In the world, roughly 1.3 million people are killed every year in road traffic crashes.
No matter how cautious you are about driving, there will always be other drivers on the road.
You can’t account for other people’s reckless driving habits, but you can do your best to minimize the damage if an accident happens. This is why driving safe is a must – you’ll need all the focus, attention, and skills you can muster when you get behind the wheel.
Have you been trying to figure out how to drive safe? Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know.
1. Don’t Text and Drive
There is a growing epidemic of texting while driving. Some of the major accidents are caused by ignoring the sign “Don’t Text and Drive”. So, it is very important to avoid being distracted behind the wheel for driver safety.
Putting your phone away is the key and you can do this by getting it out of your sight or out of your mind. If your phone is in your lap or plain view, it’s harder to resist the temptation to check it.
The solution is to set up a system by letting your passengers know, or anyone who you think will contact you, that you’re not going to be available to respond to texts or calls while you’re driving.
If you must have your phone nearby, invest in a hands-free system so you’re not tempted to pick it up. Pull over if you need to respond to a text or call.
2. Stay Alert and Rested
When driving, be aware of your surroundings at all times. Defensive driving means staying alert and watching other cars on the road, as well as pedestrians and obstacles. Pay attention to the road and be prepared to brake or swerve if necessary.
Remember to use your mirrors and signal before changing lanes. Always yield to oncoming traffic when turning. Go to sleep early if you think you will be driving the following day. Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep a day. Consider taking a nap before driving long distances.
If you are already on the road and you feel tired, take breaks. When driving long distances, take a break every two hours or 100 miles. Get out of the car, walk around, and stretch your legs.
Having coffee or drinking energy drinks can help keep you awake, but their effects are only temporary. If you’re feeling drowsy, it is best to pull over and rest. Make sure you pull over to a safe place like, for example, police stations or any place that is well-lighted or with security cameras.
After you are well-rested, you can now resume driving to reach your destination.
3. Follow the Speed Limit
To drive safely, you should always follow the speed limit. Some vehicles nowadays are equipped with an intelligent speed assistant. Speed limits are there for a reason, and it is important to obey them to avoid accidents.
It is important to be conscious of the speed limit for the road you are on, as well as the conditions of the road. For example, if the posted speed limit is 35 miles per hour, but the road is icy, it would be prudent to drive slower than the posted limit.
Additionally, if you are driving in a school zone or residential area, it is important to be extra cautious and drive below the posted speed limit.
4. Use Extra Caution in Bad Weather
When the weather is bad, the chances of accidents go up. So it is important to reduce your speed and allow extra space between you and the other vehicles. Be watchful and scan the road for any hazards or obstructions.
Be awake, especially at night and in foggy situations, because your visibility at night is lesser compared to when you are driving during the day. Use your low-beam headlights instead of high beams so that you will not distract other opposing vehicles. It is also important to keep your windshield and windows clean for a clearer view of the road during bad weather.
Don’t use cruise control during bad weather, for this can cause your tires to lose traction, especially on slippery roads. If you do start to skid, take your foot off the gas and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.
5. Don’t Drive Under the Influence
Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is estimated that one in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime. Drunk driving is preventable and can be avoided to keep you and others safe on the road.
If you are drinking, make sure you do not drive. Plan and designate a sober driver, or call a taxi or Uber. If you can’t avoid drinking, spend the night where the drinking is taking place.
Don’t let a friend who has been drinking drive, instead drive for your friend. If you see a drunk driver on the road, do not hesitate to call the police. Be extra cautious at night, as these are times when drunk driving crashes are more common.
In any case that you meet an accident, it’s the time you will need a lawyer. You may read more info here.
Drive Safe to Avoid Accidents
When operating a vehicle, it is important to drive safe to avoid accidents. There are many ways to be a safe driver, such as paying attention to the road, obeying traffic laws, and not being distracted. By following these simple tips, drivers can help make the roads safer for everyone.
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Wayne Probert is a senior reporter at Zobuz, covering state and national politics, and he is a grantee with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Before joining Zobuz, he worked as a freelance journalist in Kentucky, having been published by dozens of outlets including NPR, the Center for Media.