We often don’t take driving seriously and think that it comes naturally, just like walking down the street. The problem is that it can be too late by the time we realize it requires certain care and attention, each time and every time. Poor road conditions, extreme weather events or poor habits by others increase the need to be mindful behind the steering wheel.
Auto fatalities amount to over 30,000 deaths a year in the US. Although this number has decreased since the 1990’s and early 2000’s, it is still a number that could be decreased further. If everyone were to practice safe and defensive driving, even more lives could be saved.
10 Tips for Staying Safe on the Roads
Learning it is a comprehensive state of mind regarding automobiles. It goes well beyond the simple act and includes preparation of the vehicle as well. This list can certainly go on much longer. However we wanted it to be a quick read as well. Here is our top ten;
- Know the Roads: If you are travelling to an unknown section of town, state or country, knowing the ‘lay of the land’ can often help you be prepared for certain situations. Knowing that travelling through the Blue Ridge Mountains in Kentucky during prime fog times is dangerous can get you prepared for it when it happens. Learning about possible construction, terrible road conditions and other events can also help.
- Be Prepared: Traveling in the winter in snow-prone areas means that you should have a winter-weather emergency kit with flares, candles, solar blankets, a shovel, sand or gravel and other items to help you in case you get stuck in a snowstorm. In the summer this kit could include extra bottled water for places like the Mojave Desert. Being prepared for possible road conditions means you plan for the worst.
- Functioning Properly: You are simply asking for bad things to happen when a taillight is out, brakes are ‘spongy’, steering malfunctions or any other mechanical failure. Ensure it is maintained properly by getting its regular checked. Not only will you save on fuel but you will not be surprised by a break down in the middle of nowhere.
- Slow Down: Especially in bad weather it is important to be proactive about the road conditions. Whether it is raining, snowing or just windy, reducing speed can avoid accidents.
- Use Safety Features: In certain new vehicles, they can be turned off like lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring or forward collision braking. They should not be. They are proven to save lives. Let them save your life by keeping them activated.
- Leave the Ego: Driving on public streets is not a contest or a race. As soon as you become aggressive in response to being cut off, you endanger yourself and others. Avoid eye contact with aggressor and put on some soothing music to keep cool.
- Do NOT get distracted: Distracted driving is a growing problem and accounted for over 10% of all road fatalities in 2014. Put the phone down and stop texting.
- Avoid all Mind Altering Chemicals: Simply not drinking and driving, is not the only way to stay safe. Other mind altering drugs and chemicals can often affect the skills. Do not take a controlled substance including legal prescriptions before operating a vehicle, especially if they have warnings of drowsiness. It requires full alertness and attention.
- Do Not Follow Blindly: A GPS can often be wrong. You should still be aware of surroundings and realize when these new technologies are wrong.
- Wear a Seat Belt: Did you know that 50% of fatal crash victims were not wearing a seat belt? Ensure you and passengers are all buckled in and reduce injury and death percentages if you are in an accident.
10 Resources for Safe Driving
Below we have compiled expert resources on the subject. They cover the topic or certain parts of it extensively and therefore worth reading or using as study material.