Many people hit the streets every day, but that doesn’t mean that driving is always safe. When you’re behind the wheel, safety should be your top concern. You should always practice safe driving techniques, but it’s easy to get into bad habits. Here are some tips to help you observe good driving habits and protect yourself from other drivers on the road.
Tip #1. Focus on Your Driving
We’re more distracted than ever, with GPS devices, mobile phones, children, radio stations, billboards, and hundreds of other things vying for our attention. It can be a challenge to limit these distractions, but eliminating the distractions that you can is helpful. Place your cell phone out of reach. It’s even better if your silence it or turn it off. Program your navigation before you begin to drive, and always pull over to make adjustments. Wait until you’re stopped to adjust the radio or your music. If you’re talking to a passenger, don’t be afraid to stop the conversations so you can concentrate.
Tip #2. Use Defensive Driving Techniques
If you don’t know what defensive driving is, it’s time to learn. Defensive driving is the driving technique that is used to help drivers stay ready for anything. “Expect the unexpected” should be the motto of all defensive drivers. You should always be aware of the other drivers on the road around you and on the lookout for hazards. Assume that other drivers will do something crazy and be ready to avoid them. Always have 3-second cushion between you and the driver in front of you. You can calculate your follow distance by waiting until the vehicle ahead for you passes a stationary object on the side of the road. One they do, begin to count the seconds until you pass it. If it is less than 3 seconds, back off and allow more space. If the weather is poor, double this time.
Tip #3. Slow Down
Speeding is one of the leading causes of fatal accidents, and causes many accidents every day. Speeding allows you less time to react to other drivers and hazards. It also can cause you to take other drivers by surprise, and cause them to collide with you or other drivers. High speeds can also make an accident far more serious. The physics of a collision mean that the forces enacted on a driver increase exponentially with greater speed. This means that minor accidents become major accidents when high speeds are involved.
Tip #4. Plan Your Trip
Take the time to prepare for your trip ahead of time. If needed, schedule time for rest breaks, food, phone calls, or refueling. Take the time to stop and eat, rather than continuing to drive and eat. Don’t let yourself become stranded by failing to stop for gas regularly. Adjust your seat and mirrors as needed before you begin your trip. This can help you to avoid endlessly adjusting your mirror and taking your attention off the road. Not only will this keep your attention on your driving, but it can also mean a much more comfortable trip.
Tip #5. Slow Down for Bad Weather
Poor weather can be especially dangerous to drive in, so it’s important to take extra precautions while driving in it. Darkness, rain, snow, sleet, and even strong winds can challenge drivers and create unsafe conditions. When driving in less-than-optimal weather, slow down and take your time. Speeding gives you less time to react, and you may not be able to respond to hazards in time.
Tip #6. Follow Safe Practices
There are dozens of little habits that can add up to making you a much better driver and prevent accidents. Always secure cargo that may move around or fall off of the vehicle when it’s in motion. Sudden weight shifts can cause you to lose control, and falling objects can cause other drivers to get into accidents. If an item falls to the floor, don’t reach for it until you are parked. Keep needed items within reach, such as toll fees and garage passes. Finally, you should always wear your seatbelt, and never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Not only are these actions legally required, but they can greatly contribute to your safety on the road. It is also important that your passengers are always properly secured. This includes children, who should be seated and secured in the appropriately sized and installed car seat. Avoiding accidents is important, but a negligent driver can still cause a situation where even the best drivers can be involved in a collision. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s careless driving, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Toledo car accident attorneys. At Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A, we have more than a century of collective experience to draw from as we guide you through every step of your case.