For those who are lucky enough to get behind the wheel, driving is one of the most intense privileges that can ever be bestowed upon a person. Indeed, operating an automobile is one of the most dangerous undertakings in existence, yet we also engage in this action on the daily basis. What’s more, with summer on the horizon, traffic increases drastically and thusly, so do accidents. Furthermore, driving puts you in charge of not only your own life, but also the lives of everyone you come across on the road. That being said, we all could use some tips and tricks to stay safe on the road- not only for the summer, but for every month of the year.
First thing’s first, before you even start that car, make sure you have good posture and mirror positioning. In other words, sit in a position that allows you to easily reach all pedals, the steering wheel, and makes the car easy to maneuver. Also, be sure to set all of your mirrors so you can easily see on the side as well as far behind your car.
Minimize Noise Distractions
For those who are unaware, all of our senses are connected. And whether you realize it or not, loud noises can impede your ability to focus on the road. Take fire/ police sirens for example: as soon as one is within earshot, you are automatically compelled to either pull over, or to visually locate what direction the siren is coming from. Similarly, having too much noise blaring in the background when you drive may cause you to focus more on what you’re listening to, than the road. What’s more, it may even prevent you from hearing the horns of other drivers, or even warning clinks coming from your own car.
Maintain a Buffer Zone
No matter what type of vehicle you have or what type of weather you are traveling in, it is always important to keep at least a car length (approximately 20 feet) between you and the car in front of you. Additionally, you the faster the speed, the more space you need in between your car and the one in front of you. You never want to be in position where you cause an accident because you don’t have sufficient time to bring your vehicle to a complete stop.
Take Precautions with Precipitation
In order to minimize the effects that slick roads have on your ability to travel, it is imperative to drive at slower speeds. Whether it’s rain, sleet, snow, or hail there is a very real possibility of hydroplaning (sliding uncontrollably), thus causing an accident; regardless of how big or small your vehicle may be. Furthermore, it’s vital to take extra special precautions when driving through icy or snowy roads as the potential to lose control of your automobile is significantly heightened.
Be Mindful of Blind Spots
No matter what make and model one has, every vehicle has many blind spots (areas in which your view is obstructed) which all leave the potential for accidents. Be careful when parking, turning, switching lanes, and all such maneuvers as these are often causes of unexpected accidents.
Stay Out of the Fast Lane
Regardless of how awesome your car is, driving at increased speeds always increases your chance of being in an accident. There are far too many unknown variable that can effect your commute, although it can be much more fun, driving at faster speeds merely reduces the amount of time you have to react to new situations and circumstances. Indeed, the common complaint when a driver has caused an accident is, “they came out of nowhere!”. This is obviously never the case, what’s much more likely is the possibility that they were going too fast and didn’t have enough time to stop the car before impact. Furthermore, always adhere to the speed limit. Regardless of how fast anyone else is going, being in the fast lane is no excuse to speed!
Don’t Gun it on Green
Though this issue isn’t commonly addressed, it is not a good idea to speed out into traffic simply because the light has turned green. There are bad drivers everywhere, and honestly, emergencies occasionally occur that prevent people from strict adherence to traffic laws. That being said, look both ways before driving out onto any street. Having the ‘right of way’ means nothing if someone is choosing not to follow the set driving rules. People run lights, stop signs, ignore speed limits, etc. on the daily basis. What’s more, there’s drunk, mad, and confused drivers on the road all over the world. To avoid being the unsuspecting victim of someone else’s bad driving, make sure you look both ways before you turn onto or off of any street, and are prepared to swerve or stop at any given moment!
No matter what type of vehicle you own, slacking on maintenance issues can cause serious problems on the road. Getting your car regularly serviced in terms of tune-ups, tire/ oil changes, brakes and rotors, and the like, is one of the best ways to ensure your vehicle is in good condition and minimize accident-causing malfunctions on the road.
Keep Your Eyes on the Road
This may seem like a no-brainer, but one look at the news and you will learn different. No matter if you’re texting or talking to the person next to you, taking your eyes off of the road for even the smallest amount of time, can lead to major accidents on the road. If there’s something going on that is distracting your attention from the road, the best thing to do is to pull over until you gain your composure.
Above all, driving is a serious responsibility that should never be taken lightly. Accidents happen, but adhering to these safety precautions can mean the difference between being a concerned onlooker, or the the main attraction in the massive wreck that everyone is standing around gawking at.