Driving Safety Tips: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid
Whether you're traveling in your own home town or in a city far, far away, many of us go on auto-pilot when we slip behind the wheel. Unfortunately, that type of complacency, and can put you and others at risk. Take a look at these five common driving mistakes – and how to correct them:
- You get distracted easily. Even on vacation, we all have responsibilities to think about, plus phones that buzz us constantly, kids that chit-chat, ask for things and argue, and even pets that need to be minded, but when we're in the car, focusing on the road should be our one and only concern. So, if you can't seem to keep your eyes (and hands) off your phone, turn it off and pop it in the trunk, along with your bag. As for you family members, lay some ground rules and make sure your kids know the consequences of breaking them. Finally, when you're traveling with Fido, seat him in an area that's safe for both of you. You can even strap him in with a dog-friendly seat belt if he's prone to leaving his spot.
- You're focusing on the wrong things. It's natural to focus on the destination, not the journey, but when it comes to driving, it's all about the journey. So instead of zeroing in on road signs and exit numbers, what we need to do is focus on those immediately around us.
- You drive aggressively. Whether you're late, lost, annoyed, or just having a bad day, there's no excuse for taking your frustration out on those on the road. Not only do tailgating, speeding, stopping fast, and weaving in and out of traffic put you at risk, it also puts everyone on the road in harm's way. And while it may seem like one of the more obvious driving safety tips, it's one that can save lives (and can help you avoid paying plenty in traffic tickets).
- You signal too early, too late, or not at all. Whether you misjudge your turn or you're just spacing out, when you apply your turn signal too early, too late, or not at all, you put everyone at risk of an accident. Ideally, you should apply your turn signal 100 feet before initiating a turn, and at least five seconds before changing lanes.
- You drive when you're tired. Although it's not often talked about, driving while tired is a common driving mistake that can also be deadly. In fact, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study, “an estimated 1.35 million drivers have been involved in a drowsy driving related crash in the past” – so take care and make sure that you're well rested before getting behind the wheel. If you're not, try to take a nap before hitting the road or let a friend or family member slip into the driver's seat – so you (and everyone on the road) can make it home safely.