10 Tips for Safe DrivingEvery year brings more advances in technology and safer cars. Modern cars are much safer than ever before, but even with safety improvements, it’s still important to be a safe driver. There are still millions of car accidents every year, and car accidents are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 3 and 34.

Whether you’ve just gotten your license of you’ve been driving for years, we’ve put together this list of 10 driving tips that will improve your driving.

1)     Don’t Drink and Drive

This is common sense, but more than 30% of all fatalities from car accidents caused by drivers who are under the influence of alcohol. If you’ve had something to drink, just have a friend drive you home. It’s just not worth the risk.

2)     Don’t Speed

It’s easy to be a lead foot, especially in some of the sportier model vehicles. However, the statistics are eye-opening: for a simple drive across town, driving just 10 mph faster than the speed limit will only get you to your destination a few minutes faster… but your risk of having an accident rises by as much as 50 percent!

3)     Avoid Distractions  (put down that phone!)

There’s a reason that so many states are starting to pass laws banning cell phone use when driving. One study showed that the reaction time of a 20-year-old driver talking on the phone was equal to a 70-year-old-driver. It’s not just cell phones though – eating, changing the radio station, applying make-up or adjusting your GPS should be avoided. Anything that diverts your attention from driving can increase your chances of having an accident.

4)     Don’t Drive Sleepy

Many people don’t realize how much driving while dozy can affect your reaction time. A study done at Virginia Tech reported that 20 percent of all accidents have sleepiness as a contributing factor. If you’re drowsy, don’t think that opening the window and turning up the radio will help you fight it off. Your reaction time is drastically reduced when you’re sleepy, so have a friend drive.

5)     Wear your Seat Belt

The research has proven seat belts save lives. Estimates from the NHTSA show that more than half of all car accident fatalities were people who weren’t wearing seat belts.

6)     Drive Carefully in Bad Weather

When the weather is less than ideal, you should adjust your driving habits. Whether it’s rain, fog, snow, or icy roads, you should always take extra caution when driving in inclement weather. Stay below the speed limit, make sure there’s extra space between you and the car in front of you, and be extra careful around curves.

7)     Don’t Tailgate

Sure, it’s easy to express your frustration with a slower driver by riding up on their tail, however this could quickly cause an accident. You’ve got to be sure that there’s enough space to allow for your reaction time should the car in front of you stop or turn suddenly. Follow the “three second rule” – watch for a stationary object on the side of the road, and start counting seconds as the car in front of you passes it. At least three seconds should pass before your car passes the same object.

8)     Pay Attention to Other Drivers

You can be the safest driver in the world – but that doesn’t protect you from other drivers. The best thing to do is to assume that every other driver on the road is a bad driver. Keep an eye on your mirrors and the cars around you at all times – you can’t predict what other drivers might do.

9)     Drive Defensively

This goes hand in hand with assuming that every driver other than you is a bad driver. Instead of being an aggressive driver that bullies every other car on the road, stay calm and drive defensively. Avoid the road bullies that drive recklessly. Keep plenty of space between you and the car in front of you, drive the speed limit, and yield to other cars. Yes, it might take a few more minutes to get where you’re doing, but you’ll drastically reduce your chances of being in an accident.

10) Keep your Car in Great Shape

Proper vehicle maintenance doesn’t just help your car to last longer – it’s a major safety issue as well. One of the most common maintenance issues that leads to a wreck is tire pressure. Over-inflation or under-inflation can lead to performance problems and even a blowout. Your brakes are also extremely important to safe driving. Follow the basic maintenance guidelines in your owner’s manual and stay up to date on maintenance tips by reading our blog.

 

Now that you know these 10 safety tips, you can drive with confidence. While it may not be the quickest way to arrive at your destination, following these tips will help ensure you get there safely.