The weather upon us, which means driving careful is even more imperative. To ensure you are able to keep yourself and those in the car with you safe each trip, it is helpful to review safety practices while driving. The following review highlights the most effective and highly recommended safe driving practices to implement while driving.
8 safety practices to implement while driving
You can help ensure safety while driving by having your vehicle regularly serviced, being a more patient and careful driver and taking safety precautions before leaving, along with preparing for an accident just in case. Below are eight useful tips for staying safe, comfortable and relaxed while driving.
Keep your vehicle properly maintained
One of the main contributors to car accidents are cars that are not properly maintained. To ensure your vehicle stays in the ideal condition for safe driving practices to work their best, stay up to date with the following car maintenance tasks:
- Change outdated lights – Outdated headlights, taillights, brakelights, etc. can make it harder to see the road, other drivers and pedestrians and also harder for them to see you.
- Service the brakes regularly – The brakes are in charge of stopping the vehicle so, of course, it is essential to have them properly serviced at all times. If the brakes do not work properly, make a noise while braking or have been used for more than 50,000 miles, then it is time to change the brakes.
- Change the oil regularly – Oil changes are essential to keeping your car in optimal condition long-term. Ideally, you should change your oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
- Replace the tires every 50K miles – A blown tire in the wrong area can have a disastrous impact. At best, it could leave you pulled over on the side of the road and at worst could cause a serious accident.
By changing your outdated lights and servicing your brakes tires and oil, you can significantly reduce the overall risk of a car accident or unexpected car trouble that leaves you in a difficult situation.
Be patient and mindful of other drivers
Car accidents often occur because the person driving is in a hurry and going too fast or driving somewhat recklessly or because they are unaware of their surroundings. To make driving a safer practice, be patient and always be aware of the other cars that are around, pedestrians, road conditions, road signs, the weather and any other important aspects of driving. Also, try and leave earlier than what is necessary when you go places. This ensures you are able to be patient while driving and not rush to where you need to go. Leaving early also helps you prevent getting frustrated with other drivers, which could make driving more dangerous as well.
Eliminate any distractions while driving
Getting distracted while driving can significantly increase the risk of an accident. Subsequently, it is important to not use your phone while driving. While it is best not to talk on the phone while driving, be sure to use speaker phone or your car speakers to listen and talk, which allows you to remain hands free and focus on driving. If other people are on the car (i.e. kids, spouse, friends), make sure they know that it is important for you to focus on driving.
Make sure you wear your seatbelt
Safe driving practices significantly reduce the risk of an accident, but not all car accidents are avoidable. Therefore, it is still essential to use your seatbelt at all times, regardless of how safe you are driving, how well you know the roads and how far you are going. In addition, make sure everyone in the car is also wearing their seatbelt. If you have children, make sure they are properly strapped into their car seat if they still require one and have your car serviced if one or both of the airbags are not working as they should.
When in doubt, turn your headlights on
Leaving your headlights off when it begins to get dark, is raining or is excessively cloudy could make it more challenging seeing the road and other drivers and for them to see you, increasing the risk of an accident. Therefore, when you are ever in doubt as to whether there is enough light to where you do not need your headlights, turn your headlights on. It is best to be safe than sorry. As discussed, it is also imperative to keep your headlights up to date and replace damaged, dim our outdated headlights, taillights, brake lights, etc.
Be mindful of the current road conditions
You should always be aware of the current road conditions based on the area you are driving in, the elevation and most notably the weather. If it is freezing, then you will need to drive with more caution and brake earlier than you normally would. This also applies when it is raining or snowing. If your tires have not been changed and are not adequate for ice, snow or heavy rainfall, then do not drive while the weather is bad.
Carry an emergency kit and contact information
If an accident were to occur, you will want an emergency kit in the car. This allows you or someone else to administer immediate care for injuries. In addition, place contact information in your car as well. By doing so, someone else can call your loved ones if you are unable to if you were in an accident. You can also place a list of additional information you feel is important to document, such as medical care you may require or relevant personal information.
Drive the speed limit and avoid tailgating
Perhaps the most obvious of safe driving practices to implement while driving is to drive the speed limit and avoid dangerous actions such as driving too close to a driver in front of you, which is often referred to as “tailgating.” By driving at a responsible speed and giving yourself time to break, you can ensure you have time to react properly to any unpredictable driving situations.