9 Ways to Keep You and Your Passengers Safe While Driving

9 Ways to Keep You and Your Passengers Safe While Driving

Driving may be a mundane, everyday activity, but it’s also extremely hazardous. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., most of which are caused by human error. To reduce the risk of accidents, it’s necessary to practice extreme caution anytime you get behind the wheel. With that said, here are a few driving tips to keep yourself and your family safe.

1. Drive the Speed Limit

Driving at higher speeds can make you more likely to lose control of your vehicle. It also makes it harder to react safely if you encounter a hazard on the road. In the end, driving above the posted speed limit will only save you a few minutes, which is rarely worth the risk of a potential accident.

2. Wear Your Seatbelt

Even a small, compact car can generate enough force to throw someone through the windshield in the event of a crash. Think of your seatbelt as your first defense against unsafe driving and make sure you and your passengers are all buckled in before starting the engine.

3. Limit Distractions

Texting and driving is a major public health concern, but cell phones aren’t the only things keeping drivers distracted on the road. Applying makeup, eating, and joking around with passengers are some other ways a driver can easily lose focus and potentially drift into an accident. When it comes to driving, lives are quite literally at stake, so it must not be taken lightly. Every time you get in your car, take the necessary steps to limit distractions by putting your phone on silent, fixing your hands on the wheel, and keeping your eyes trained forward on the road ahead of you.

4. Get Vehicle Serviced Regularly

Car troubles like tire blow-outs, failing brakes, and stalled engines can contribute to an accident. These types of troubles are also easy to avoid by following your car’s service schedule. Not only does regular auto maintenance keep your car in safe driving condition, but it can also save you money in the long run.

5. Don’t Drink and Drive

In the U.S., drunk driving accounts for over 30% of fatal car accidents, which is still a small fraction of overall, non-fatal accidents involving alcohol. Always remember that drunk driving is a choice, and you can choose to turn to a rideshare app, public transportation, or a sober friend instead of choosing to drive in a drunken state.

6. Don’t Drive Drowsy

Like alcohol, sleep deprivation impairs the brain and can cause you to react slower or lose focus as you drive. Put extra effort into getting a full night’s rest before you plan to take a long drive, and always be aware of your own energy levels anytime you’re operating a vehicle. If you ever catch yourself feeling drowsy while driving, pull over and take a break until you feel more awake. Even if you have to take a nap in your car in a public parking lot, doing so is much safer than falling asleep at the wheel.

7. Avoid “Tail-Gating”

As a responsible driver, you should be considerate of other drivers by leaving enough space between yourself and the next car ahead. This significantly reduces the risk of rear-end collisions if the car in front of you brakes unexpectedly. As a rule of thumb, leave more space between your car and the car ahead during inclement weather or when traveling on freeways.

8. Be a Predictable Driver

Driving is safest when everyone follows the rules and drives as predictably as possible. To help other drivers predict your next move, use your turn signals before changing lanes or turning, follow all traffic signs, and yield to the right-of-way when merging.

9. Check Your Blind Spot

Your “blind spot” is the area around your car that you can’t see from your side or rearview mirrors. Turn your head and use your peripheral vision to check your blind spot before merging, turning, or changing lanes. You should also avoid spending too much time in another driver’s blind spot.