What makes a competent driver? Think back to your days in driving school. Your driving tutor probably told you that driving comes with responsibility and accountability. Driving your car may seem like a typical event, but it's likely the most life-threatening activity you will do every day. In the USA, car accidents make the top five causes of death for most people.
Your odds might be even higher depending on where you reside and your car model. Whether you're a professional driver or just finished your driving lessons, there's always room for improvement. You must drive your car safely to protect you and other road users. Here are tips to keep you driving happy.
Keep your eyes fixed on the road! Driving is a thinking task, and you have many things to think about when you're driving: your speed, road conditions, road users (pedestrians and motorists), signs, road markings – the list is endless. If you're not keen and attentive, car accident lawyers in TX say you may have a lot on your table should you encounter an accident. Car accidents are mainly caused by distractions, such as using your phone, eating, or talking with a fellow passenger. These make a driver unable to see potential problems and react to them.
2.Look and Plan Further Ahead
If you're looking at the vehicle ahead, you have no clue what's happening further up the road. Scanning the road up for a few seconds gives you more time to prepare and react to dangers. This helps you avoid nose-to-tail accidents where you crush into the back of the vehicle ahead of you. Additionally, it saves you fuel and curbs wear and tear on your brakes. How? By scanning the road ahead, you're able to avoid instances of emergency braking.
3. Follow Traffic Lights
Traffic lights can be annoying, especially when you're running late for something. But, running a red light is dangerous. Other motorists expect you to stop, and when you don't, it creates a recipe for disaster. Move when the traffic light is green, stop if it's red, and slow down when it's yellow. Don't succumb to the temptation to speed up for a yellow light – you're putting other road users in danger. If you cross an intersection after the light turns red, oncoming motorists won't expect you and may join the intersection.
4. Don't Be an Angry Driver
A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that eight in ten American drivers demonstrate hostile behavior when driving. Experts say men top the list in speeding and being aggressive. “Red-light running, overspeeding, and cutting other motorists off can cause accidents, and even worse, death,” explains Jake Nelson, Director, Traffic Safety Advocacy & Research, AAA National Office. “Driving when you're angry isn't worth the risk. Try and be patient, calm, kind, and obey traffic rules,” explains Jake.
5. Always Buckle Up
Many drivers tend to ignore buckling up. However, car accident fatalities can be prevented if drivers wore seat belts. According to the National Safety Council, a seat belt lowers your risk of injury in a crash by 50%. For instance, between the years 2004 and 2008, over 75,000 lives were saved by seat belts. Research shows that those likely to wear seat belts are rural drivers, teens, drunk drivers, and truck drivers. Don't take buckling up as a commonplace duty: view it as a life-saving mechanism.
6. Proper Wheel Positioning
For many decades, instructors taught students how to keep their hands on the steering wheel. One popular position was placing your hands at the 10 and 2 positions on the clock. However, these guidelines have changed. You're now supposed to keep your hands lower, either 8 and 4 or 9 and 3. These positions offer you more stability and control when driving. Additionally, it's the most ergonomic position to hold your hands for a long period.
7. Avoid Weaving Between Lanes
If traffic is moving slowly, impatient drivers will try to gain an edge by switching between lanes. The truth is, the lanes almost always move at the same speed. When you switch between lanes, traffic slows down. If every driver stayed in their lane, traffic would flow much faster. How? Typically, when you change lanes, you cause the vehicle behind you to brake, and the one behind it, and so on. This means every driver slows down in that lane because of you.
Obey the rules of the road and be polite to other drivers. Also, remember no distraction is worth your life. Practice safety 24/7 while driving. You can also take a defensive driving course to sharpen your driving skills. This helps you learn about new guidelines introduced to road users. Finally, have fun, be responsible, and stay safe!