Driving is a skill that takes time, practice, and patience to master. It's important to always be mindful of safety when behind the wheel, especially if you're a new driver. Here are 12 tips to help you stay safe on the road.
1. Drive the speed limit
Obeying the speed limit is one of the most important things you can do to stay safe on the road. Not only does it help you avoid getting speeding tickets, but it also reduces the likelihood of being involved in an accident.
In general, higher speed limits are set on highways and freeways, where there is more room for cars to maneuver and where traffic is typically lighter. Lower speed limits are set in densely populated areas, where there is more pedestrian traffic and where there is a greater risk of accidents. By following posted speed limits, drivers can help to make the roads a safe place for everyone.
2. Don't use your phone while driving
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents, so it's important to keep your eyes on the road at all times. If you need to use your phone, pull over to a safe location first.
Studies have shown that phone use while driving increases the risk of being involved in an accident by up to 23 times. That’s why it’s so important for drivers to avoid distractions like texting while behind the wheel. By keeping their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, they can help keep themselves and others safe.
3. Keep your car in good working condition
Making sure your car is in good working condition is crucial for safety. Always check your tires and brakes before going on a long drive. Also make sure to get regular oil changes and tune-ups.
4. Drive defensively
Defensive driving is a set of safe driving skills that drivers use to protect themselves and others on the road. The goal of defensive driving is to prevent accidents by anticipating dangerous situations and taking action to avoid them. Defensive driving techniques include always wearing a seatbelt, paying attention to the road, and avoiding distractions such as eating while driving. Drivers who practice defensive driving are less likely to be involved in accidents, and they often receive lower insurance rates as a result. Whether you're a new driver or an experienced one, learning defensive driving can help keep you safe on the road.
5. Be extra careful in bad weather conditions
Wet roads, strong winds, and heavy snowfall can all make driving more challenging and dangerous. To help ensure safe driving in bad weather, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, always allow extra time to reach your destination. This will help to avoid rushing and making poor decisions. Second, slow down and increase your following distance. This will give you more time to react if something unexpected happens. Third, be extra cautious at intersections, where most accidents occur. Pay attention to traffic signals and yield to oncoming traffic as necessary. Lastly, be sure to keep your lights on for improved visibility. By following these tips, you can help make driving in bad weather safe for everyone.
6. Yielding to pedestrians
Pedestrians always have the right of way, so make sure to yield to them when they're crossing the street—even if there's no crosswalk present. In busy places pedestrians tend to have the habit of jumping into busy roads without checking. This is why we must always be mindful of pedestrians and drive more slowly in places with lots of foot traffic.
7. Don't tailgate other cars
Tailgating is driving too close to the car in front of you—is not only annoying but also dangerous. Tailgating greatly increases the chances of being involved in a rear-end collision, which can cause serious injuries or even death.
Tailgating also significantly reduces the amount of time a driver has to react to a hazard. If you are tailgating another car, you are putting yourself and other road users at risk. So next time you are tempted to follow too closely, remember: safe driving starts with leaving enough space between yourself and the car in front.
8. Use your turn signals properly
Make sure to use your turn signals whenever you're changing lanes or making a turn. Not only is this required by law, but it's also a courtesy to other drivers on the road.
9. Watching for motorcycles and bikes
Motorcycles and bikes are small and can be easily missed, so it's important to be aware of them while driving. Be extra cautious when changing lanes or making turns, as motorcycles may be hidden in your blind spots.
10. Look out for animals
Animals can dart into traffic without warning, so it's important to be prepared for them. In this type of driving situation, your first instinct may be to swerve out of the way. However, this can often lead to a more serious accident, such as hitting another vehicle or veering off the road. It is important to remain calm and take the following steps: brake firmly but do not lock your wheels, downshift to a lower gear if you are driving a manual transmission, and avoid swerving. If you must swerve, do so gradually and only if there is no oncoming traffic. Once you have brought your vehicle to a stop and off the road, check for damage and then proceed cautiously if your car is not totaled. Remember to always be alert for animals when driving, especially at dawn and dusk when they are most active.
11. Obeying traffic laws
Following all traffic laws is essential for staying safe on the road. This includes obeying speed limits, yield signs, stoplights, and more. Not only will this help keep you safe, but it will also help avoid costly traffic tickets.
12. Never driving under the influence
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never acceptable. Not only is it illegal, but it's also incredibly dangerous. If you plan on drinking have someone else drive or take public transportation instead.
Following these 12 tips can help make sure you have a safe driving experience. Remember driving is a responsibility that should be taken seriously at all times.