Driving safely is extremely important, not just for yourself but for everyone else on the road. By following some key tips and being aware of hazards, you can greatly reduce your risk of being in an accident. In this article, we will go over the top 7 tips all drivers should follow to stay safe behind the wheel. Putting these into practice can help make you an excellent, responsible driver.
The most basic rule of safe driving is to follow all posted speed limits and obey traffic signs/signals. While it may sometimes feel inconvenient to drive at the speed limit, especially when others are driving faster, staying within the limit greatly reduces your chances of receiving a ticket or getting into a collision. Allow extra time for trips so you don’t feel rushed to speed. Also, make complete stops at stop signs, wait your turn at intersections, and avoid illegal maneuvers like making U-turns where there are signs prohibiting them. Following the law isn’t just safe for you but makes the roads safer for everyone.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents, many of which can easily be avoided. Distractions include cell phone use, adjusting music, eating/drinking, dealing with passengers, and taking your eyes off the road for any non-driving task. If you need to do something that takes your attention away from driving, first pull over safely to a parking lot or side street. Also, adjust mirrors, music, climate controls, and your seat before getting on the road. Ask passengers to help with any tasks so you can keep focused. By minimizing distractions, you’ll be a more alert, safer driver.
Defensive driving involves not just watching your own actions, but being aware of other drivers, pedestrians, animals, and potential road hazards. Look ahead and scan for possible dangers like debris, stopped cars, merging lanes, or bad weather. Keep a safe following distance so you have time to stop. Be prepared to brake or steer away if another driver makes an error. Avoid aggressive maneuvers like tailgating, speeding, or frequent lane changes. By driving defensively, you can prevent many accidents caused by others.
4. Check Your Vehicle Regularly
One of the easiest ways to prevent accidents is to ensure your vehicle is in good working order through regular maintenance and checks. Look over your car before road trips and have it serviced based on manufacturer recommendations. Check fluid levels, lights, windshield wipers, tire pressure and tread, and all other components. Repair any issues promptly, especially those affecting safety like brakes or tires. Don’t ignore warning lights or strange sounds from your car. With routine checks and service, you can avoid breakdowns or failures on the road.
Safe driving also involves planning and preparation before you even start your car. Check your planned route ahead of time using maps or GPS so you know exactly where you are going. That way you won’t be scrambling to check directions or re-route yourself once driving. Know the approximate drive time accounting for traffic and route hazards. Give yourself plenty of extra time so you don’t feel rushed. You can also plan where you might stop for food, gas, or rest breaks. Having a plan ahead of time allows you to focus solely on driving once on the road.
Part of safe driving is developing good habits over time. This includes always using your turn signal, checking mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes, properly yielding right-of-way, parking within lines in lots, and using your seatbelt every single time. Also form safety habits like locking doors in bad neighborhoods, not leaving valuables visible, and being aware of surroundings when getting in/out of your car. Making safety your autopilot means you’ll do the right things without having to think about it.
However, if you still get involved in an accident due to another driver’s fault, contact a St. Petersburg auto accident attorney.
Finally, it’s critical to always stay focused and avoid drowsiness while driving. Make sure you are well-rested before a trip and stop to rest or switch drivers if you feel sleepy. Take breaks every few hours to stay sharp. Avoid driving late at night when you’re likely to get tired. Keep the temperature cool and play stimulating music to help stay alert if necessary. Don’t drive at all if you’ve had any alcohol or medications that may impair your judgment or reflexes. Staying focused at the wheel should be your top priority.