Driving is something that millions of people do every single day, and when you carry out the same action so regularly, it’s easy to forget just how significant it is. For people with years of experience, driving can start to feel like a simple, mundane activity, but the truth is that every time you take a seat behind the wheel of your car, you have to remain focused and alert; your life could depend on it.
Statistics show that there are approximately six million auto accidents on America’s roads each and every year. In those accidents, countless people are injured and hospitalized, a huge majority suffer both mental and physical effects, and some tragically lose their lives entirely. And it’s not only bad drivers that get into accidents; plenty of safe, sensible drivers can get involved in these dangerous situations too.
You might simply find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, for example, sharing a road with a reckless driver who puts you and your passengers in danger, or you could find yourself involved in an accident caused by dangerous conditions like icy roads or strong storms. You might also make a small and simple mistake that turns into something much bigger, like looking at your phone for just a second and failing to stop in time to avoid a collision with the car ahead.
In short, it’s important to understand that there are a lot of risks out there on the roads, and every journey, long or short, should be approached with the same high levels of caution, care, and concentration. This guide will go over some top tips to help you drive safely and reduce your risk of getting into any kind of accident.
Always Take it Seriously
One of the simplest keys to safe driving is to always take the act of driving seriously. This means that even if you’re heading to the local grocery store to pick up some essentials and know the road like the back of your hand, you should still control your car with the same high levels of care and caution that you would use if you were setting off on a long road trip across the state.
Auto accidents can happen anywhere and at any time, so even if you’re driving along a road you know very well, you have to remain focused and attentive, as you never know when a reckless driver might appear or when the circumstances around you might change in unexpected ways, leaving you dealing with the aftermath of an accident, having to worry about injuries and contacting car accident lawyers.
Keep Your Distance from Others
Another essential rule to follow when it comes to safe driving is to make sure you always keep your distance from the car in front of you, as well as any cars to the left or right if you’re on a multi-lane highway. On the road, distance is a sign of safety, as having some extra distance between your vehicle and the next could be enough to help avoid or at least minimize the severity and safest way to dealing an accident.
Too often, drivers get into the bad habit of tailgating one another. This is especially common in urban environments where traffic levels can get quite high, but if the car in front of you needs to come to a sudden stop, you’ll be highly likely to collide with it if you’re driving too close behind. Keep a safe distance at all times and increase that distance in rainy or icy conditions too.
We’ve already spoken about the importance of remaining focused and attentive when driving in order to stay safe, and it’s especially vital to try and avoid any kind of distractions in your car that could take your focus away from the road. Distracted driving causes thousands of fatal accidents, year after year, and it only takes a split second of inattention for those accidents to happen.
There are many possible distractions in your car. Your phone is one of the most obvious examples, and a lot of people say that they do use their phones while driving from time to time. Try to avoid this common mistake. Turn your phone to silent mode and only use it when you’ve safely pulled over. Minimize the risk of other distractions too like car radios and GPS devices by setting them up before you start to drive, rather than on the road.
Consider a Safe Driving App
It’s clear to see that using your phone while driving is not a smart idea, as phones can easily take your attention away from the road around you, and you might be so busy looking at your Facebook feed or typing out a message that you fail to notice someone stepping out in the street or a car coming to a sudden stop ahead of you.
However, there is a way in which you can use your phone to your advantage: by installing and using a safe driving app. There are many of these safe driving apps out there, and a lot of them are totally free too on both iOS and Android devices. They can help in lots of different ways by muting your notifications, tracking your driving performance, issuing helpful alerts, and more.
Respond and React to Changing Weather Conditions
The weather can have a huge impact on your safety while driving, and it’s important to be able to react and respond when the weather starts to change. When the rain begins to fall, for example, your brake distances and times will be increased, so you’ll need to start keeping greater distances between your car and the car in front, as well as reducing your overall speed.
In snowy and icy conditions too, it’s wise to reduce speed and consider adding winter tires to your vehicle, if you have them, and even when the sun is shining brightly, the glare can get in your eyes and impair visibility, so make sure you’re sitting comfortably and using sunglasses or a visor of some kind to help you see clearly.
You might already consider yourself a safe and sensible driver, but there are always little adjustments and improvements you can make to be even safer. Follow these tips to avoid accidents and set a good example to others on the road.