Knowing how to drive safely is important for any adult. Injuries and fatalities due to vehicle accidents happen every day in the United States. Putting things in perspective, about 3 million people are injured in car accidents annually in the U.S. When you head out, be respectful and aware of other drivers with Safe Driving Checklist .
Before heading off on a trip across town or across the country, check your skills, and your vehicle’s ability to get you to where you need to go. Also, consider these tips and Safe Driving Checklist to level-up your preparedness.
- Don’t tailgate. Stay three car lengths behind or wait until a safe opportunity to pass.
- Position all car mirrors from your seat before driving. Mirrors can be accidentally bumped and pushed out of position, leaving you with blind spots.
- Obtain car insurance quotes online to ensure you are driving with the best, most cost-effective coverage for you and your family, and your location.
- Tone down the bright light setting when approaching oncoming traffic.
- Don’t insist on the right of way if another driver won’t yield it.
- Be aware of your surroundings, what is happening ahead of you, behind and to your sides.
- Always be on the lookout for animals and people running into the road.
- Give walkers and cyclists plenty of space.
- Watch for gaping potholes and debris in the road that could prove problematic.
- Take note of reckless driving by other drivers and react accordingly.
Maintain Your Vehicle
- Keep a close eye on the scheduled maintenance checks and get them done.
- Remember, your vehicle has its own limitations. Don’t push the car to drive over terrain it’s not meant to handle or drive too fast for the engine.
- Before each trip, regardless of how short the distance, perform a quick inspection of the tires.
- If something on your vehicle isn’t working as it should – brakes, shocks, exhaust system – take it in to get it corrected as soon as possible.
- Avoid sudden stops and starts, as well as sharp turns.
- Regularly check the fluid levels, especially windshield wiper fluid in the winter, lights, and viability of the battery so you aren’t left stranded somewhere.
- Keep a tire pressure gauge in your car and check your tire pressure regularly. Tires will have less air pressure in the winter.
- Be sure your lights are on at night and in bad weather. When other drivers can see you, you’re less likely to get into an accident.
Always Obey the Law
- Never pass a stopped school bus.
- Always maintain sobriety and alertness before heading out. If you’ve been drinking or are too tired, make other arrangements. Lyft and Uber can be your best friends in times like these.
- Yield to other drivers who have the right of way.
- Comply with speed limits. If signs aren’t posted, keep in mind that residential neighborhood speed limits are usually 30 mph, and interstate 55.
- Seat belts do save lives. 86% of those wearing a seatbelt during a potentially fatal crash, survived. Lead by example and wear your seatbelt.
- Obey signals and traffic signs.
- Always signal before turning or changing lanes.
- Pass on the left, not on the right, and allow faster drivers to occupy the left lane.
Take Precautions for Bad Weather
- Keep an emergency kit in your car just in case you become stranded or are involved in an accident. This kit should include: a flashlight with fresh batteries, cell phone charger, snow shovel and ice scraper, sand or cat litter for traction, jumper cables, and extra blankets, gloves, and hats.
- If traveling to an unfamiliar location, keep paper maps with you just in case you lose GPS.
- Reduce your speed when it’s icy, snowy or rainy.
- Brake gently, not quickly and if you happen to skid, steer slowly into the turn, don’t hit the brakes or step on the gas.
- Don’t use cruise control in heavy traffic or on pavement that has been covered by precipitation of any kind.
- Leave a good distance between you and the car in front of you.
- Wear sunglasses to moderate snow glare, as well as the sun.
- Before heading out, clear the vehicle of snow from lights, all of the windows, the roof, and hood.
Don’t let the statistics get the better of you! There are many things you can do to improve your driving and your outlook on the road when you take the time and make the effort to be safe. Read Safe Driving Checklist .