Being a safe driver involves both careful observance of the rules of the road and careful observance of other vehicles in traffic. Even the safest driver cannot always avoid getting into an accident, but with defensive driving and general caution, you can greatly reduce your chances of being in an accident.
Here are 10 general guidelines to follow when trying to improve your driving safety record:
1. Stay Focused On The Road
It is too easy to become distracted while driving, especially if you aren’t in the car alone. Kids, pets, and other adults can easily have you paying attention to them instead of the pavement in front of you. Never mind how distracting it can be to be switching the radio, adjusting the mirrors, digging through your bag, and all the other things we tend to do in the car.
Remember that when you slide behind the wheel you are undertaking a huge responsibility — keeping yourself and others safe.
2. Staying Alert Is Just As Important
You didn’t sleep well last night. You recently changed shifts, and your internal clock hasn’t quite caught up.
No matter the reason, driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving while impaired! Don’t get behind the wheel when you are feeling anything but wide awake. No amount of caffeine or cold air is going to keep you awake and focused for the long run.
3. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
A great driver is one who is constantly scanning. It doesn’t mean that you have to turn your head from side to side the entire time, but it does mean that you have to be aware of what is going on outside your vehicle.
Be conscious of what other drivers may be doing. If you are driving through a neighborhood, stay vigilant for children. If you are driving through a rural area or down a back road, know that a wild animal could jump in front of your vehicle at any moment.
4. Don’t Tailgate
Your greatest risk of a collision is, believe it or not, a rear-end one. Some experts recommend always being able to see the tires of the vehicle in front of you touching the pavement. Others recommend that you can see the rear license plate. Still, others recommend a 3 to 4-second distance between you and the car in front of you (easily counted using utility poles or trees). No matter which school of thought you subscribe to, the greater the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, often the better!
5. Follow The Speed Limit
Has anyone ever told you that you have a lead foot? Maybe they’ve reminded you that speed limits aren’t suggestions.
Studies are conducted to determine the safest speed for the road conditions and areas that you are traveling through. It’s also easier to control your vehicle at lower speeds. If you have a habit of going 5 or 10 miles over the speed limit no matter where you are, slow it down.
6. Don’t Get Blocked In
This is sometimes easier said than done but leave yourself an out. The easiest way to avoid a potential road hazard is to have somewhere to move. Attempt to drive in such a way that you can always move to the left or right if the road in front of you is suddenly blocked.
7. Anticipate Mistakes Others Might Make
The biggest factor in avoiding accidents is predicting them right before they occur. If you see someone rolling up to a stop sign when they should be slowing down, take an extra moment to observe them before proceeding. They may very well blow right through the sign — and into you!
Another common situation is that a pedestrian or another vehicle may be completely oblivious to you. Wait an extra moment before maneuvering around or in front of them, just to see if they are going to enter your path of travel.
Taking an extra second and thinking about the mistakes people commonly make when driving carelessly can go a long way towards preventing an accident — even if it is one that would have been entirely their fault!
8. Always Maintain a Cool Head
Give everyone on the road a bit of grace. Remaining calm helps you stay focused and prevents you from making unsafe, rash decisions.
Consider that others on the road have their own things going on. That slow driver in front of you may be taking their infant home for the first time. The person who didn’t use their turn signal may be a teenage driver who is still learning.
We all get aggravated behind the wheel, but let’s try to extend the same thoughtfulness we would want someone to give us. If you have somewhere to be and time is of the essence, leave early. Don’t rely on traffic cooperating to get you there on time, and remain patient even if things don’t go as planned!
TonaLaw Are Your Advocates When You Are Injured
If you are injured in a Long Island accident, we are here for you. At-fault drivers must be held accountable for their actions — or mistakes.
If you were injured as the result of a driver’s negligence or reckless behavior, you have the rights to compensation that we are here to protect. Call 1-833-TONALAW, contact us online, or reach out to us at [email protected]. As our client, you are put first, and our attorneys will fight for your rights vigorously. You may feel like you are alone right now, but we promise, you are not.