We’ve all seen the terrifying reports on the news about car accidents, ranging from minor fender benders to multi-car pile-ups that result in death and serious injuries. While no one can predict when or where an accident will happen, there are some basic road rules that every individual should know and follow.
If you’re a driver, ensure to familiarize yourself with these safety tips. And if you’re a pedestrian, keep them in mind when crossing streets and intersections. With just a little bit of caution, we can all help keep ourselves and our loved ones safe while out on the road.
Watch Your Speed
We know that pressing the accelerator to hear your vehicle make the adrenaline-inducing growl is tempting. As surveyed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding accounts for around one-third of all fatal accidents. Therefore, take it easy on the gas pedal and enjoy the scenery while you’re at it – driving too fast endangers your life and those around you.
It’s not so difficult; all you have to do is be mindful. If you’re entering a construction zone, school zone, or areas with a lot of pedestrian traffic, limit the speed and allow yourself extra time to brake. The attention-grabbing traffic cones are there for a reason.
Similarly, don’t drive too slowly either. No one wants to be that individual holding up traffic, but driving below the speed limit can also be dangerous. If the posted limit is 55 mph, there’s usually a good reason for it – the road conditions, traffic, and weather all play a role in setting the speed limit. If you find yourself driving in inclement weather, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and go a bit below the limit.
Obey Traffic Signals
We’ve all been taught about the signal lights right from kindergarten. They’re there for a fundamental reason – to keep us all safe. So, when the light turns red, stop. When it’s green, you can go. And when it’s yellow, you should start slowing down because the light is about to turn red.
But, of course, there are always those people who think they’re above the law and choose to run red lights. Not only is this behavior illegal, but it’s also perilous. Every year, hundreds of people die, and thousands more are injured in accidents because someone ran a red light. So, please, obey traffic signals and do yourself and everyone else a favor.
Use Your Turn Signals
This road rule may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many drivers forget (or choose to ignore) this rule. Whether you’re changing lanes or making a turn, you need to signal what you’re doing to the other drivers around you. It allows them to adjust their speed and position, so they’re not caught off guard.
Not using your turn signal is not only inconsiderate but also dangerous. You could easily cause an accident if another driver isn’t expecting you to turn or change lanes. So, use your blinker.
Be Wary of Distractions
We live in a tech-reliant world where we’re constantly connected – to our phones, laptops, and social media. It’s hard to disconnect, even for just a few minutes. But when you’re behind the wheel, it’s essential to put all distractions aside and focus on the task at hand: driving. That means no texting, no scrolling through your feed, and no changing the music. If you need to do those things, pull over to a safe spot first.
Keep your radio down, eat at stops, and check your mirrors regularly. Removing your eyes off the road, even for a second, can result in a severe accident. Bicyclists, pedestrians, dog-walkers, and other drivers count on you to pay attention. So, please, be attentive; the WhatsApp notifications can wait a couple more minutes.
Know Your Vehicle
You might think you know your car like the back of your hand, but do you? Do you know how to change a flat tire? Do you know where your car’s fuse box is located? What about the oil dipstick – do you know where it is and what it does?
It’s essential to familiarize yourself with your vehicle and understand how it works. If something unexpected happens while driving, you’ll know what to do. Trust us, being stranded on the roadside is not fun, and it’s even less fun when you don’t know how to fix the problem.
So, take some time to read your car’s manual and learn about all the different features and functions. It might seem taxing now, but it’ll be worth it the next time you have car trouble.
Don’t Drive If You’re Not Feeling Well
Emergency work calls, doctor’s appointments, and family emergencies happen. We get it. But if you’re not feeling well, it’s always better to call a cab or ask someone else for a ride. Driving when you’re not feeling well can be dangerous, both for you and for the other drivers on the road.
If you’ve got a headache, are feeling dizzy, or have any other symptoms that could impair your driving, it’s best to stay home. Similarly, if you’ve spent a night enjoying a few too many drinks, it’s not safe for you to get behind the wheel. Call a friend or an Uber and save yourself (and everyone else) the trouble.
Take a Class
Most states require you to take a driver’s education class before getting your license. But even if you’ve been driving for years, it’s never too late to learn more about safety on the road. There are plenty of classes and workshops available, both in-person and online.
Beginners must learn the basics of car parking, proper turning, and changing lanes. Intermediate drivers should focus on more advanced topics like defensive driving and emergency braking.
Besides, everyone should know how to change a tire and what to do in an accident.
Most drivers don’t realize the responsibility that comes with driving a vehicle. It’s not only about the new Ferrari, the rush of the wind, or the sense of freedom. It’s also about being vigilant of your surroundings and taking precautions to ensure everyone’s safety – including your own.
So, remember these rules the next time you’re behind the wheel. They might save your life.
We also recommend taking a driving safety course – it can’t hurt to brush up on the basics (or learn some new tips). And, as always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask a professional. Safe driving!