How Simple Changes Can Mean Safer Driving

Enhancing Safety on the Road with Small Adjustments

Driving is a routine part of life for most of us, and when we’re used to doing something all the time, it’s not unusual to start cutting corners. Maybe you let something slide when you think you’re the only one on the road, or when you’re in a hurry, you press the gas pedal a little harder than you should. However, those little indiscretions can add to bad habits, reducing your safety and that of others on the road. AutoAccident.com invites you to keep reading for a clearer picture of common safety concerns and simple changes to improve bad habits.

Review Your Auto Insurance

When was the last time you reviewed your auto insurance policy? Many drivers only have a vague idea of what their insurance covers. If you don’t have full coverage, you will be out of pocket if you have an accident due to distracted or reckless driving. You will have to pay for damages you caused, and your insurance rates will likely go up. If you haven’t already, contact a driving school and ask about a defensive driving course, which can help lower your insurance rates and afford the coverage you need.

Ditch Distractions

Driving while distracted is a huge “no-go” if you want to arrive at your destination in one piece. Your phone is an excellent example of an unnecessary interruption. While most areas are cracking down on driver texting, which increases your risk of an accident by up to 23x, even talking quadruples your chances. Hands-free driving can even trigger what many have dubbed “inattentional blindness,” meaning that you feel like your attention is on the road, but, in reality, about half of the information you intake is bypassing your brain. Other distractions to minimize include rowdy passengers, loud music, and unrestrained animals.

Obey Speed Limits

Automotive Fleet notes that speeding is an all-too-common occurrence on America’s highways, but some studies show that the faster you drive, the higher your risk for an accident. On top of that, when an accident occurs, the higher speeds mean more damage and a higher risk of injuries and fatalities. Going slower is linked with fewer wrecks, less damage, and fewer casualties. With all that in mind, stay at or below the speed limit when driving.

Adjust for Conditions

Weather can make a big difference in the roads’ safety, and various circumstances call for adjusting how you drive. For instance, when there is snow or ice, it’s essential to reduce your speed and allow extra time for stopping. Fog requires using your fog lights, and you should pump your brakes when stopping to avoid being rear-ended by the driver behind you. Driving at average speeds in rainy conditions can lead to hydroplaning, especially if you must hit the brakes. Brush up on handling driving in inclement weather, and adjust your habits accordingly.

Be Careful with Cruise

Cruise control offers essential benefits, allowing you to maintain your speed comfortably and save gas on long, straight stretches of highway. However, it’s essential to recognize some circumstances in which cruise control can be dangerous. For instance, using the cruise in wet weather can lead to losing control. Along those same lines, your vehicle can go too fast for the situation when going down hills or around curves. With all that in mind, shut off the cruise control when it’s inappropriate.

Awake and Alert

Driving when you’re sleepy can quickly put you and others at risk. Some research reflects when drivers are drowsy, they experience slowed reaction times, reduced focus, poorer judgment, and reduced coordination. In fact, it’s hazardous enough to be comparable to drinking and driving. Avoid getting behind the wheel when you’re groggy, but if you are tired or fatigued while driving, grab a quick nap or cup of coffee to revive you (visit Caffeine Gurus for in-depth articles on coffee types and caffeine levels). Healthy habits can help keep you focused and alert on the road. Ensure you get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and eat a nutritious diet.

Avoid Stress

Avoiding stress entirely is impossible, but finding ways to relax behind the wheel is essential. This is especially true if you tend to get overly nervous while driving. Get started by decluttering and cleaning out your car; clutter and trash can quickly pile up in your vehicle, and it can cause spikes in your stress and anxiety. Also, utilize techniques such as meditation to help you remain calm whenever you start to panic. You can keep calm and remain in control through meditation and controlled breathing.

Avoid Autopilot

It’s not unusual for drivers to zone out when they’re behind the wheel, particularly on familiar stretches of road. However, ThoughtCo explains this phenomenon, known as highway hypnosis, can sometimes equate to letting your guard down. Unlike driving while sleepy, drivers who zone out are fully awake, performing less thoughtfully. Talking with a passenger, drinking something with caffeine, or cranking up the cool air can improve focus.

No matter how routine driving is, being conscientious on the road is essential. Watch your speed, adjust for circumstances, and stay alert. These simple habits can help keep you and others safe. No one wants to be the cause of someone else’s pain and suffering. However, making bad choices on the road is a surefire path to causing a crash and the aftermath that goes along with it.

AutoAccident.com helps anyone in an accident or dealing with a personal injury with tips on pursuing justice, with trusted advice from expert lawyers. Contact us today for more information! Call (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

Photo by Samuele Errico Piccarini on Unsplash

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