8 Bad Driving Habits to Avoid
When you get in your car to go to work each morning, or head out on a Sunday afternoon to run an errand, you probably don’t dwell much on the danger you face by venturing out onto the road. However, with car accidents being the 9th leading cause of death worldwide, being a bit more aware of the dangers of driving can hardly be a waste of time. To stay safe on the road and avoid any accidents, kick these bad habits the next time you get behind the wheel.
1. Distracted Driving
A survey by State Farm Insurance revealed that 29% of drivers in 2015 use the internet on their smartphone while driving. Looking down at your phone to read a text message takes your eyes away from the road for an average of 5 seconds, which, at 55 mph, covers the length of an entire football field. Obviously, this is dangerous. Put your makeup on at home, answer any texts or calls before getting in the car, and avoid any other forms of multitasking while driving. When you are in the driver’s seat, let driving be your main focus, and eliminate any other distractions that could pull your attention from the road. This includes using your phone while driving, for any purpose. Avoid changing playlists, reading text messages, checking social media, or replying to emails. If you have children in the car with you, do your best to keep them entertained while you drive by giving them a game, movie, or toy that will amuse them without requiring your assistance.
It can be easy to push that petal down just a little bit further when you’re racing the clock to get to work on time, but try to resist. Speed limits are set for a reason, and driving above the set limits can endanger you and the vehicles around you. By driving above the advised speed limit you are less likely to see traffic signals from other drivers, posted traffic signs, pedestrians, or changes in road conditions, any of which could lead to a potential accident.
3. Overlooking Traffic Laws
Even if it seems unimportant, always follow the traffic laws in any given area. Come to a complete stop at stop signs, always use your turn signal, yield to pedestrians, etc.. Following these rules not only keep you and your passengers safe, they are also enforceable by law, and can save you from a costly ticket.
4. Driving While Under the Influence
Most people know not to get behind the wheel when they’re inebriated, but any amount of alcohol or drug consumption can impair your ability to drive safely. Even if you have only had a couple of drinks, always error on the side of caution and plan for a designated sober driver or a car to take you home. Tipsy driving is still against the law and dangerous.
5. Drowsy Driving
While DUIs are the more commonly discussed form of impaired driving, driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous. An estimated one-third of all drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates about 100,000 crashes each year are caused by sleepy drivers. Always be sure you are well-rested before you drive and plan to get a full-night’s rest before long drives.
6. Ignoring Weather Conditions
Most areas across the United States that experience a variety of weather conditions, such as snow storms, flooding, or strong wind gusts, have designated signs set up to remind drivers to drive cautiously. One of the biggest mistakes drivers can make while driving in dangerous weather is to drive as if nothing has changed. If the roads are wet or flooded, take turns more cautiously and decrease your speed. When driving on ice, make sure you drive slowly and cautiously, allowing for plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. If you are driving through an especially windy area, be especially certain to keep both hands on the wheel to maintain full control.
7. Not Wearing a Seatbelt
Always wear a seatbelt, and never begin driving until everyone else in your vehicle is properly buckled in as well. Make sure children are in their appropriate car seats or booster seats and the seats are installed in the car properly. Buckling up is one of the easiest ways to prevent injury in the event of a car accident—take advantage of that safeguard and use your seatbelt.
Practicing safe driving is about more than just protecting yourself, it’s about making the roads a safer place for drivers and passengers alike. Make it a priority to eliminate these bad driving habits from your life and do your part to prevent unnecessary car accidents.
If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident, contact Goeing Goeing & McQuinn PLLC, for legal help.