There are many ways to increase your chances of driving safely in this current weather. Even if you’re a skilled driver, there’s nothing wrong with improving your safe driving habits. Beyond preventing accidents, driving safely protects you from convictions and increased insurance payments sometimes.
Follow these ten tips on how to be a safe driver:
1. Don’t drive under the influence of intoxicants
Never drive under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicant. Every year, over 30% of car accident fatalities result from drunk driving. Alcohol and other stimulants cause blurry vision and affect your body functions and coordination skills.
Drunk driving distorts your emotional state and affects your ability to make driving decisions. You also put yourself and other drivers at risk when you drive under the influence. It’s illegal and could land you in prison.
2. Stick to speed limits
Sticking to the speed limits is a very important tip on how to be a safe driver. Speed zoning exists to put drivers in check and prevent collisions. Without speed limits, some drivers will choose random speed rates that could cause accidents. Speeding in low-limit areas is dangerous to pedestrians and other vehicles as well.
Even if you’re in a hurry to get to your location, consider that you’d be less likely to get into a car accident if you maintain the speed limit.
3. Keep your tail lights on during dark hours
Although headlights and tail lights only come on at night, knowing the right time to use them can help you drive more safely. Many drivers find night driving challenging because it’s harder to see during darker hours. However, it’s okay to put on your lights during the evenings with limited light.
To protect your safety, make sure you get new and functional taillights for your car. Clean your tail lights before driving at night to observe your blind spots and help other drivers note your vehicle in traffic.
4. Use seat belts
Seat belts protect you and can save your life during a car crash. The force of impact during a collision can be strong enough to eject a passenger from their seat into the windows or windscreen. This usually results in fatalities.
Seat belts save lives and keep you seated and secure during car crashes. Buckle up at all times and ensure all passengers in your vehicle do the same.
5. Don’t text and drive
That email, phone call, and text message can wait. Don’t text while driving for any reason. One of the best ways to be a safe driver is to avoid distractions like these. Drivers must remain alert and clear-headed to make safe decisions on the road.
If you have to use Google Maps or other navigation systems, map out your destination before heading out. Handling the car’s GPS while in motion confuses you and takes your eyes off the road. Keep both hands on the wheel and put your phone in drive mode until you arrive at your destination.
6. Observe other drivers and practice defense driving
Obeying speed limits and road signals only protect you to a certain extent. However, other driver’s actions could put you at risk of an accident. Another driver could crash into your vehicle from another lane.
To prevent this from happening, stay alert and observe other drivers in traffic. Stay prepared for sudden swerves and random lane switching. Don’t trust that every driver will follow stop signs. However, don’t drive aggressively in response to this.
Remain calm and practice defensive driving. Aggressive drivers angrily flash their lights or swerve in response to another driver’s decisions. You’d be putting other drivers and yourself at risk if you react emotionally.
7. Keep a safe distance between you and other cars
As mentioned above, prepare for the worst while on the road. Take this to the next level by keeping a safe distance between you and other vehicles. This space prevents a collision if the car in front of you comes to a sudden stop in the middle of traffic.
Use a three-second rule, where you count to three to measure the distance after the car ahead moves past an object.
8. Don’t leave out your car maintenance
While it’s important to follow every road rule and observe other drivers, the best way to practice mindful driving is to start with your car.
Don’t underestimate how car maintenance can prevent road accidents. Before driving, ensure there’s adequate gas in your car. Attend scheduled car inspections and follow a healthy maintenance routine. Keep your tires safe, clean, and motorable at all times. Ensure the brakes work fine and take the car for a check-up if they’re not up to standard.
9. Drive carefully during harsh weather
Winter months aren’t the safest time to drive. Heavy rain and snow cause fogginess and limit your vision of the road. During a weather storm, drive as carefully as possible and maintain a minimal speed limit.
Drive slower and keep your tail lights on to guide other drivers. Take extra precautions for curves and slippery roads. If you can’t handle the fog, ditch your car at home and take the bus or find a safe space to wait out the storm.
10. Avoid drowsy driving
Picture this; After a long day, you’re exhausted, sleepy, and ready to get home. But you dozed up while driving and suddenly woke up to your car crashed into a curb. Thankfully, no one got hurt, but it could’ve been worse if you were on the highway.
You can’t control nature and you could easily fall asleep while driving, especially if there’s a lot of traffic. Drowsy driving causes drivers to lose control of their vehicle and collide into other cars or objects. This could be fatal in extreme situations. If you feel sleepy, park your car safely and take a taxi. Otherwise, find a safe place to sleep and ensure you’re alert and fully awake before driving.