Safe driving is the first step in preventing accidents on the road. Vehicle safety is more important than ever since statistics are showing that auto accidents are on the rise.
We understand that there are more distractions than ever while driving these days; the map on your car’s dashboard won’t work, the kids are screaming in the backseat, and your cell phone is buzzing, but it is your responsibility when you get behind a wheel to ensure your and others safety.
Here are 21 tips to consider to become a safer driver:
1. Focus on driving.
Keep your attention and eyes on the road at all times. Don’t multitask while driving. Put all the distractions away and focus on what is happening around you.
2. Plan Ahead.
It can be tempting to speed if you’re running late, but high speeds can be dangerous.
Instead, give yourself some extra time. You don’t want to be caught off guard if there are car accidents on your route or you need to stop for gas along the way.
3. In the case of an accident, focus your eyes on where to go.
If you ever find yourself spinning out of control, focus your eyes on where you want your car to be rather than the object that you might hit. Because of hand-eye coordination, if your eyes are looking right then your vehicle will also go right.
4. Maintain control when tires blow out.
Try your best to keep the car driving in a straight line and slow your speed.
You’ll want to have two hands on the wheel and pull over to a safe place when able. Don’t slam on the brakes or try to speed during this time, as it can cause worse damage to your tires and can make it harder for you to maintain control of your vehicle.
5. Go the speed limit.
It seems pretty simple, but the speed limit signs are there for a reason; to protect you and others on the road.
If you are speeding more damage can be caused when an accident does occur.
Remember: it is okay to maintain the correct speed limit and let others pass by you.
6. Keep your cool on the road.
Driving can be stressful, so you’ll want to keep your cool to think clearly.
Take a deep breath and cool down if something upsetting happens while driving. Don’t take out your emotions on the road or other vehicles or drivers around you.
7. Watch the weather.
Turn your lights on day or night when it is raining or if there is fog.
Remember: when the weather is terrible, go easy on the brakes to maintain better control over your vehicle.
8. Look both ways at an intersection.
It only takes a few seconds to look both ways before going again after the light turns green.
Before you cross the street, take a quick peak left and right to be sure that no other cars are coming through the intersection.
9. Keep your distance.
No one likes a tailgater. The rule of thumb is to be three seconds apart from the car in front of you. Double that amount if there happens to be bad weather.
Don’t underestimate the amount of stopping distance you need between yourself and the car in front of you.
10. Grip the steering wheel correctly.
Keep your hands in a parallel position on the steering wheel, also called “9” and “3,” referring to the positions of the hour and minute hands of a clock.
This position will help you keep a good grip and control of your vehicle. Keeping a good grip on the wheel is helpful when avoiding hazards on the road.
11. Stay alert and awake.
If you do find yourself feeling sleepy, the best thing to do is pull over and take a short nap.
If you recognize you are too tired before you drive then it is best to stay home and avoid being behind the wheel at all. If you can’t avoid driving, think about getting a ride from somebody else or driving a short distance and resting before continuing.
12. Wear your seatbelt the right way.
Make sure the lap and shoulder belt is snug and that you are wearing the lap part of the seatbelt on your hips.
Seatbelts are there to protect you and others from being thrown from the car if an accident happens. Wearing it saves lives, so don’t forget to do it every time you drive.
13. Pay attention to the flow of traffic.
Sometimes signs are helpful, but just because a light or a sign is saying you have the right away, doesn’t always mean that is what is actually happening.
Focus on the traffic flow and what other drivers are doing too.
14. Pick the right music before you drive.
Calming music can help keep you calm on the road. But intense or fast-paced music can distract you or encourage you to drive faster than you need to drive.
Fiddling with your radio station or music is distracting while driving and should be avoided. Next time, set your tunes before you start your trip or have a playlist ready to go.
15. Look as far ahead as you can.
You should try and focus your eyes past the first few cars in front of you. Doing so will keep you prepared for what is ahead.
16. Keep your headlights on.
Driving with your lights on during the day, especially if it is cloudy or foggy, can help others be more aware of you on the road.
17. Use your parking brake more.
If you don’t use it regularly, your parking brake can stop working correctly.
Parking brakes prevent your call from rolling when parked on an incline. They can also act as an emergency brake if your regular brakes stop working.
18. Don’t brake during a tire blow out.
If you lay on the brakes when you have a tire blow out, it can potentially cause your car to flip into another vehicle or median.
Do the opposite of what you think, hit the gas slightly and try to stay as straight as possible.
19. Never drink and drive.
Do not drive when you are under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Even if you have just one or two drinks, “buzzed” driving should still be avoided.
Although this seems like it should be common sense, there are many people out there that decide to get behind the wheel after they have had one too many drinks. Do yourself and all of us a favor and call a rideshare or cab.
20. Put your phone away.
Our phones are one of the biggest distractions when it comes to driving. Newer phones might have a drive mode feature, where it will answer a text from a friend back saying that you are driving right now.
If you must use your phone for driving, such as for directions, consider purchasing a phone-holder for your vehicle or pairing your phone with your car using Bluetooth or other hands-free or wireless technology.
But remember: The best way to avoid looking at your phone is putting it out of sight until you are safely on the side of the road.
21. Drive less often.
Unfortunately, even the safest drivers can get into car accidents.
No matter how careful you are, the more time you spend behind the wheel, the more likely something will go wrong at some point. So it stands to reason the less you drive, the lower your risk is of getting into a car accident.
In fact, that’s why Metromile is able to help low-mileage drivers save money with pay-per-mile car insurance policies.
How does being a safe driver affect your auto insurance?
It pays to drive safely. Not only could it save your life, but it could also save you money.
For starters, safe drivers are less likely to get into car accidents, which can raise your insurance premiums.
What’s more: Some insurance companies offer safe driver or good driver discounts. At Metromile, we might be able to offer safe drivers better insurance rates.
Take a Ride Along™
Think you’re a safe driver?
If you want to see whether your driving habits can help you save money on insurance, you can take a Ride Along™ for free. Download the Metromile app and get a free auto insurance quote. Then, keep your current coverage (Ride Along is a trial and not insurance coverage) and drive around like you normally would for about two weeks.
We’ll count how many miles you drive, and if you are a safe driver or low-mileage driver, you could save up to an additional 40% on your quote, depending on your state.
The bottom line is that to be a safe driver, it’s important to follow the rules of the road and be courteous to other drivers. No distraction is worth a car crash or a life.