Safe driving has its obvious benefits, the most important being the safe arrival to your destination. But an added bonus is that it can also save you money by leading to a lower car insurance rate. The fact is, a good driving record equals lower rates on your premiums, which means that you'll be safe on the road and won't pay as much for insurance. When you're a good driver, it's a win-win for everybody.
Here are our top driving tips for staying safe and sane behind the wheel:
Good drivers are always prepared for anything. We recommend keeping an emergency kit in your car, which should include jumper cables, flares, flashlight, bottled water, ice scraper, first aid supplies, blankets, and non-perishable snacks. If you're evacuating a hurricane or other extreme weather conditions, your kit should also have camping gear. Additionally, good drivers also keep up with regular car maintenance and are comfortable with all the features and functions of their cars.
Use Caution In Bad Weather
Good drivers can also adapt to sudden weather conditions. If the conditions are severe, we advise staying put. But if you must be on the road, you should always drive safely by slowing down and increasing your distance behind other cars. If it's raining, practice safe driving habits and turn on your headlights and not your high beams. You should also avoid flooded areas, which come with a high risk of hydroplaning and getting water in your car’s engine.
Don’t Drive Tired
Driving while tired is extremely dangerous. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy drivers were estimated to be responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013. When you're tired behind the wheel, you won't be able to pay as much attention to the road. Your reaction time also slows down and your ability to react quickly to potential hazards is significantly impaired. If you want to be a good driver, remember this saying from the CDC: "Drive alert and stay unhurt." Here are some warning signs that you're too tired to drive:
Drifting in and out of lanes
Yawning or blinking frequently
Missing your exit
Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road
If you show any of these drowsy driving warnings, it's time to pull over at a rest stop or book a room to get some rest.
Never Drive Impaired
While it's unlawful to drive with a certain blood alcohol level, we recommend avoiding it altogether. Alcohol can be just as dangerous as driving drowsy since it can impair all your brain functions including reaction time, focus, and motor coordination.
Good drivers never get behind the wheel while impaired by alcohol or any type of medication that causes drowsiness -- it's not safe for them or other drivers on the road.
Wear Your Seatbelt
It might seem like an obvious habit for good driving, but we still need to mention it, especially since an estimated 25 million people don't buckle up when driving. With so much research backing up the effectiveness of wearing a seatbelt, the excuses for not wearing one come down to forgetfulness, stubbornness, or confusion.
Because they increase the risk of injuries and fatalities from car wrecks, unbelted motorists are responsible for increasing car insurance rates and healthcare costs for everyone on the road. Simply put, good drivers never forget to buckle their seat belts.
Watch Your Speed
Another risk factor in vehicle injuries and fatalities is speeding. This is why good drivers are always in the habit of following the speed limit. To put it in perspective, speeding was a factor in 26% of fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2018 or an average of 25 deaths per day.
According to the latest research from injuryfacts.nsc.org, the percentage of car accidents increased when drivers were speeding on roads covered in mud, ice, frost, snow, or slush. Speeding on wet or dry roads was also a factor in a significant number of vehicle accidents in 2018. The bottom line is whatever the weather, good drivers never speed.
Practice Defensive Driving
When you’re behind the wheel, there could be any number of hazards that can cross your path including bad drivers, drunk drivers, and poor weather. Good drivers have a habit of always looking ahead and keeping their eyes moving, which makes it easier to spot any potential hazards. Once they have identified a hazard, defensive drivers act immediately and without hesitation, which helps them avoid getting into accidents.
Here are a few techniques you should remember every day to be a defensive driver:
Control your speed
React quickly to other drivers
Respect other drivers on the road
Drive carefully in bad weather & construction zones
Be alert and not distracted by texting, talking on the phone, etc.
Don't expect other drivers to follow the rules
Obey traffic signs & signals
Whether you're driving a few miles or taking a long road trip, follow these safe driving tips and enjoy the benefits of a perfect driving record and lower insurance rates.
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