Unfortunately, automobile accidents happen everyday. In this article, we will discuss 11 helpful tips to make sure you have an advantage in avoiding accidents and getting to your destination safely.
1. The most simple rule of safe driving, sadly often goes ignored: Always wear your seat belt! Life is unpredictable and driving without a seat belt even for a short distance can be very dangerous. Even if you are an experienced driver travelling on a road you know very well, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be other drivers on that same road who are inexperienced or easily distracted; you don’t want to suffer injury due to their mistake. One of the most common excuses for not wearing a seat belt is that the driver will be driving at a very slow speed. Even at the very low speed of eight kilometres per hour, a sudden stop can cause whip lash. By wearing a seat belt you can drastically lower your chances of whiplash or concussion if you need to make an abrupt stop.
2. Obey the speed limit. Although some drivers would like to believe that the speed limit was put in place to make their life more difficult, it is truly a rule meant to save lives. Plenty of testing goes into determining what is a safe speed for driving on any given road. If you find yourself running behind schedule, remember it is better to arrive late than to have an accident and never arrive!
3. Do everything you can to avoid being distracted. Before pulling out of your driveway find a radio station that you like to listen to, so you won’t be switching stations while driving. Adjust your air conditioning to a comfortable level before taking off, so there’s no need to be messing with air conditioning modules or air vents while driving on the road. Taking your eyes off the road even for a couple seconds could be detrimental to your safety or the safety of others. Waiting until you have arrived at your destination to eat, put on makeup, or send a text is a much better option than doing so while driving.
4. Distance yourself from other vehicles. Though we can’t control the actions of others, we can take precautions to not become a victim of their mishaps. By distancing yourself from other vehicles as much as possible, you can have a bigger safety cushion surrounding your automobile. You can more easily avoid crashing into a vehicle in front of you if they were to suddenly slam on breaks and by avoiding driving side by side with other cars, you can avert being side-swiped if another car were to come into your lane.
5. Be rested. Not having a proper night’s rest plays some of a role in the majority of car accidents that occur. Not having enough sleep will decrease how fast you react to the unexpected occurrences you may encounter. Being well rested also can help prevent road rage and highway hypnosis. If you feel yourself getting sleepy, pull off the road and take a quick fifteen to twenty minute nap. A small rest could be very crucial to your safety.
6. Backup carefully. Drivers often feel pressured to hurry up and vacate a parking spot as soon as they return to their vehicle. Sometimes its a self-induced pressure to rush, and other times it may be an irate driver of another vehicle persistently honking their horn because they want your spot. Whatever the case, it is best to backup slowly. Check your mirrors and blind spot before pulling out and be on the look out for drivers who might also be backing up at the same time you are. Be sure to check for pedestrians as well. It is better to take your time than to injury yourself or others by rushing.
7. Park in places that you feel comfortable entering and exiting. Be realistic about your parking skills. If you are not an experienced parallel parker there is no shame in driving a little farther to find a spot that you can pull into and out of the way you are used to. If you are unsure if your car will fit in a tight space, take a little longer to find one you are positive you can confidently get in and out of without denting your vehicle or another person’s.
8. Leave ahead of time. Some of the worst driving mistakes made are due to rushed decision making. If you have an important scheduled meeting to get to, it is best to plan to arrive thirty minutes ahead of time. That way, if you run into traffic delays you aren’t tempted to drive at unsafe speeds or cut in between cars to hurriedly switch lanes. There’s no harm in showing up early if you don’t get slowed down by stop lights or traffic, either.
9. Reduce your speed when the weather and environment are not ideal. Rain is probably the most frequent weather condition that may warrant driving at a slower speed. Roads can become slick, and pot holes or dips in the road can hold water causing you to hydroplane if you are driving too fast. Paved streets are often the most slippery when rain first begins to fall. Oil from cars falls down and dries up on the roads over time and the rainfall causes it to liquefy once again and can make the roads slippery, even when driving on tires with good traction. Rain also reduces visibility, so by slowing down you give yourself more time to react to the traffic around you.
10. Be aware of your surroundings. Before taking off for a drive, make sure your mirrors and seat are adjusted so that you have the best view possible when utilizing your rear and side view mirrors. Even with them being in the best position, you will still likely have a blind spot. It’s the main reason why you need to check your rear view and side view mirrors even when you are moving forward and not backing up. This will alert you to other drivers that may be outside your field of vision before changing lanes. Having your radio at low level will also be helpful in making sure you arrive at your destination safely. You want to make sure you can easily hear police and ambulance sirens, horns honking, and train horns so that you can prepare yourself for what is coming up, even if you cannot see anything yet.
11. Take a few minutes to research a destination you are unfamiliar with. These days many drivers rely heavily on global positioning systems to guide them to their destinations and although they are extremely helpful, they are not always 100% accurate. By taking a few minutes to go online and confirm exactly where your destination is located, it can save you some anxiety and help keep your eyes on the road. The GPS may say your destination is .5 kilometres on the left, but if you did your research you might could identify a landmark that would clue you in to the exact location. Instead of taking your eyes off the road for a longer period of time trying to estimate where . 5 kilometres from you is, it would be better to positively be able to say, “Alright, there’s the shopping center I saw online. The dentist’s office will be in there.” No frantic searching for the correct place means you can focus on driving more safely.
We hope you find these driving tips insightful and wish you safe and happy travels!