4 Driving Tips to Keep You Safe on the Road
Cars today make defensive driving easy. Safety features like rear cameras and collision warnings, which used to only be available in luxury models, now come standard in even the most basic cars.
This is why it’s surprising that the number of accidents actually increased in 2015 and 2016, before declining slightly in recent years.
These statistics make it clear that no matter how experienced you are, you cannot rely solely on your vehicle’s features to keep you safe. If you want to avoid accidents and the headaches that come with them, you need to make safe driving a priority.
Fortunately, the safety tips below are sure to help keep you out of harm’s way while you are on the road. If you want even more safe driving tips, skip the list and go right to the source: our free Safe Driving guide.
1. Give yourself enough time
If you have ever attended a safe driving school, you probably heard that the easiest way to be a safe driver is just to drive calmly. That might be hard to do, however, if you’re worried about running late to where you are going.
Whether you are on your way to work, a doctor’s appointment or some other commitment, the best way to make sure you are not in a rush is to give yourself enough time. When mapping out your route, be sure to add at least a 10-minute buffer.
Make sure you give yourself enough time to get ready and always use an app like Waze to help you figure out the fastest route.
The last thing you want is to get slowed down by a car accident, a lane closure or highway construction. This will just stress you out and make you more prone to distractions, aggressive driving and accidents.
2. Keep your eyes where they need to be
This tip should go without saying, yet every year the leading cause of car accidents is distracted driving. In fact, the increased attention we give to social media could help explain why accident rates are not decreasing by much even though cars have become better at detecting collisions.
There are a few safe driving tips you can use to make sure you are keeping your eyes on the road while you’re driving:
- Put your phone on “do not disturb” mode or toss it into the back seat.
- If you need your phone’s GPS, put the phone on a mount.
- Choose your music or other audio entertainment ahead of time.
- Ask passengers to help you respond to messages.
Even great drivers sometimes feel the urge to check their phones at a red light, but save yourself potential issues and just leave it alone until you reach your destination.
3. Drive defensively
When it comes to staying safe while driving, following the rules of the road is not enough. You may be able to control yourself and your vehicle, but you are not in control of other drivers. This is why it’s important to drive defensively.
You cannot always assume that other drivers will follow traffic rules or take the necessary steps to make sure they are not distracted while driving.
Defensive driving will keep you aware of your surroundings at all times and so you are ready to alter your driving depending on those around you.
If you notice that a car is swerving, for instance, be sure to give it space to avoid coming into its path.
Likewise, if your lane is advancing quickly and the lane next to you is not, be alert for impatient drivers who may try to get into your lane by cutting you off
Driving carefully is half the battle. The other half is keeping in mind that other drivers may not do the same
4. Be a safe driver and check your rage
Apart from traffic jams and sudden car problems, there are few things more frustrating than dealing with selfish drivers when you are on the road. Feeling upset or enraged is normal and not always something you can control. You can, however, control how you react to those feelings.
Here are a few safe driving tips to remember when other drivers test your patience:
- Remember: You don’t know where they are headed. It’s possible that the drivers who cut you off just want to get home faster, but it’s also possible that they are rushing a sick pet to the vet, responding to a family emergency or even having a panic attack. Try not to take their actions personally.
- Don’t let careless drivers pull the strings. Even if you’re certain that the careless drivers around you are just being jerks, remember that reacting badly will only give them the power. Don’t allow someone else to take your decisions away.
- Lower your expectations. If you drive during rush hour and expect to be treated fairly and respectfully by everyone around you, then you will be disappointed. Get in your car remembering that not everyone will drive well and take the rest in stride.
Being a safe driver is as much about your mindset as it is about your habits. Even if the tips above do not come naturally to you, doing your best follow them will eventually make safe driving a habit.
If you want parallel parking tips and even driving test tips you can use at the DMV, be sure to check out our free Safe Driving guide.