The great thing about the 21st century is that newer cars are safer than ever before. “Thanks to advanced engineering, in-depth research and analysis of crash data, newer vehicles are built better and have more safety features to protect you.” However, on average, there are over 6 million passenger car accidents in the U.S. every year. So, it’s still important to keep yourself and those around you safe.
We all know to observe speed limits and cover your blind spots, so what extra precautions can we take on the road? Here’s a look at ten driving safety considerations you may not be familiar with that can help you become a better driver:
1. Keep thing predictable
Driving is full of unpredictable moments that require you to be as alert as possible to unexpected maneuvers or speed changes, but you should always try your best to avoid being part of this unpredictability. Strive to become more predictable on the road. This means you should begin indicating in good time and avoid rash steering wheel movements that could cause other drivers to take action. You’re safest when everyone on the road can anticipate your movements.
2. Share the road
It’s also essential that you remember that the roads can be shared by several different vehicles and pedestrians. Each vehicle or person around you requires different types of actions and care. Larger vehicles can be much slower when it comes to turning and that you should allow plenty of room for lorries and buses that could be more prone to blind spots. Be prepared to slow down and assess your environment before attempting to overtake a vehicle, and always dip your beams if you can see another vehicle on the road at night.
3. Check weather forecasts
This may seem like a no-brainer, but anticipating weather conditions can significantly impact your trip. If roads are wet, icy, or have encountered snow, you’re more likely to experience a loss of traction, which makes it more important to check your tire tread. You should also allow further braking distances. Adverse weather conditions can also impact your journey times, so knowing the weather can prevent you from having to rush in dangerous environments.
4. Plan stops in advance
On the topic of preventing instances of feeling rushed, plan your stops in advance on long-distance journeys. Whether you’ll need time for food, toilet breaks, rest, phone calls, or business admin, failing to consider these needs can cause you to rush, which could be extremely dangerous if you’re already feeling fatigued on the road.
5. Anticipate what other drivers are going to do
It’s very rare that you’ll be alone on a road, so make sure you’re accommodating of other users and use your senses to anticipate their actions in advance. Although it’s dangerous to assume what’s going to happen next when it comes to other cars, if you see a car creeping out of its lane, it may mean they’re about to change lanes. Or if you see a driver hesitate, it may mean that something could be affecting their judgment. Using your vision to anticipate, but never assume, the actions of drivers can help you to avoid making unexpectedly sharp maneuvers.
6. Move off the roadway or on a shoulder in the event of a collision
We’re often taught so stringently about how to avoid crashes that we can forget that we’re still at the wheel if a collision takes place. Serious accidents make it difficult or dangerous to move your car, but for fender benders and lighter collisions, it’s essential that you look to move to the shoulder (or off the roadway) as soon as it’s safe. This can help keep traffic flowing and prevent any further hazards.
7. Get plenty of sleep
Always use your judgment on this one, even if it means finding somewhere to stay overnight. Tired driving can account for around 100,000 crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities per year, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). It’s important to avoid becoming another statistic in this regard, so always make sure you get sufficient sleep–especially before long journeys. If this isn’t possible, plan your journeys with breaks to rest.
8. Check the vehicle for wear and tear.
You don’t have to be a mechanic to regularly check your car for signs of wear and tear. It’s important to regularly check your tire pressure, tread, oil levels, windscreen wipers, and fluid levels. If you find a crack in your windshield, be sure to check out your options for windshield replacement before it has a chance to impede your vision and impact the safety of your driving. Likewise, take affirmative action when it comes to weakening tire tread.
9. Consider alternate routes.
It’s good practice to avoid potential emerging danger on the road to position your vehicle in an area where you have a good chance of being seen. Likewise, it’s important to always have an alternate route if you find your route blocked off by larger vehicles or congestion.
10. Stay prepared with an emergency kit.
Sometimes an accident or breakdown is unavoidable, so it pays to be prepared should an unfortunate accident take place. Always keep an emergency kit in your car. These should include anything that can help you to deal with breakdowns or becoming stranded–such as blankets, a first aid kit, and jumper cables. Other useful accessories can involve snow chains, anti-freeze, and just about any other items that can help you to stay healthy should you face a prolonged wait for assistance.
While remembering safety measures on the roads can be a tricky balancing act when you’re also trying to remain focused, staying aware of others around you and planning your movements in advance can be a great way to maintain your safety on the road. When you keep yourself safe, you also help to ensure those around you remain accident-free too.
© YFS Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Copying prohibited. All material is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this material is prohibited. Sharing of this material under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International terms, listed here, is permitted.