Most people first got behind the wheel of a car when they were still teenagers. Regardless of how old you may have been when you started driving, it’s likely you’ve had a conversation with a loved one about the dangers of driving and how important it is to take certain precautions when operating a vehicle. There are the typical, run-of-the-mill tips that you may have rolled your eyes at as a teen, but there are some other less obvious pointers you can heed to ensure that your journey from point A to point B is a safe one.
1. Drive With The Right Mindset
Driving a car can seem a lot like riding a bike. After so many trips, you’ll eventually feel like you can operate it with your mind and body on autopilot. This is a massive misconception. It’s important to remember the gravity of every moment you are behind the wheel. Remember that you are driving a 2,000-pound metal machine.
Avoid underestimating the possibility of error, along with overestimating your ability to control the automobile in any given situation. If you get into an automobile accident, and especially if you’re injured, then you’ll need to file a claim, and you’ll need an attorney to help with your claim. Attorneys will ensure that whoever was responsible for the accident will be held accountable and that you get the compensation that you deserve.
Remaining calm is key in stressful traffic situations. Impatience or irritation often lead to aggressive driving, which can result in an accident. Some of these accidents are just fender benders, but some of them can be much more severe and can cause injury. Do not get into an argument. Just allow your attorneys to deal with the situation.
2. Be Aware
Always remain cognizant of your surroundings and conditions, such as schools, wet roads, and other drivers. There are many factors that could suddenly come into play while you’re driving, such as a child or animal walking into the road that forces you to swerve, an unseen puddle that causes you to hydroplane, or another driver that pulls out in front of you at the last minute. Remaining aware of all immediate areas and conditions around you will minimize the chances of you missing or reacting too slowly to something that could cause an accident.
3. Avoid Distractions At All Costs
Distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents. Distractions can be anything that takes the driver’s focus off the road, such as cell phone use, changing the radio, reaching for your coffee, or looking at another passenger. Cell phones affect driving so much that it’s illegal in many states in the US to use a one while driving unless it’s hands-free. However, even if you have a hands free device, it’s important to remember that the brain is a poor multitasker and can only provide optimal focus on one thing at a time, referring back to point two.
4. Do Not Drive Under The Influence Of Substances
With a daunting forty-percent of fatal car accidents resulting in death caused by drunk driving, it’s an essential tip to keep in mind. Don’t drive under the influence of any substances such as alcohol or marijuana. The risk is too big.
5. Take Extra Precautions During Bad Weather
Weather conditions can immensely affect your ability to control your vehicle. It’s a good rule of thumb to drive slower when experiencing these bad weather conditions, and in the worst-case scenario, pull over in a safe area until it passes. Always err on the side of caution. You can learn more about precautions to take in bad weather here.
6. Anticipate Poor Traffic Decisions
All drivers are human and subject to making poor judgment calls, especially if they’re in a hurry to get somewhere. Look out for red lights and stop sign runners. It’s a good idea to wait a couple of seconds after the light turns green before you proceed into the intersection. Also, always be aware that other drivers may not respect your turn of right-away and might move through the four-way stop before it’s their turn. It’s helpful to anticipate poor driving decisions as a whole when operating a vehicle.
7. Obey Traffic Laws
Lastly, always obey the traffic laws, as they are there for your protection. This includes and is not limited to wearing a seatbelt and traveling at the speed limit. Make sure you’re familiar with the laws in whatever state you’re driving in.
There are many rules to keep in mind while driving, but the number one thing that underpins them all is mindfulness. Keeping your mind geared towards the act of driving is just as important as keeping watchful eyes on the road. Remaining fully aware of things within your line of sight, and also anything that could come into play unexpectedly will keep you and others safe while you’re traveling.