2014 is a new year and a time to implement safe driving habits. By committing
to these habits, drivers can lower the likelihood of being involved in
a car accident. Below are a few simple tips to follow:
1. End distractions and pull over: Distractions are a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents. Texting or
talking on cell phones are common distractions to drivers and have been
statistically proven to increase the chance of an accident occurring.
Headsets and other hand-free devices are a good investment and can help
reduce collisions. However, refraining from using a cell phone while driving
is the best preventative measure.
2. Use your turn signals: Use your turn signal before every turn and lane change. If you’re
approaching a turn, engage your signal between 100ft – 200ft in
advance. For lane changes, it is helpful to use the A-B-C approach:
- All mirrors: Check your rear-view and side view mirrors for other cars first
- Blinker: Activate your turn signal for the appropriate direction
- Check the blind spot: Cars can be hidden from view in a driver’s
blind spot. Check over your shoulder briefly and make sure there isn’t
a car in the blind spot before making a lane change.
3. Don’t drink and drive: It is incredibly important to remember to never drink and drive. According
to MADD, one person will be involved in drunk driving accident every minute
and thousands of fatalities will occur in alcohol related accidents this
year. It simply isn’t worth the risk. If you plan on drinking, you
should always plan ahead with a designated driver or cab.
4. Don’t tailgate: Avoid following too closely. In flowing traffic, give yourself a full
2-second count in distance between you and the car in front of you. If
a driver is tailgating behind you, ease off the accelerator and allow
your speed to drop 5-10 mph temporarily. Most times, the tailgater will
pass you. Never use your brakes to discourage, warn, or intimidate a tailgater.
5. Buckle up: Mandatory seat belt laws in 49 of 50 states have helped bring US traffic
fatalities to consistent annual lows. Seat belts save lives and work effectively
in conjunction with modern air bag systems. Get in the habit of buckling
up every time you get into a car- even if you’re a passenger.
6. Learn to see the big picture: While it is important to look straight ahead, don’t focus solely
on the car right in front of you. Look down the road, utilize your peripheral
vision, and check your mirrors regularly.
7. Avoid pulling into blind spots: Most drivers know that you should check your blind spot before changing
lanes. However, it is best to look slightly ahead and two lanes over to
determine if you are pulling into another driver’s blind spot. If
so, refrain from changing lanes until you’re in a position where
the other driver will see your vehicle.