Driving is an exciting rite of passage that brings independence and freedom. As you hit the road, it’s essential to prioritize safety for yourself and everyone around you. Let’s talk about safe driving habits that will help ensure a smoother journey.
1. Buckle up for safety: One of the easiest ways to protect yourself while driving is to always wear your seatbelt. Seatbelts are like a safety hug that keeps you secure, especially in case of sudden stops or accidents.
2. Focus on the road: When you’re behind the wheel, your attention should be on driving, not on other things. Keep your eyes on the road, hands on the steering wheel, and avoid distractions like texting, eating, or adjusting your music.
3. Follow the speed limit: Speed limits are there for a reason–to keep everyone safe. Going too fast can make it harder to stop in time, especially if you need to avoid something unexpected.
4. Keep a safe following distance: Imagine driving as a fun little game of “Follow the Leader.” You want to give the car in front of you enough space, so if they stop suddenly, you have time to stop too. This can prevent rear-end collisions.
5. Use your turn signals: Turn signals are like magic wands for cars. They tell other drivers where you’re going, so they can anticipate your next move. Whether you’re turning or changing lanes, always use your turn signals.
6. Be patient and kind: It’s important to remember that the road is a shared space. Sometimes traffic might be slow, and people might make mistakes. Patience and kindness go a long way in making the road a friendlier place.
7. Safe lane merging: Merging onto highways or changing lanes can feel like a lot of pressure. The key is to signal your intentions, check your mirrors and blind spots, and find a safe gap to merge.
8. Indecision can impact safety: Indecision on the road can cause confusion for other drivers and lead to accidents. If you’re not sure where to go, find a safe spot to pull over and figure it out. Avoid sudden stops or lane changes without signaling. For example, just today, I had to drive to the airport. In front of me was a car with its turn signal on to get into another lane, but the driver wasn’t merging. A truck slowed down to let him him, he slowed down because he didn’t know where to go, causing a back up in the lane behind him. Finally, the truck went to pass him since he wasn’t getting over which was the moment when he decided to go, nearly causing a multi-car pile up. The important thing is to make a decision and act on that decision to cause the least amount of danger to those around you.
9. Stay calm and keep your cool: Traffic jams and unexpected delays can be frustrating, but it’s important to stay calm. Getting angry or stressed can affect your driving and increase the risk of accidents.
10. No drinking and driving: Here’s a golden rule–never drive if you’ve been drinking. It impairs your judgment, slows your reactions, and can lead to dangerous situations. If you plan to drink, have a designated driver or use a ride-sharing service.
11. Adjust your mirrors: Mirrors are like your personal lookout points. Adjust them properly before you start driving so you can see everything around you. This helps eliminate blind spots and keeps you aware of your surroundings.
12. Be ready for the weather: Sometimes, the weather can be tricky, like rain or fog, or when it comes to Colorado, blizzards and damaging hail! When conditions are tough, slow down and keep a good distance from the car in front of you. Make sure your headlights are on too!
13. Always stop for school buses: When you see a school bus with its stop sign out and lights flashing, it means kids are getting on or off. Always stop and wait until the sign is pulled back and the bus starts moving again.
14. Parking etiquette: When you park, make sure you’re in a legal spot. Don’t block driveways or fire hydrants. Also, practice your parking skills–straightening out and pulling in without hitting other cars is a necessary skill for the roads
15. Be a defensive driver: Being a defensive driver means you’re always ready for the unexpected. Pay attention to what other drivers are doing and be prepared to react if they make a mistake.
By practicing these safe driving habits, you’re not only protecting yourself but also helping to create a safer road for everyone. Remember, driving is a privilege that comes with responsibility. So, buckle up, stay focused, and enjoy the journey while making safety your primary co-pilot.