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:
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.