For many people, driving becomes second nature and we often start to overlook, or become lax about, many safety precautions. It’s important to always be on alert and to never get too comfortable behind the wheel.
Avoid Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents out on the road. It leads to a lot of property damage, injuries, and even death. Remind yourself not to do these things behind the wheel.
- Don’t text and drive.
- Don’t check social media while driving.
- Use hands-free options to make a phone call.
- Don’t eat or drink while driving.
- Don’t reach down into the floorboard or behind your seat while driving.
- Turn down the radio.
Anything that takes your attention off of driving and the road in front of you counts as distracted driving. Either way until you get to your destination or pull off the road and handle things.
Pay Attention to Your Vehicle
Your vehicle will let you know when something is wrong - but it’s up to you to take it seriously. Get your car into the mechanic if you hear strange noises. Is your drive bumpier than usual? You may need to have your vehicle looked over. Don’t ignore warning lights. Sometimes it’s a simple fix like closing your gas cap or adding more fluid. But it could become a bigger issue over time.
Watch the Road
Your eyes should be on the road the whole time. But you already knew that. Here are a few other things to watch while you’re driving.
- Keep your eyes open for pedestrians and people on bicycles.
- Watch out for motorcycles. Give them space on the road.
- Don’t tailgate. Give yourself at least a two-second buffer between you and the person in front of you.
- Obey all traffic laws!
- Use your mirrors while driving. Make sure you know who’s around you. Look before you cross into another lane.
- Slow down in bad weather as the roads can be slick and visibility low. It’s better to arrive five minutes late than not at all.
Pay Attention in the "Zone"
There are two zones that get ignored by drivers who are too comfortable behind the wheel - school and construction zones. In both areas, the risk of real danger to innocent pedestrians is high. Slow down for both. Pay attention to speed limit signs. Stop for school busses picking up and dropping off children. Stop for crossing guards and kids walking to school. Imagine it’s your child going to school or your spouse working in the construction zone.
We all know what to do behind the wheel, but we get comfortable and slack off. The best way to avoid accidents is to focus on what you’re doing every time you drive. You don’t have to answer that text message now and tailgating someone has never really gotten you anywhere any faster. Be safe out there.