5 Driving Tips to Stay Safe on the Road

Owning a car makes moving from one point to another much easier. Whether you use it to go to work or run errands, it’s likely an integral part of your everyday life. However, getting behind the wheel can be a dangerous undertaking. Road accidents are among the leading causes of fatalities in developed and developing countries.

According to the American Boating Association, the top five causes of accidents include machinery failure, excessive speed, improper lookout, operator inexperience, and operator inattention. The same can be said for car accidents. By observing safe driving practices, you’ll be protecting yourself and other road users. Here are a few driving tips that you should make part of your lifestyle.

1. Stay Alert at All Times

Driver inattention is a leading cause of at-fault accidents. You may think you can multitask while behind the wheel, but our brains aren’t great at doing multiple things simultaneously. If you’re fiddling with the radio and trying to eat a snack while driving down the highway, you’re risking your life and that of other road users.

Your attention should always be on the road, other drivers around you, and your actions. Avoid distractions such as updating GPS, passing items to passengers in the backseat, applying makeup, reaching for something in the glove compartment, fidgeting with controls, eating, and using your phone. If it can’t wait, pull over and do what you need to do before getting back on the road. Even if your car is equipped with a built-in infotainment system, it can still distract you from seeing other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

2. Don’t Drive While Tired

Note that your sleeping pattern affects how alert you are on the road. People who don’t get eight hours of sleep a night are more likely to get into an accident due to drowsy driving. If you feel your eyelids getting heavier or find yourself yawning constantly, pull over and take a nap. Consider grabbing a cup of coffee or making regular stops to stretch your legs if you have to be on the road.

3. Never Drink and Drive

There are few things more irresponsible than drunk driving. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, .08% is the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold for drunk driving in Texas. Driving under the influence of any type of drug puts your life and the lives of other road users at risk. When planning a night out of drinking with friends, be sure to designate a sober driver or take a cab.

4. Avoid Speeding

While you may enjoy testing how fast your car can go on the open road, it’s often a recipe for disaster. Going a bit over the speed limit may not seem like a real safety threat, but speeding reduces your reaction time, making it harder to maintain control of your car. When driving at high speeds, your brakes have to overcompensate to slow your vehicle. Speeding is even more dangerous in poor weather conditions, demanding even greater performance from your breaks.

Another reason to avoid speeding is you are likely to share the road with other adults who may not be as sharp as you are. According to Caregiver Action Network, 51% of those who receive care live in their home, 29% live with family caregivers, and 4% live in assisted living and nursing homes. These facilities allow residents to retain their driving privileges. Don’t just think of yourself when on the road. Your actions affect other road users as well.

5. Be Cautious When Switching Lanes

Changing lanes is one of the most common driving maneuvers and among the most dangerous. Always use your turn signal to make other drivers aware of your intentions when changing lanes. Avoid making sudden lane changes if a driver is tailgating you. Finally, take a few seconds after indicating before moving over.

We all know the importance of road safety, but it’s easy to overlook the details in our daily rush. Safe driving practices benefit you and other road users more than you think. Don’t rely on other drivers to ensure your safety. Make these tips part of your lifestyle as a driver.