According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, more than 1.25 million people die in automobile crashes annually. This startling statistic is enough to make even the safest driver keep their own driving habits in check. If you are prepared to start the year off on a good foot, it may be time to start looking at a few ways you can drive a little safer in your car.
1. Be Alert to Dangers on the Road
When you climb behind the wheel of your car, it is important to be on the lookout for dangers that could be present. So many accidents are caused by drivers who are either being unsafe or not paying attention that you have to be a bit of a defensive driver yourself. You should always expect the unexpected and:
- Slow down when traffic is heavier
- Utilize your vehicle’s safety functions
- Anticipate the actions of other drivers
2. Stay Alert and Avoid Distracted Driving
Driving while distracted is the number one cause of serious motor vehicle crashes. Therefore, if there is one thing you change to drive safer, it should be to make sure there are no distractions while you drive. The most common driver distractions include:
- Cell phones and other devices
- Food and drinks
- Dropped items
- Car radio
Even though distracted driving is a bigger problem among younger drivers, older drivers are just as at risk of getting distracted on the road. Turn off your cell phone, secure pets, leave the radio alone until you stop, and save eating for when you’re safely parked.
3. Avoid Driving While Impaired
Driving while impaired is usually thought of as driving under the influence. However, there are a lot of things that can impair your ability to use your best judgment and react properly while behind the wheel. For example, driving when you’ve not had enough sleep can be deemed as driving while impaired because your reaction times may be slowed and your judgment skewed.
4. Keep Your Vehicle Well-Maintained
Even a vehicle that is not properly maintained can be the root cause of an accident. Many drivers rely on their vehicle to function as it should but they don’t do the due diligence to ensure the vehicle can. You should keep your vehicle well-maintained by:
- Replacing or servicing brakes as needed
- Having the oil changed regularly
- Regularly checking safety equipment like blinkers and lights
- Adding fluids as needed
- Changing wiper blades when they become worn
5. Be Mindful of the Weather
Safe car driving has a lot to do with properly adjusting driving habits according to the weather. You should drive slower when visibility is slow or road conditions are questionable, keep your windows cleared of ice and snow, and make sure your tires have the proper air pressure.
Accidents will always be an understood risk when you drive a car, but safe car driving can help thwart many bad situations. Make sure you are doing your part to drive safer and keep yourself and others safe on the roadways.