your cool on the road you become flustered and distracted. This leads to bad driving, accidents, and road rage incidents.
If you want to know how to drive safely, you need to work to avoid road rage and remain cool, calm, collected in stressful situations. When you have a clear head you can make safe and practical decisions on the road which will keep you, and others, safe.
4. Never Multi-Task
It goes without saying that texting and driving is extremely dangerous. In fact, around 26% of accidents are caused by people using their cellphones while driving — that’s 1.6 million accidents.
But it’s not only texting and driving you should avoid, it’s all multi-tasking. Don’t use the time to apply makeup or eat breakfast. Your number one focus should be on the most important task at hand: Driving.
6. Practice Defensive Driving
Defensive driving means being aware of what other people are doing on the road and preparing for the unexpected. Always assume that the worst is going to happen, that another driver is going to do something unpredictable, so that you’re prepared.
Another important aspect of defensive driving is keeping at least a 2-second cushion between you and the car in front of you. This should be an even greater cushion in bad weather conditions.
7. Don’t Drink and Drive
This includes avoiding drinking under the influence of any substance. Every day around 28 people die in drunk-driving accidents in the United States. Driving under the influence dramatically reduces your coordination. Even a couple of glasses of wine or a few beers affect your ability to drive.
If you’re driving, opt for a soda when you’re out with friends. Otherwise, call a taxi.
8. Obey the Speed Limits
Speed laws are there for a reason. You know the saying: ‘Speed Kills.’ Unnecessary speeding is a massive cause of road accidents and pedestrian deaths. It’s important to remember that getting somewhere quickly is not as important as your, or someone else’s, life.
When you’re speeding you have less time to react and it increases your risk of a severe accident.
9. Avoid Driving When You’re Tired
Have you ever been driving and felt your eyelids become heavy? Driving when you’re drowsy is extremely dangerous as even falling asleep for a split second can result in a serious accident.
Avoid doing long trips without any breaks, or driving after a sleepless night or all-nighter. Be aware that there are medications that cause drowsiness as a side effect. If you’re taking prescription medication, look out for this.
10. Be Extra Cautious in Hazardous Conditions
Bad weather conditions such as rain, snow, fog, sleet, and icy roads increase the risk of accidents ten-fold. When you’re driving in these conditions it’s imperative that you follow the rules of the road, keep focused, and practice defensive driving.
In these conditions, you should drive slower than the speed limit, keep a good distance away from the car in front of you and be careful when taking corners. If there is heavy rain or hail, for example, pull over somewhere and wait a little bit to see if it eases up.
Always Follow These Driving Safety Tips When You’re on the Road
If you follow these driving safety tips and stick to safe and defensive driving, you can avoid accidents and keep yourself safe. It’s important to never drive under the influence of alcohol or other substances, avoid driving when you’re drowsy and don’t multi-task.
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