For some adrenaline seekers, speeding down a freeway, swerving in and out of traffic may seem like the ultimate thrill. However, regardless of how skilled and confident you are behind the wheel, the roadways are unpredictable, and drivers should take every precaution to stay safe and mind others around them. Between newly licensed teens heading out for the first time, pedestrians walking into the street, and sporadic animal crossings, you’ll need to keep a careful eye on the road.
However, safe driving doesn’t happen overnight—especially if you’re used to bending the traffic laws for your enjoyment. Luckily, there are plenty of defensive driving tips for the retired joyrider, sure to keep you safe and sound while on the road. For those looking for an in-depth review of responsible driving habits, consider taking a course from sites like DriveSafe Online to learn about roadway safety from professionals.
Read on for five crucial defensive driving tips to keep yourself and others safe on the roads.
The first tip to safe driving is focusing on the road and keeping yourself free from distraction. Operating a vehicle requires close attention, as there are unpredictable variables around every corner. Between roadway conditions, speed-limit signage, traffic patterns, and checking your mirrors, there are multiple things you’ll need to pay close attention to while on the road. Avoid using your mobile device, fiddling with the radio, or snacking while you’re driving to keep your focus tied to the road ahead of you.
A critical aspect of defensive driving is staying alert so you can sidestep any potential hazards. Unfortunately, some drivers get behind the wheel while impaired or distracted, leading to critical roadway incidents. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or operating a vehicle while drowsy can end in dangerous situations, often leading to severe injury or death. You never know when cars will slam on their breaks or swerve into your lane, and staying alert allows you to react quickly and de-escalate the situation.
While speeding is the most common traffic violation, it also causes the most roadway accidents, leaving those involved with sometimes severe injuries and hefty fines to pay. The faster you go, the more difficult it is to stop and anticipate those around you. Luckily, staying within the speed limit is a simple task if you pay close attention to your speedometer and limit signage along your route. Ultimately, remaining within five miles per hour of the limit posted keeps you and other drivers safe and decreases roadway congestion, allowing you to get from point A to point B quickly and efficiently.
Use your blinkers every time
Although it may be tempting to skip your blinker on a simple lane change or right-hand turn, forgoing your signal can cause mass confusion and lead to accidents and frustration from other drivers. Blinkers enable you to show other drivers what you’re planning to do, allowing them to make space or stay back as you turn or change lanes. Make sure you’re utilizing your turn signal each time to keep drivers around you in the loop.
Slow down during harsh weather
One of the most challenging aspects of driving is accounting for the weather. Rain, snow, high winds, and ice can create hazardous conditions for drivers, making it tricky to navigate the roadways. However, by slowing down, adding extra space between you and the cars around you, and pulling off to the side during extreme weather, you can ensure your safety as well as other drivers on the road.
Hanging up your speedster cap and swapping it for a defensive driver badge may seem tough at first. However, by employing the proper techniques and practicing safe driving habits, you can enjoy your route without endangering the lives of others as well as yourself. By slowing down, using your turn signal, and staying alert, you can stoke your love of driving while remaining responsible.