While having fun on your drive and reaching your destination comfortably are important, maintaining safety on the road by following traffic laws and other guidelines is the number one priority of any driver. Despite this, many drivers make poor decisions due to overconfidence. It’s not clear why drivers are so confident in their driving abilities when according to a recent Progressive Insurance survey, “less than half of surveyed drivers rated their knowledge of traffic laws, road signs, and adherence to safe driving habits as ‘very high.'” Read our guide below to get information on this all-too-common phenomenon and the safe driving habits you can implement to keep yourself and your passengers safe.
Habits to Develop for Safe Driving
Driving is something that many of us do every day. Because of this familiarity, it can be easy to become overconfident in one’s driving ability. While it is good to maneuver with confidence instead of second-guessing yourself constantly, overconfidence can lead to letting your guard down and failing to implement proper defensive driving strategies. This increases the risk of being involved in an accident.
You should always treat driving with the respect that it deserves. When you’re behind the wheel, you’re in control of a piece of machinery that can cause death and injury to you, your passengers, and anyone around you. You should always be respectful of that fact and operate your vehicle with the utmost care. Here are some driving habits that will help you increase the safety of your travels on the road.
Follow All Traffic Laws
The first step in driving safely is obeying the rules of the road. Traffic laws exist for a reason, and it’s up to you to know what the laws are. According to that Progressive study we mentioned earlier, only 65% of respondents recognized a school crossing sign. If you see a sign you don’t understand while driving, make a mental note to look it up later. It’s kind of important.
You should also be familiar with how to handle more difficult traffic scenarios such as when you need to yield at an exit or how to move in a traffic circle. Understanding right of way will also help you navigate intersections more safely.
Keep Weather Conditions in Mind
One changing factor that can impact how you should behave on the road is the current weather conditions. You should go slower when roads are slick with rain as this makes it more difficult for your vehicle to get the traction it needs to stick to the road, while thick fog should make you drive slowly to account for your limited reaction time. Even more caution should be exercised when driving through dangerous winter weather conditions.
Don’t Let Your Emotions Get the Better of You
When another driver cuts you off or does something else that endangers your safety, it’s only natural to feel some anger towards them. However, it’s important that you keep control of such emotions when you’re behind the wheel. Road rage can cause you to make decisions that aren’t safe and increases your risk of an accident. Instead of reacting to another driver, take a deep breath and remain calm, or pull over for a moment if you need to.
Be Extra Careful in a Work Zone
Encountering road work is a situation that every driver is likely to find themselves in sooner or later. Sometimes this leads to stop-and-go traffic, but other times the road through a work zone may be open. In these latter cases, it’s important that you maintain a slow speed so that you can react to any unexpected obstacles. Stay extra alert so that you can keep conditions safe for you and the workers out there.
Share the Road Responsibly
Cars, trucks, and SUVs aren’t the only things that you’ll encounter when you’re driving. You’re also likely to share the road with bikers and pedestrians. It’s important that you exercise an extra amount of caution in these situations. Pay attention to hand signals from bikers to know when they’re turning, and pay attention to markers designating pedestrian crossings and bike lanes to stay safe.
Staying safe on the road is a lot easier when you know the best practices to employ that will help you arrive safely at your next destination. Follow these tips to make the road a safer place for you and everyone around you. Check out BestRide for more tips you can use in your driving and other topics in the automotive world!