10 Ways to Keep Yourself Safe on the Road
The average driver will be in about four car accidents in their lifetime. Although the chances of these being severe are low, the chances of minor injuries or property damage is high. Even minor collisions can cause major damage. Teens from ages 15-19 are also three times more likely to be involved in an accident than drivers 20 and older.
Here are a few things that can help you be safer on the road.
- Turn on your headlights. Even though you can see just fine without your headlights, other drivers may not be able to see you. This is especially true in any type of inclement weather – rain, fog, snow or any other type of similar weather can make it difficult to be seen without your headlights on.
- Use your horn. People don’t like to honk or be honked at. It seems and feels angry. However, using your horn can be helpful to let other cars know where you are. If someone is drifting into your lane, a quick beep or two can let them know where you are. To avoid the possibility of road rage or confrontation of other drivers, try not to lay on the horn for more than two seconds. Doing so seems angry and may not lead to your desired results.
- Keep yourself calm. Keeping yourself calm can help you make better driving decisions. When people are angry, they tend to be more aggressive behind the wheel and that can lead to impulsive and unsafe maneuvers. If you’re dealing with another angry driver, let them make the bad decisions. If you make any gestures or lay on your horn, the situation can escalate and lead to an unsafe driving situation.
- Always have your phone with you. We are NOT encouraging you to look at your phone while you’re driving. Be sure you are using Bluetooth and hands-free applications while driving. However, having your phone with you can help you be safe. You can use your maps to get you to safety in an unknown area. You can also use it to call 9-1-1 in an emergency or phone for help. Phones also have weather alerts to let you know if you’re in a flood zone, if there’s a tornado nearby, and so on.
- Slow down. Driving fast can be dangerous for a few reasons – it’s harder to stop and it’s harder to maneuver around an obstacle or dangerous situation in the road. For instance, people can suddenly step on their brakes, swerve into another lane, or any number of things. If you’re driving too fast, you may not be able to brake in time.
- Take your time starting out. Intersections can be dangerous. Don’t floor it when the light turns green. Instead, slowly start to move while you watch the other cars at the intersection. Someone can run a red light, or a stop sign and may be coming your way. It also gives you more time to look for pedestrians or bicyclists.
- Watch the sides of the road. We know there’s a lot to watch for while you’re driving. But don’t forget the sides of the road! If you’re watching for people, animals, or debris, it can help you slow down or avoid them.
- Never assume you know what the other driver will do. People can leave their blinkers on unintentionally when they’re not changing lanes, or they can do the exact opposite – change lanes without using a blinker. People can also change their minds at the last second. The best thing you can do is be patient and wait for the other driver to make a move before you pull out in front of them or pass them.
- Stay in the middle lane. If you’re on a freeway, the middle lane is typically the safest. The fast lane is being used to pass other drivers and the right lane has people merging on and off the highway. If you don’t need to pass or exit, the middle lane is where you should stay. It’s also not safe to constantly change lanes.
- Take care of your car. Keeping your tires inflated correctly, rotating your tires, getting oil changes regularly, and so on is a good way to prevent disaster. Take the time to take care of your vehicle. The last thing you want is to be stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire.