The ground is beginning to thaw and “Chiberia” is slowly transforming back into the Chicago–which means construction season is just around the corner. Along with increased road construction issues, spring is a great time to remember good driving habits to make sure you’re enjoying the warming temps from your lawn chair rather than a hospital bed.
Twelve Habits of Good Drivers
- Don’t tailgate: Following too close is not only aggressive, but risky. Approximately 23% of accidents are caused by rear-end collisions. Make sure to keep adequate space between you and the car in front of you.
- Slow down: According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, speeding is one of the most common causes of accidents. Obeying the speed limit is a key way to avoid accidents.
- Clean car, clean driving: Make sure your car is free of empty soda bottles and other debris that can shift when your car is in motion. Anything that can lodge under the gas pedal or brake is a hazard to avoid.
- Signal: It can be easy to forget to flip the turn signal, especially when driving a familiar route. Remember that other drivers are not be as familiar with your habits as you are–signal lane changes as well as turns to assure other drivers are aware of your movements.
- Be courteous: Good advice for life as well as driving! As construction season begins, lane closures will be upon us. If a driver signals he wants to merge into your lane, let him in. By keeping your calm in tense driving situations, you also encourage others to maintain their cool, rather than provoking them.
- Look up the laws of other states: If you’re driving through another state that you don’t live in, on a road trip, be sure to look up the driving laws in the other states. Many states have slightly different driving laws. If you aren’t aware of how the laws differ, you could end up with a traffic citation or in an auto accident that’s your fault. Ignorance is not an acceptable defense when it comes to not knowing the rules of where you are.
- Don’t blast your radio: Wearing headphones or turning up your radio to a loud volume can make it impossible to hear what’s going on around you. It’s possible that you won’t hear a siren of an emergency vehicle coming at you from the distance or the sound of a nearby car engine backfiring. Not being able to hear can increase your likelihood of ending up in an auto accident.
- Avoid road rage: It’s so easy to become frustrated with other drivers on the road, especially if the other drivers exhibit signs of impatience or anger. No matter what you do or what the other drivers do, it is imperative that you do not engage in angry driving behaviors. Road rage can limit our inhibitions and cause us to drive aggressively. If you feel you are becoming frustrated or angry when driving, it is best to put on calming music, take a deep breath, and find a safe place to park your vehicle for a few minutes. Even scrolling through photos on Facebook or calling a friend while parked can make a difference.
- Check tire pressure: As the temperature changes, the pressure in your tires also changes. If your tire pressure was already low, this could create less than ideal driving conditions. Keeping an eye on your tire pressure can help you to avoid auto accidents or the need for emergency roadside assistance.
- Invest in a roadside emergency kit: You never know when you’ll need your roadside emergency kit. That’s why it is important to always have your emergency kit stocked in your vehicle. This includes flashlights, blankets, water, food, road flares, and other tools to take care of common car issues, such as jumper cables, spare tire, and a tire iron. A good roadside emergency kit can help you to stay safe and promptly resolve car trouble, getting you back on the road without causing further damage to your vehicle.
- Read your car manual: Many drivers never read their car manual, even if they are the first owners of the vehicle. This can be a mistake, as you won’t be knowledgeable about its features if you don’t read the manual. This can also create dangerous driving conditions. For instance, if you don’t know how to use the car’s windshield wiper sprayer, you could end up facing difficulties if you need to use it for the first time while driving.
- Be educated about child car seats: It’s important to know how to properly use child safety seats to avoid accidents and to keep your kids safe during an auto accident. If not properly installed, car seats provide very little protection to kids. In some cases, it could even make it less safe to use a child car seat than to not use one at all. Plus, a poorly installed car seat could make it easier for kids to unbuckle themselves and could become a distraction for the driver.
With these five habits in mind, you’ll improve your chances of avoiding an accident. However, even the best drivers can’t be responsible for other driver’s lack of attention or aggressive habits. If you get hurt in an accident caused by another driver, Kryder Law’s auto accident attorneys can evaluate your case and help you get the compensation you deserve.