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Safe Driving Tips #1: Dont Drive Under the Influence

Don’t drink and drive. When you drive under the influence, you are not only endangering yourself and anyone in the vehicle with you, you are also putting everyone on the road around you in danger. By driving under the influence not only are you risking your life and the lives of those around you, you are also running the risk of some serious penalties for first time offenders.

  • You could go to jail.
  • You car can be impounded.
  • Your driver’s license can be revoked.
  • You may have to do community service.
  • A judge could make you attend substance abuse classes at your own expense.
  • The monetary cost of a DUI conviction can cost thousands of dollars in fines and legal expenses.

Safe Driving Tips #2: Obey the Speed Limit

We all know that it is fun to go fast, especially if you have a powerful vehicle.  Public streets and highways however are not the place to be putting those sick racing skills of yours to the test. Even if you have an open road in front of you, keep it within the speed limit. Excessive speed is one of the main causes of fatalities on the road today.

Safe Driving Tips #3: Don’t Text While Driving

In the long list of things that can distract you when driving, texting is at the top. The FCC has some astounding figures on the dangers of texting while driving.  An amazing 40% of American teenagers say that they have been in a moving vehicle while the driver used a cell phone.  According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, your chance of getting in an crash is increased by 23 times while texting and driving.  In addition, 11% of drivers from the ages of 18 to 20 years old whom were involved in an traffic accident admit that they were sending or receiving text messages when they crashed.

As of December 2015, text messaging while driving is banned in 46 states as well as the District of Columbia. Distracted driving is one of top contributors to vehicle related fatalities. According to the the National Safety Council and their annual report on unintentional injuries, the three biggest contributors to fatalities on the road are alcohol(30.8%), speeding (30%), and distracted driving (26%).

State by State Text Ban Map
picture from iihs.org

Safe Driving Tips #4: Wear Your Seatbelt

The moment you sit in your vehicle, the first things you should do is fasten your seat belt. Alright, I know this one is a given, but it still needs to be said because I see tons of people that still don’t do this. In most states now it is required by law that you wear a seat belt while operating an automobile. I am still surprised when I see someone not doing this. The purpose of your seat belt is to keep you from receiving a traumatic head injury. By not wearing your seat belt, your are leaving yourself open to the possibility of slamming into your windshield or sailing straight through the windshield.

Safe Drving Tips #5: Clean Your Windshield

You ever see those cars going down the road on a cold morning with just a little circle about the size of your fist cleared off for them to see through? That always makes you feel safe right? During colder months, give your vehicle a few minutes to warm up and defrost your windows. It is pretty much a given that if you can’t see, you can’t drive, so take those couple extra minutes and clean off your windshield. Glare from the sun will be increased if you have a dirty windshield and can momentarily blind you. This is especially true at sunrise or sunset.

Safe Driving Tips #6: Be Sure You Mirrors are Adjusted Properly

Many drivers do not use their vehicles mirrors properly because they are not aligned with each other properly. There is actually a specific position that your interior and exterior rear-view mirrors should be aligned that will help to eliminate/reduce blind spots. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) states that your outside mirrors should be adjusted outward far enough that they will slightly overlap the viewing area of your interior rear-view mirror.

Safe Driving Tips #7: Look Far Ahead When Driving

Don’t look directly in front of you. If there is a hazard in the road in front of you, there may not be enough time to react this this if you don’t see it ahead of time. You should always be scanning the road roughly a half to a full mile ahead of you. Your peripheral vision only works well at close distances so be sure keep your eyes moving at all times, scanning the entire area in front of you.

Safe Driving Tips #8: Position Your Headrest Correctly

While you may not keep gloves in your glove box these days, your headrest was still designed for one specific task. This one task is to support your head, not your neck.  In the event of a rear end collision, a properly aligned headrest can minimize painful whiplash. In addition, by no means should you ever remove the headrests from your vehicle so you can see better (refer to the section proper mirror alignment above).

Safe Driving Tips #9: Avoid the NO-Zone

The NO-Zone applies to larger vehicles such as trucks and buses. Due to their raised position, drivers of these types of vehiclescannot see certain areas close around them. If you are traveling behind one of these, and cannot see the driver of the truck their mirrors, they cannot see you either. There is also a large blind spot in front of big trucks and buses that you should be aware of. In order to stay out of this area when you are in traveling front of them or passing, be sure that you can see the entire front of the vehicle in your review mirror.

The NO-Zone
picture from Drive-Safely.net

 

Safe Driving Tips #10: Have a Proper Grip on Your Steering Wheel

One of the first things you may have heard when learning to drive was to picture a the face of a clock, and place your hands at the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions on your steering wheel. Now the recommended and safest way to hold your steering wheel is to place your hands at nine and three. Why the update? When your hands at ten and two, there is a chance that you could be injured by the airbag as it deploys. By having each hand slightly lower on the wheel in the nine and three positions, this risk is greatly reduced.  You can also turn the wheel much more effectively in this updated position.

proper hand placement when driving
picture from PopularMechanics.com