Most people assume they are good drivers and it’s the rest of the road users who could stand to improve their road conduct. This cannot be true for everyone. Here are some common bad driving habits, some of which you likely engage in and should stop immediately.
Using your cell phone in any way
Many people who have been driving for any significant duration of time are convinced that they can easily handle driving and using their phones. They are wrong. Think about the speed at which you’re moving and what your response time will be like in case of a very sudden emergency at that speed. For example, at 80 km/hr, if you look at your phone for 3 seconds, you cover 67 meters at that high speed distracted. Only use your phone if you have a hands-free option. Never text while driving.
Driving too closely behind another driver is risky for them and you. Tailgating can make the person ahead of you speed up putting them at risk and it also reduces the time you have to brake or swerve in the event of an emergency.
When in a hurry, it’s not uncommon to see drivers enter an intersection even when there isn’t enough room for them to clear it. This causes a gridlock blocking other drivers. Leave intersections open and only enter one if there’s enough room to go through without causing a build-up.
Not using turn signals
Failing to use your turn signals puts you and other road users in danger. It’s not just a question of courtesy, it can be life or death. When using your turn signals, do it early enough, giving adequate notice. Telegraphing your intentions early enough gives everyone the opportunity to adjust accordingly.
Driving under the influence
Too many people underestimate how intoxicated and how compromised they are with disastrous consequences. Even if you are certain you’re not intoxicated, avoid driving while under the influence of alcohol. It’s better to play it safe than end up sorry.
Driving with headphones on
Listening to music while driving is distracting enough, using headphones is worse. It could keep you from hearing important things like car horns and road crossing alarms. If you need to listen to music, your car radio should be sufficient.
Your decision-making is incredibly compromised when you’re tired or drowsy. If you’re too tired, take a nap before heading out or take an energy drink if that’s not an option. If the energy drink works, proceed, if it doesn’t abort the mission. It’s too risky.
Conflict inducing conversations
Arguing with anyone while you are behind the wheel should be a no-no. Avoid any conversations that you suspect could raise emotions and lead to conflict. Your attention and focus should be on the road, and you don’t want emotions to cloud that.
Forgetting blind spots
It’s critical that you make use of your side and rear-view mirrors but even as you do, it’s important to remember that there will always be blind spots. Be aware of your blind spots as you change lanes even if you have sensor technology.
Neglecting seat belt
This applies to the driver and the passengers. A common mistake people make is neglecting to wear their seat belts. Make it a habit to strap in as soon as you get into the car. Seat belts save lives.
Neglecting the weather
You must adjust your driving to the present weather conditions. Be extra slow and careful when driving during inclement weather conditions like rain, snow, and fog.
It’s easy as a driver to assume that until there’s a clear breakdown then everything’s running as it should. This isn’t safe. It’s important to prioritize maintenance to prevent life-threatening breakdowns at the most inopportune moments.
Leaving your bright lights on
Leaving your lights on full brightness when other drivers are approaching you compromises their visibility. Many drivers do this accidentally, forgetting to dim their lights when another car appears. Make it a habit to default to dimming your lights whenever another car appears. Related, make sure your headlights are working well.
Speeding accounts for about 22% of road fatalities. Stick to the speed limit and don’t succumb to the pressure to race or keep up with other fast drivers.
Pets and children
Distracted driving is almost as dangerous as drunk driving. Aside from cell phones, other common distractors include children, pets, grooming, and eating while driving. It’s important to keep your focus on the road. Multi-tasking in any form is not advisable. Safety Tips While Driving With Pets
It’s important to keep in mind that a car is heavy machinery and give it the attention it deserves regardless of the decades of experience you have under your belt. One second could change everything.
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