One of the major elements that we focus on in our Defensive Driving Course is safe driving. Even so, it’s important to regularly review important rules for staying safe on the road, and below are 10 practical tips to keep in mind before you get behind the wheel:
1. Don’t drink and drive
Not only can drinking and driving endanger yourself and others. The blood alcohol level is irrelevant, JUST DON’T DO IT. ONE IS TOO MANY TO BE DRIVE. If you’re under 21 one sip is too many whether or not you’re driving.
2. Don’t speed
Speed kills, and according to research from the European Commission on Mobility and Transport your likelihood of being in an accident increases by 4% - 5% for every mile per hour faster that you drive.
3. Avoid distractions while driving
Many states throughout the United States have passed laws which forbid the use of mobile phones while driving, meaning if you’re caught texting your friends or checking Facebook while behind the wheel you could face penalties, fees, or even having your license suspended. Not to mention the increased likelihood of a serious or even fatal accident.
4. Wear your seatbelt
Even in low-speed crashes an unbelted passenger or motorist could be sent through the dashboard, side window, or even through the windshield, resulting in broken bones, lacerations, and even death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 70% of fatal crash victims between the age of 13 and 15 weren’t wearing seat belts.
5. Don’t tailgate
“Tailgating” refers to following another motorist too closely and puts both yourself and the other driver in danger.
It can be difficult to judge the distance between two cars while in a moving vehicle. Practice the “three seconds rule” by finding a stationary object on the side of the road (a tree, bench or sign are good options) and trying to maintain a three-second window between when the car in front of you passes an object and when you do.
6. Practice defensive driving
Defensive driving involves behaviors such as avoiding tailgating, not speeding and planning your routes before you leave. Some of these tips are covered in this article, and others are covered in our Littleton Drivers Ed course.
7. Plan ahead
Planning ahead can help you determine the best route to your destination, cut back on stress, and help you stay calm behind the wheel. Use a map to determine the best route to your destination before you leave and give yourself enough time to get there without speeding.
8. Maintain your vehicle
It is important to keep an eye (and ear) on your car so you can take it to a mechanic for any servicing that it may need. Regularly checking your tire pressure, listening for clanks or rattling, and having your oil changed can go a long way toward keeping your car on the road and keeping you safe inside it.
9. Pay attention to other drivers
Other motorists can be just as dangerous as distracted or impaired driving, and it’s critical to be mindful of what’s going on around you while driving. Pay attention to your rearview mirrors and keep an eye on side streets and back lanes as you’re driving.
10. Be cautious during bad weather
Driving below the speed limit can save your life in times of bad weather, such as heavy rain or fog, and taking your time to assess your surroundings can help prevent skidding, sliding, or unexpected collisions or accidents.
If you’re able to keep these points in mind, you will be safer on the road, and will be able to enjoy many incident-free years behind the wheel. Be sure to sign up for our summer driving course to help you along.