Driving is safer than ever. Over the decades, technological advancements such as seat belts, collision avoidance systems, and adaptive cruise control have resulted in fewer auto accidents. Heavy investment in public campaigns and safety education has also equipped generations of motorists with the information they need to keep themselves and other people safe. However, thousands of people still die in auto accidents every year.
All the safety advancements in the world won’t matter if we don’t consider the human element of driving. Cars don’t drive themselves (at least not yet), and people are why auto accidents happen. If we want to make our roads and communities safer, all motorists should follow safe driving practices. However, there’s no shortage of instruction, and you can easily get a 6-hour defensive driving course online.
Driving safety education is best started while young, and beginner motorists need to learn the basics of safe driving early on. Here are a few pointers to get you started.
Have your car serviced
One of the best ways to improve driving safety is to keep your car in good condition. Technical issues can quickly become a safety issue, so it’s important to catch small problems early. If you’re having car troubles, take your car to a trusted mechanic so they can conduct an inspection. Afterward, they will recommend procedures and upgrades to keep your car safe and secure.
It also helps to do some manual checks yourself. For instance, one common culprit of car crashes is a blown tire. If your tires aren’t maintained at the same pressure, or if the pressure is outside the safety limits, it could lead to an explosive blowout. You can easily buy a pressure gauge at any automotive parts store. Consult the service manual for the recommended tire pressure for your specific model.
Assume everyone is a bad driver
All the traffic rules and safety guidelines only work if everyone follows them. You only need one bad driver making the wrong decisions to cause a traffic jam, or worse, an accident. It pays to be proactive and assume that everyone around you is a bad driver. Make sure you’re trained to respond to poor driving habits such as swerving, sudden stops and lane changes, and tailgating.
Preparation requires a keen awareness of your surroundings, so always check your side and front mirrors for oncoming motorists. Make it a point to scout intersections and junctions for other cars. Lastly, look a few cars ahead of you so that you know what’s happening.
Safe driving is all about being cautious and showing respect to other motorists. For instance, tailgating is a dangerous tactic that must be avoided at all costs. Not only is it rude, but it can also endanger your life and the lives of nearby motorists.
It’s important to keep your distance from other cars so you’ll have enough time to react if the car ahead of you makes a sudden stop or turn. As a general rule, maintain at least two seconds of space between you and the next care.
Here’s how it works. Look for an object on the side of the road, such as a fire hydrant. Start counting once the vehicle ahead of you passes the object. It should take you at least two seconds to pass the same object. Anything less, and you’re tailgating. Eventually, you won’t have to rely on visual markers to maintain the minimum safe distance.
Drive with caution in inclement weather
Many roadway accidents occur in bad weather, such as a blizzard, downpour, or heavy fog. Driving in inclement weather will require all of your safety knowledge, so you need to be cautious at all times. One slip-up could have disastrous consequences. Among other things, you need to slow down and maintain at least three to four seconds of distance.
If the weather takes a turn for the worse, it’s best to find a covered parking area or shelter somewhere safe. Hypermarkets are always a safe choice since there’s ample parking and you can wait out the storm inside the building.
A final word
These pointers can increase your chances of a safe drive. Every time you’re on the road, make sure to obey all traffic laws and to follow safe driving practices. Taking a proactive stance against bad drivers helps prevent traffic accidents as well.