Stay Alert! Bad Driving Habits To Avoid
Driving – several of us engage in this activity at least on a somewhat regular basis. For some, it is an everyday thing and for others, it is more of an occasional thing. Still, once you get behind the wheel, you automatically have a multitude of driving responsibilities thrown at you and you should pay attention to all of them for your sake and the other drivers you will be interacting with.
Consumer demands have pushed automakers to present vehicles with supplementary safety assistance features to help drivers detect obstacles more quickly. Some of these features can even bring a vehicle to a complete stop should an imminent collision with a pedestrian or vehicle be detected. But even those systems have their limitations and the automakers are always clear to point out the supplemental nature of these features and remind drivers to take full responsibility for operating the vehicle safely.
We love guiding our readers to adopt safe driving habits in all driving scenarios. It helps to reduce overall insurance rates due to fewer accidents and it makes our roads safer in general. We have rounded up our top five tips to avoid you making simple driving mistakes.
Not Learning How To Operate Your Driving Lights Properly
Getting to know your vehicle’s driving lights in and out is one of the most important driving habits to cultivate. Know how your high beams function and only use them when they will not potentially blind ongoing traffic. When changing lanes, always use your indicators and remember to turn them off when a lane change has been successfully completed.
Your driving lights draw a lot of electrical power from your vehicle’s battery and using them puts a lot of stress on the vehicle’s battery. A very bad driving habit would be to run your lights with your vehicle’s ignition in the off position. If you need to do that, make it very brief and do not leave lights on for extended periods of time unless the vehicle’s ignition is in the on position.
Entertaining Driving Distractions
Some people try and multitask while driving. While some do it more successfully than others, the whole idea of attempting to add another activity while driving is a very bad driving habit. It is kind of reckless to expect to give all your attention to something as mentally intensive as driving while trying to simultaneously do something else.
Music can be a big distraction and you should adjust the volume of your vehicle’s sound system to reflect your current driving situation. Also, under no circumstances should you attempt to use your cellphone without connecting it to a Bluetooth device. If connecting to a Bluetooth connection, make sure you are not on the move and are completely stopped in a safe location. Avoid having heated arguments and conversations while driving. There is no point in risking your life and those of your passengers because of highly emotional situations.
Not Making Checking Blind Spots A Priority
Before making a right-hand turn, use the passenger-side mirror to scan the sidewalk and curb lane, to be sure you are not cutting off a pedestrian coming up behind you. Also, when making a left-hand turn at an intersection, check the opposite side of the street for pedestrians and motorcycles.
Some of the newer vehicles available in the market have blind spot sensors – these sensors are strategically placed in the rear of the vehicle and are designed to detect obstacles in a vehicle’s blind spot. The technology’s functionality varies for each automaker and in most cases, is limited to detecting vehicles in your blind spot only at certain driving speeds and angles.
Therefore, it is your responsibility to also take the initiative to move your head around as you make turns to also give a more accurate assessment of surrounding vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
Resist the urge to solely rely on these safety assistance features (if your vehicle is equipped with them) to give you an accurate view of obstacles in your blind spots. These systems are designed as an extra supplement for you and a very bad driving habit would be to use them as a substitute instead of using your eyes and moving head effectively.
Ignoring Unusual Sounds And Occurrences
Your vehicle is a complex machine. There are many components doing several things simultaneously as you are driving along. But, just like with any machine, something can go wrong and sometimes, that can put you in danger depending on the exact driving scenario at play. Common occurrences that can put you in jeopardy while driving include getting a flat tire at high speeds, headlight malfunctions in extremely bad weather and ignition issues while driving on the highway.
A sudden flat tire can make the direction of your vehicle unpredictable and it will be much harder to control steering. Also, not having enough lighting during bad weather can become a hazard because you will be driving with less time to react to an obstacle on the road or avoiding colliding with other drivers.
Your vehicle will show early warning signs of some of these potential scenarios. If your tires look a little worn or you have not checked the tire pressures in a while, start making it a regular habit to do so. If you notice your headlights getting less and less effective over time, get a certified technician to inspect them and get them back to optimum functionality. Pay attention to unusual noises coming from the engine bay or other parts of the vehicle. Draw your mechanic’s attention to all these as soon as you notice them.
The key is to not procrastinate and let these observations fester. Some of these problems can quickly put you in a dangerous position should your vehicle become severely affected.
Blindly Giving Other Drivers The Benefit Of Doubt
The act of driving itself is already risky with just you been involved. When you add in additional variables such as other drivers and potential road obstacles, driving becomes even more complex than it seems. Hence, it is advisable to avoid bad driving habits and instead, make driving decisions that take into consideration the actions of surrounding drivers and the traffic condition you are involved in at the time.
Be careful not to assume everyone driving around you follows the traffic rules diligently. Be prepared to anticipate miscalculations made by other drivers that will put you in the path of a potential collision despite you having obeyed all traffic rules within that given situation.
A typical scenario is a traffic light situation. Depending on the direction of traffic you are headed in, if you are in the path of a green light and it is your right of way, take a very brief pause before you proceed. That brief pause is an opportunity for you to scan both sides of traffic to ensure another vehicle may not be headed towards your path. Even though vehicles on opposing lanes may be facing a red light and are by law obligated to give you the right of way, some drivers may be distracted and end up not paying enough attention. Anticipating this possibility can go a long way in avoiding a collision.
Tips 4 Keeps
We all have our own individual driving styles and not everyone is expected to drive a vehicle the same way. Despite your driving style, adopting techniques that help you drive safely and be always aware of surrounding traffic should be a top priority. Avoid driving when you're tired. Be aware that some medications cause drowsiness and make operating a vehicle very dangerous. Always wear your seat belt and drive sober and drug-free. Slow down every now and then because speeding gives you less time to react and increases the severity of an accident.
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