5 Tips for Becoming a Better, Safer Driver

by Emma Sturgis

in Tips

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In break-ups, we like to reassure the other person that the reason the relationship is ending is that “It’s not you, it’s me.” But in driving we prefer to take the approach of “It’s not me, it’s you.” It’s time to take responsibility for your driving and become a better driver. These tips will help you to do just that, consequently helping you avoid car accidents and those pesky traffic violation tickets.

Keep a Safe Distance

You may wonder, what is a safe distance for driving behind someone? There is no universal answer for this. The law actually varies from state to state. In general though, it is best to keep a distance of two to three seconds. Watch the car in front of you as it passes a landmark like a sign or a tree. Then count how long it takes for you to reach that same spot. If it only takes a second, you are probably following too closely.

Tailgating, or driving too close to the car in front of you, is a ticketable offense. The reasons for tailgating can vary, but it is always better to keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. Failing to do so puts both you, the other car, and other drivers on the road in danger. If the car is going too slow, find an appropriate time to pass them politely. Extra aggression on the road is never necessary and just makes for dangerous situations.

Don’t Block an Intersection

Sometimes, you’ll be in a hurry to get where you’re going. This can lead you to believe that moving forward an extra ten feet will get you there faster, even if that extra space puts you right in the middle of an intersection. Blocking an intersection is illegal and can create a gridlock traffic situation. If this situation occurs, then not only are you unable to move, but also the cars around you won’t be able to go anywhere either.

Additionally, when you are pulling up to a stop sign at an intersection you need to ensure that you are not blocking the view of any drivers next to you. For example, let’s say you are in a truck. You pull up to an intersection next to a compact car. One of you is turning right while the other is turning left. Make sure that the position of your vehicle does not compromise the other car’s view of oncoming traffic and put them in a dangerous situation.

Merge Sensibly

Some states have a bigger problem with merging into oncoming traffic than others do. When merging, especially into high-speed traffic, there are a few things you should always remember. For starters, always try to get up to the appropriate speed before it is time to merge. Next, you will need to look for a gap in traffic well before merging into it. Try to create a gap in front of and behind you so it is safer for all drivers. Be aware of other drivers’ body language. Watch for those drivers who will wave you in to merge in front of them. Also be aware of drivers who may not notice you and will not create a safe space for you to merge into.

Practice Different Conditions

Drivers in the American southeast got a taste of what it’s like to drive in the northern states this winter when they got pummeled with several severe snowstorms. Unfortunately, many of these drivers did not know how to handle the extreme weather conditions, which lead to a high number of severe car accidents. The last thing you want in an unexpected storm is to be involved in a wreck and need to find a car accident lawyer. Those living in colder climates may be used to snow, but if you aren’t familiar with how to drive in it, learning should become a high priority for you as a driver.

Instead of being caught off guard by poor driving conditions, practice what you would do in critical circumstances. Even if there is only a light amount of snow, go to a large, empty parking lot and see how your car (and the driver) does under different conditions. Have a plan for what you will do if there is ice on the roads, or other obstacles like a tire or box in your way. Having a plan is the first step in preparedness.

Drive Defensively…But Courteously

In Driver’s Education, they may have told you that the key to being a good driver is to drive defensively. This means that you are always in control of your vehicle and prepared for anything that could happen. It does not mean that you drive in a way that makes other drivers feel defensive or that puts your safety at risk.

Remember that just because you are trying to be assertive does not mean that you cannot also be courteous. Use your manners to treat other drivers well, and you will find that your driving experience is much more pleasant. Keep in mind though that even the safest driver can get into an accident. It is better to keep your cool in these situations to diffuse any further negative actions from taking course.

It can be freeing to drive on the open road and experience the joys of becoming one with your car. However, while you’re relishing in that freedom, don’t forget to be a good driver. Work on improving your driving so that you will have a safer and more enjoyable experience every time you get behind the wheel.

Informational Credit to 99 Truck Parts & Industrial Equipment Ltd

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