The driving habits that get you into car wrecks are often subconscious. By taking an honest look at how you approach the road, you can avoid causing an accident and better position yourself to defend against another driver’s carelessness.
At their best, car accidents interrupt your day and cost money in repairs, rentals, and increased insurance premiums. At their worst, accidents cause permanent injuries and even death. Do your part to be a safe driver. Here are the driving habits to stop immediately.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
Given the frequency of weekend partying, it is no surprise that Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are the worst days for accidents. These higher-risk days require that even non-drinking drivers exercise heightened caution.
If you have been drinking, use a designated driver or a ride-sharing app, or spend the night somewhere. Regardless of your age, weight, the amount or type of alcohol you drank, you always increase the risk of an accident by getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. You can bet that behind every drunk driving accident, there was someone saying, “I’m alright to drive.”
The higher your vehicle’s rate of speed, the longer distance it takes it to stop. Speeding leaves you with no margin for error, whether that error is your own or someone else’s. Speeding creates undue dangers on highways and city streets alike.
Speeding includes accelerating to beat a yellow light. This bad habit can cause a serious collision. Always stop for a yellow light if you have room to do so safely.
Speeding together with distracted driving reduces any chance of a redeeming reaction time, making for a lethal combination.
The facts of texting and driving point to texting being the number one killer of American teenagers. But a mobile phone with emailing, messaging, and checking social media pose a risk as well. Even talking on a mobile phone is a distraction that can put you and other drivers at risk.
It takes discipline to avoid responding to every ping, beep, and chime alert. Developing this discipline while driving is critical, however. There are several downloadable apps and in-car hardware options for parents who want to protect their younger drivers or for any adult who wants to eliminate temptation.
Other distracted driving habits include eating, applying makeup, reading, searching for music, trying to retrieve something that has fallen to the floor or between the seats, and map reading.
Hands-free Devices Are Just as Dangerous
While many have praised the safety of hands-free devices, hands-free devices are just as bad as talking on your cell phone. A 2016 Transportation Research study found drivers who used Bluetooth technology were still less aware of dangers on the road than those using not using a cellphone.
Passengers Pose Distractions
Be mindful of conversations that you have with passengers while driving. Being in a car can render an audience captive, making difficult conversations tempting. However, emotionally charged conversations can cause you to inadvertently speed up or drive erratically.
Not Checking Blind Spots
Merely checking your mirrors when you change lanes is not sufficient to prevent an accident. You must also check your blind spot before transitioning into another lane.
Checking your blind spot requires you to glance over your shoulder as well as checking your mirrors. If you fail to do this and drift into traffic, an attentive driver behind you may honk. An inattentive driver, however, may crash into you and potentially create to a multi-car accident.
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Lack of Patience
Patience is more of a trait than a behavior, but it is definitely a trait worth cultivating. Lack of patience leads to speeding, cutting off other traffic, racing to be at the top of a merging queue of cars, weaving in and out, and tailgating. Many accidents stem from a general lack of patience.
Just beyond a lack of patience on behavior pattern spectrum lies the concept of road rage. Getting upset with other drivers tends to lead to poor decision-making. In your efforts to teach an offending driver a lesson, you take your focus off safety and on revenge.
This behavior also distracts other nearby drivers. If anger is a habit, it is time to learn coping skills to keep it in check. There are also documented incidents of road rage leading to homicide. Protect yourself by giving yourself plenty of travel time and by keeping your cool.
Talk to a Car Accident Attorney if You Suffered Injuries from Someone Else’s Bad Driving Habits
Even the most careful drivers in our society unfortunately suffer injuries at the hands of another driver’s bad habits. Remember to avoid driving habits that get you into car wrecks while you are out on the road.