How to Stay Safe While You’re Driving

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Stay Safe While You're Driving

Remember that nervousness you had when you were first learning how to drive? Hands-on the wheel at 3 and 9, sitting straight up, and eyes peeled for any possible threat?

This is the typical position for most people when they’re starting out as a driver. Over time, we begin to relax and become comfortable being behind the wheel. 

But many accidents happen because the driver took for granted his or her abilities. 

What Does “Safe Driving” Mean?

We don’t need to be extremely anxious when we’re driving, but we do need to remember those nerves we first had were for a reason. Driving is a serious privilege that can cause a lot of damage and possibly kill someone.

Safe drivers are sober and not under the influence of any chemicals, of course. There are other factors that go into driving carefully, though. 

To stay safe when you’re driving, follow these essential tips.

1. Seatbelt First

As soon as a student driver gets in the car to take their driver’s test, they have to put their seatbelt on. If not, they lose points immediately.

Although a lot of people argue about the necessity of wearing one, the statistics show that seatbelts save lives. If you don’t wear one, you can be ticketed, and you’re more likely to be injured in an accident.

Whether it’s your preference or not, you should always wear a seatbelt to increase your chances of being safe on the road.

2. Don’t Multitask

We’re living in a world where the ability to multi-task is usually seen as a good thing. When you’re driving, though, it takes your attention from the road, where it’s supposed to be.

Have you ever been so into a phone call while you were driving that you went right past your turn? Your mind isn’t fully on what it’s supposed to be focused on. It’s paying attention to the conversation.

Try to get everything situated before you put the car in drive. Settle your music or podcast, adjust your mirrors, and put your phone on Bluetooth. Try not to take any calls, even if your state allows it. 

The less you multitask, the safer you and everyone else on the road will be.

3. Practice Defensive Driving

Being on the defensive can have negative connotations, but it’s a good thing with driving. It means that you’re aware of the other drivers, pedestrians, and objects. You know anything can happen at any time, and you’re alert so you can try to avoid the unexpected.

With defensive driving, you also keep a safe distance, at least two seconds, behind the car in front of you. If you’re driving in bad weather, double that to four seconds.

Offensive driving, on the other hand, is often accompanied by road rage. Drivers switch in and out of lanes carelessly, usually without a turn signal. 

They follow the car in front of them too closely and cause accidents because of their recklessness. In fact, this type of driving is the main reason for many personal injury lawsuits. 

4. Plan Ahead

If you aren’t in a rush, there’s no need to drive carelessly. Making a plan before any trip, especially a long one, helps you stay safe behind the wheel.

Start your drive early, allowing plenty of time for other traffic, stop lights, and minor traffic jams. Include gas, rest, and food stops if you know you’ll need them.

Don’t eat or drink behind the wheel. Pull over at a gas station, rest area, or another safe place. That way, you’re not distracted from the road in front of you.

5. Keep a Clean Car

Clean cars don’t just look nice. They’re actually important for safety reasons.

Anything that can slide and roll around on the floor of the car can end up under your brake or accelerator. When you need to use a pedal in a hurry, it may be obstructed.

Moving objects can also be projectiles in a collision. You could survive the impact unharmed, then be hurt by a forgotten water bottle that hit you at full speed.

No one wants to be injured by a toy dinosaur or other embarrassing object. Keep your car clean, and if you drop something while you’re driving, leave it there or pull over to get it.

Anything you need to have your hands on easily should be stored in a place that’s accessible without the need to take your eyes off the road. Toll money, garage door openers, and other items can be kept in a cup holder or storage pocket.

Conclusion

Driving safely doesn’t always mean that you’re sober and clear-minded. Follow these tips, and, of course, never drink and drive. You’ll be safer, and so will everyone else driving when you are.

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