5 Tips for Safe Driving
Thanks to years of media and public awareness campaigns, today, most of us have become safer drivers. Our cars and roads are safer than before and equipped with technology that makes us even better drivers. Therefore, a significant decrease in the fatality rate has been observed in the past few years. For instance, NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data shows that more than 8,800 people lost their life due to traffic accidents in the second quarter of 2020 in the US, which is 3.3 percent lower than the same period of the previous year [source: NHTSA].
However, this fatality rate is still quite higher and what’s more unfortunate is that these traffic incidents have been the leading cause of death for people aged between 3 to 34 years.
While technology advancements will continue to minimize the fatality rate, most of these incidents occur due to human error. Responsible driving behavior is one of the best ways to reduce the number of accidents. It’s always a smart idea to try out a few simple rules for safe driving, whether you are a beginner driver or have been in the driver’s seat for decades. Here we’ll share a few tips for safe driving that will help you reach your home unharmed.
- Regular vehicle maintenance keeps you safe
It’s very important to properly maintain your vehicle. It not only keeps your car safe but also extends its life. In most states, a safety inspection is required, but it can take a year or more before the inspection happens, so car owners must be aware of possible safety problems and get them resolved before they lead to a traffic accident.
Improper tyre pressure is also a common maintenance issue and can cause an accident. If your tyre pressure is too high or low, it will impact the performance of the vehicle and may lead to a blowout as well. High-performance vehicles such as SUVs mostly encounter this sort of maintenance issue and need to be regularly checked.
Moreover, the car’s brakes is another key area that needs regular inspection. If you observe a certain softness in the brake lever or notice any vibrations when you apply the brakes, take your car to a nearby mechanic as there can be a problem with its hydraulic system.
- Using a dashcam for improved safety
In recent years, technology has played a very important part in the transportation industry, especially dash cams coupled with high-tech sensors have been able to improve driver’s safety in many different ways.
Dashcams come with several benefits such as improved driver coaching programs and prevention against insurance fraud. Likewise, they help improve the driver’s behavior and make the accountability and insurance process quicker.
These cameras can be easily installed on your car’s dashboard or windshield. They can provide evidence against the drivers slamming on the brakes, and the vehicles drifting from one lane to another without signaling.
Recently, the Virginia Tech Transporation Institute (VTTI) conducted a study using an on-board camera system and a driver behavior modification system that effectively demonstrated to reduce the fatalities from traffic crashes by 20 percent [source: VTTI].
A dash cam mounted on your vehicle can provide very useful information for evaluating the events leading to an accident.
- Distracted driving can be dangerous
Avoid distractions while driving as it’s one of the major causes of traffic accidents. According to the NHTSA’s report, 2841 people died in 2018 due to road collisions involving distracted driving, and more than 23000 lives were lost between 2012 and 2018. In the past seven years, distracted drivers were involved in nine percent of the fatal traffic incidents [source: NHTSA].
The NHTSA’s analysis also shows that young drivers under 20 are more prone to distractions, with 11 percent declared responsible for fatal collisions. Therefore, don’t get distracted by the cell phone, air conditioning, your children, or some heated argument with your partner, and always focus on the road ahead while driving.
When you are behind the wheel talking on your phone, it can delay reaction times by 20 percent, which can lead to a deadly crash.
- Drive carefully in bad weather
In extreme weather conditions such as excessive rainfall or fog, the most intelligent thing to do is to drive your vehicle carefully and reduce its speed to a safe level. Driving the vehicle at higher speeds may cause hydroplaning (a thin layer of water builds up between the tyres of your car and the road’s surface, which can lead to a fatal accident).
Maintain some distance from the car ahead and make sure you are driving with right air pressure or it may result in loss of traction. You would want to realease some air from your tyres if they are overinflated.
Similarly, don’t turn your lights on in bad visibility (either from snow or fog) if you somehow ended up off the roadside or other drivers may follow along and drive towards your vehicle. Slowing your vehicle down to a safe speed limit and following the road markers would be a good idea in such extreme conditions. Plus, avoid overtaking other vehicles as well.
- Feeling stressed or unwell? Don’t drive
If you feel stressed, exhausted, or unwell, you should avoid getting behind the wheel as it will significantly affect your decision-making capability and delay your reaction time. Therefore, it would be unwise to drive in such scenarios.
Similarly, being overworked or fatigued after office hours may increase the possibility of falling asleep while driving. You may want to pull over and get some rest in your car if it’s a long journey.
Furthermore, you can seriously risk your life and others’ if you drive under the influence of alcohol as it can cause blurry vision or loss of consciousness. Every year more than 30 percent of traffic collision fatalities involve drivers who consumed alcohol. So, don’t drive under the influence of alcohol and arrange for a taxi instead, as it’s also a serious offense and you may even end up in jail.