Top Ten Safe Driving Tips

Driving related deaths is one of the leading causes of death around the world. It is estimated more than 1.2 million people, or 2.2 percent, of all deaths each year are due to automobile collisions. An additional 50 million more people sustained injuries in automobile collisions. Here are the top ten safe driving tips:


Don’t attempt to beat traffic lights

Many people will speed up when a traffic signal has turned yellow. Unfortunately every year people miscalculate the amount of time they have to clear the intersection and get into a severe collision as a result. By shooting through the traffic light you are putting yourself and others at risk. Often times even by waiting at one or two additional lights, you are only adding a minute or two to your drive, which is well worth it when the stakes are so high.


Avoid unnecessary distractions

Unnecessary distractions include a number of different things. One of the most deadly distractions in the car is texting or talking on the phone while driving. Anything that takes your attention away from the road even for a second can be potentially fatal. It is believed nearly 23 percent of all auto collisions involved the use of cell phones. This equates to nearly 1.3 million car crashes per year. Studies have shown texting while driving requires you to take your eyes away from the road on average for 5 seconds. During this time, if you are traveling at 55 mph, you will cover the same length as a professional football field without having looked at the road.


Maintain your vehicle

A well-maintained vehicle with good brakes, tires, and suspension components will be more controllable and therefore more capable of avoiding collisions. One of the most common maintenance problems is uneven tire pressure. Uneven tire pressure can lead to a blowout, especially in trucks or other heavy vehicles. It is something everyone should check on a regular basis. It is also important to maintain the alignment in your vehicle. Uneven alignments can lead to unpredictable braking and accelerating behavior and reduce control of the vehicle during these important times.


Use caution when changing lanes

Lane changes are perhaps one of the most dangerous parts of driving. It is all too easy to changes lanes into another moving vehicle. Fortunately new technology available on premium vehicles warns drivers of other cars in their blind spots. However, until this technology reaches the mainstream, drivers need to be careful and cognizant when switching lanes.


Slow down in bad weather

Bad weather is one of the leading causes of car accidents. This is because bad weather including, wind, fog, snow, ice, and rain all effect the ability of a driver to see and maintain control of their vehicle. When the road is wet or covered in ice, it is important to slow down to ensure you are able to stop if required. Fog is one of the most dangerous weather conditions. When it is foggy you often times cannot see far enough in front of you to be able to stop in time if cars or other obstacles are stopped in front of you.



Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you

It is important to keep a proper distance between you are the car in front you of to avoid sudden collisions. Following the car in front of you too closely may not give you enough time to react and brake if they decide to suddenly stop or make a turn. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to keep a minimum of a car length gap between you and the car in front of you for every 10 mph of speed you are traveling at. In bad or inclement weather, it is recommended to make the gap even larger to provide adequate stopping space.


Avoid excessive speed

Every mile per hour faster your car is traveling, you are increasing the risk of death in the event of an accident. At higher speeds a vehicle needs greater distances to stop which causes a problem when less alert drivers pull out in front of you or a traffic jam appears over a hill. The best solution to get somewhere faster is to leave earlier.


Be alert

Being alert is one of the most crucial aspects of driving. It is important to keep your focus on the road. Some things that reduce your ability to be alert include listening to the music too loudly, being overly tired, being distracted by your thoughts, or paying too much attention to the landscape and not on the road. It is always a good idea to stop and take a half hour break at least every four hours if you are on a long road trip. This will help your senses become more sharp and allow your body to stretch.


Wear your seat belt

One of the easiest ways to improve your safety on the roads is to wear your seat belt. It is estimated that seat belts save approximately 10,000 lives on a yearly basis. The good news is nearly 88% of people now use their seat belts whenever they are in the car. Just by wearing your seat belt you reduce the risk of death statistically by nearly two thirds.


Drive sober

Above anything else, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is the most dangerous thing you can do on the road. Studies show more than 30 percent of all auto accident fatalities in the United States involve drivers who are impaired by alcohol.  The sad thing is, nearly every one of these deaths could have been avoided if the drivers simply hadn’t gotten behind the wheel of their vehicle while drunk. Alcohol causes a number of different impairments that ultimately lead to car accidents. Even after consuming just a small amount of alcohol a person’s reaction time, inhibitions, and coordination are all negatively effected.


Featured Image: Flickr by Jinx!

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