Driving is a part of most adults’ everyday life, from commuting to and from work to chauffeuring kids to and from their activities. And road conditions are not always ideal.
But how do you remain safe when traveling in these conditions? Read on for 20 safe driving tips everyone should know.
Perform Routine Maintenance
Keep your car in good condition, and it will enhance the safety of all driving adventures.
Not only is a well-maintained vehicle less likely to break down and cause a road obstruction, but you will also be less likely to have a malfunction that seriously harms you or other vehicles.
Take your car in for regular maintenance and servicing to avoid potential road risks and possible accident damage to your vehicle. Keep all fluid levels full, the tires inflated, and check for working exterior lights every time you drive.
Knowing your route ahead of time is a good idea because it allows you to choose the best way to get to your destination. You should also ensure the vehicle has enough gas and other essentials to get to and from home.
Having a road safety aid kit is also a good idea to prepare for a possible accident or emergency situation if it comes to that.
Adjust in Advance
It’s important to prepare your vehicle for travel before starting out.
This includes adjusting the mirrors, car seats, and any indoor climate settings, ensuring you will be comfortable during the drive and have full access to pedals, the steering wheel, and other essentials (sunglasses, garage clicker, etc.) while on the road.
Always ensure that all vehicle objects are secured before you start driving. This prevents belongings from flying around the car should you brake suddenly, causing further damage or injury.
Always put your seat belt on properly when in a vehicle, and ensure that all passengers have their seat belts secured, particularly children who might need help.
Stay safe and prevent injured riders in an accident by buckling up your seat belt immediately.
Driving distracted is one of the top causes of accidents for motorists and is extremely dangerous, so a key way to stay safe in traffic is to avoid the risk of distractions.
One of the biggest risk behaviors for road accidents is texting and driving. Keep any cell phones safely stowed in the glove box or in the back seat of the vehicle to avoid the temptation of checking notifications or answering a message. And consider reviewing some tips on how to prevent texting and driving. Even if you have hands-free calling on your phone, don’t dial phone numbers into the device.
Further, avoid eating or drinking when behind the wheel. Not only does this take one of your hands away from the steering wheel, but your attention will be divided. Snacking or taking a drink should only be done when pulled off the road safely.
Other passengers in the car can also be a major distraction at times. Though it’s fine to have another person in the vehicle, make sure they are not altering your concentration away from the process of driving.
Follow the Posted Speed Limit
If you are running late and need to get somewhere, slowing your speed might seem annoying.
However, it’s important always to follow posted speed limits and respect the flow of traffic. These limits are in place for road safety and are extremely dangerous to ignore.
Obey Traffic Signals
Looking for traffic signals and obeying them is essential for driving safety tips. This includes coming to a complete stop at stop signs, respecting traffic lights, and slowing down for any changing yellow light you come upon—instead of speeding up.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Avoid driver fatigue by ensuring you get lots of sleep before getting into the car. Tired drivers will have less than optimal reaction times, poor judgment, and risk falling asleep behind the wheel.
If you are exhausted before a drive, it’s best to wait and complete your errands later on when you have gotten enough sleep and fatigue is no longer a hazard.
Be Mindful of the Weather
Inclement weather conditions can make driving much harder, so it’s important to gauge the weather before setting out in your car. If a storm is particularly bad, don’t be afraid to wait and complete the journey another day for your own safety.
If the weather turns while you are in the middle of driving, you can always pull off the road to wait it out. Just make sure you are pulled completely off the road and have switched on your emergency flashers to alert other drivers to your presence.
One of the best safety tips to keep in mind is predictability. It’s important not to make any driving decisions that might throw off other drivers—not using turn signals, changing lanes erratically, or making abrupt stops.
Keeping your eyes on the road is half the battle, but being aware and paying attention is crucial. Watch out for pedestrians, crossing zones, and any areas where you might need to slow down or stop completely to avoid an accident, and always expect the unexpected from other drivers.t.
Be Cautious of Stopped Vehicles
If you encounter any stopped cars along the roadway, it’s important to stay alert and exercise caution to continue driving safely. Try to change lanes to give the car plenty of room, or slow down when passing the other driver’s vehicle if that is not possible.
Keep Your Distance
It’s important to always keep enough distance between your vehicle and other drivers. This allows for reaction time in case something happens around you and you need to execute defensive driving.
Avoid tailgating, changing lanes without sufficient space, and obey the two-second rule of driving distance.
Don’t Drive Under the Influence
Many things can harm drivers, including alcohol, drugs, and even prescription medications. Make sure that your system is completely clear of these substances when getting into the driver’s seat for the safety of everyone on the road.
All drivers should exercise patience on the road no matter the situation, particularly when it comes to other motorists.
You cannot control their behavior on the road, but you can control yours. Getting mad while driving will only risk accidents and other dangers.
Keep your frustration in check and avoid letting yourself get angry when on the road. Don’t get physical or start yelling; take deep breaths, and try not to get too involved.
Say Thank You
When other drivers let you in or are accommodating on the road, it’s a good idea to say thank you. Just a simple wave or smile to recognize them contributes to an environment of healthy and communicative driving.
Prevent driver fatigue by scheduling breaks into your day if the drive takes many hours. Simply pulling over to stretch your legs or grab a coffee is a great way to keep yourself fresh and avoid feeling too tired.
Experts recommend taking a short break every four hours of being behind the wheel.
When the conditions require it, don’t forget to turn on your headlights to drive safely. Headlights are necessary at night and during bad weather such as storms or heavy fog, making it easier to see and be seen.
Yield the Right of Way
Pay attention to other drivers and their right of way, particularly when at a stop sign. It’s important to always yield to the correct right of way on the road, even if you are in a hurry.
And, when it’s your turn to proceed, be aware of other cars that might ignore the right of way and try to jump the line.