More than 250 million cars travel on US roads and over 2 million people are injured each year in accidents. Another 35,000 individuals lose their lives each year due to traffic accidents in the United States.
Keep reading for essential car driving tips to make sure you’re not one of those statistics.
Be Safe Before You Go Anywhere
Before you even put the key in the ignition you should be thinking safety. A brief walk around the car to ensure there is nothing obstructing your path is a good way to start.
Ensure the tires have enough air and that oil and brake fluids are at appropriate levels. It’s important that window washer fluid is full prior to traveling. It could be a real danger to drive without it as you never know when something may hinder your view while driving.
Once you are sure the car is ready to hit the road, you need to make sure you are as well.
Adjust the seat, rearview and side mirrors so that you can properly see and safely drive.
It’s a good idea — especially in Illinois winter driving — to make sure you have an emergency car kit, a charged phone and that you check road conditions before leaving the house.
An emergency car kit should contain:
- kitty litter or sand in case you get stuck
- a blanket, hand warmers, hats, mitts, etc to keep warm
- bottles of water for you to drink if stuck and an extra one for the car if it overheats
- energy bars or other food
- jumper cables to start your vehicle if the battery dies
- flares or triangle reflectors
- a first aid kit
- at least a quart of oil and a gallon of coolant
- flashlights and batteries
- a toolkit, tire inflator, and tire pressure gauge
- a cell phone and a charged battery with the phone number for AAA or CAA.
It can be a harrowing experience to get stranded in the middle of nowhere. An emergency kit and being prepared can make a difference in such situations.
Know the Law and Follow It
One of the biggest car driving tips for safety is to know the law and to follow it. Most accidents occur when someone’s not adhering to the rules of the road.
It’s important to follow the posted speed limits. This isn’t only to avoid the costly ticket if caught by police.
Traveling faster than the speed limit can lead to an accident. Increased speed means you don’t have enough time to react or stop when needed.
When planning a trip or heading to the office, it’s crucial that you give yourself lots of time.
Expect the unexpected and give yourself time to deal with it – so there is no need to speed.
Traffic jams happen or maybe your passenger will need a couple of bathroom breaks on the way. Take this into account and plan for it by leaving earlier.
Pay attention to road signs and their directions for drivers. They will tell you what lane you need to be in and what you need to know about the route you are taking.
When you follow the law and pay attention to the road you avoid accidents.
Adhere to traffic lights, road signs, and rules of the road at all times. This will help keep you and others on the road safe.
Bad Weather Car Driving Tips
Always drive to the conditions of the road and weather to be as safe as possible. Slow down in winter or torrential rain. Slow down for construction and hazardous conditions of any kind.
Drive defensively. You may be a great driver but that doesn’t mean everyone else on the road is.
Pay attention to what other drivers are doing and expect the unexpected from them. This is especially true in bad weather.
Snow tires can help lower your insurance premiums and save your life.
You may safely drive through icy conditions with your snow tires on but the cars around you won’t all have them.
Prepare and plan for this.
Keep your distance from other cars so you have time and room to react should danger occur. This is one of the car driving tips many people ignore and end up in a car pile-up because of it.
Don’t use cruise control in bad weather as this makes it harder for you to react quickly if need be.
Know What to Do
It’s important for you to know what to do before a situation happens. In an emergency, such as your car skidding, you’ll need to react quickly without thinking about it.
When your car starts to skid, the natural instinct is to slam on the brakes and steer away from the skid. This is the opposite of what you need to do to safely come out of it.
In a skidding situation, you need to steer into the skid and accelerate.
This moves the car’s weight to the rear tires rather than the front ones and will give you more control.
Don’t pump the brakes, especially if your vehicle has an anti-locking braking system.
Make sure you know your route can avoid last-minute lane changes. It also stops you from the distraction of looking for the right street or exit.
Even if you have GPS, it’s good to take a minute before leaving to look at the map and plan the route you want to take. This will avoid you being distracted by fiddling with the GPS while on the road.
It’s also a good idea to know what to do if you get a flat tire or a blown tire while driving down the freeway. Being prepared allows you to react while staying calm and getting to your destination safely.
Be Attentive and Keep Your Eyes on the Road
1000 people are injured and 9 people die every day in accidents caused by distracted driving.
Your hands should be on your steering wheel at all times.
You shouldn’t be touching your phone or searching through your gym bag for something.
Avoid eating, reading, writing, or texting while driving.
If you have things in your hands they are not available to react. You’re distracted at least partly by what is in your hand.
Be Sober and Be Smart
Alcohol and drugs slow your reaction time leaving you and everyone else on the road at risk.
Never drive while intoxicated.
Prescription medications can cause drowsiness or slower reflexes.
You should discuss any medication risks with your physician before driving.
Being tired can cause the same dangers as intoxication can.
Driving when emotionally or physically distraught can be dangerous as well.
It’s important to make sure you are in the right frame of mind and alert before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Buckle up and Get Moving
Always wear your seatbelt. This is a law for a reason, it saves lives.
Proper seatbelts are required for you and all your passengers. Regulation car seats are vital to keeping your little passengers safe.
Be prepared for anything, follow the rules of the road and remember the above car driving tips.
Hopefully, you will never have to experience a car accident.
If you do, a police report should be filed and insurance information exchanged. Seek medical attention and legal advice if needed immediately.
Contact us for more information on protecting your legal rights after an accident.