How long ago did you take a driver’s education class? If you are an adult, chances are it’s been more than at least a few years. Think back. When you took your course, you were told how to drive safely: adjust your mirrors, check your brakes, use your turn signal — the list goes on. What weren’t you told?
While many of us would consider ourselves safe drivers, there are things that few of us do or do correctly. Driving responsibly and safely is beneficial to everyone on the road. Read on for a few driving safety tips that are a bit uncommon.
1. Adjust Your Mirrors
Yes, we did just mention adjusting your mirrors, but are you doing it properly? If you are like most people, you look in your side mirrors and can see a bit of your car in each one. If you are nodding your head, you have your mirrors adjusted incorrectly. When you move your side mirrors, do so until your car just disappears from view. This allows you to see your blind spots more clearly without turning your head — although it is still a good idea to turn your head.
2. Road Signs
Of course you know what road signs mean, but if you spend more time paying attention to signs than to the traffic, you could find yourself in an accident. Pay attention to what the people around you are doing, despite what signage says. For example, if you see that traffic merging is supposed to yield, don’t assume that they will. Actually watch to see that they will obey the traffic law. If you are in an accident, you will get little satisfaction from saying the other driver was supposed to yield.
3. Choose Music Wisely
There was a study conducted in Israel related to drivers and the music they chose. Drivers who listened to no music were more excited by things that crossed their path. That is to say their heart rhythms increased if an animal darted into the road. People who listened to music had a steady heart rhythm. People who listened to music with high tempos or loud beats were more likely to drive recklessly. Don’t let this be you. Your vehicle is not a club.
4. Headlights Help
Research has shown that you can decrease your risk of an accident by more than 30 percent just by turning your headlights on during the day. Many people mistakenly believe that setting their headlights to “auto” makes them come on when the engine starts. Setting lights to auto only means that you don’t have to fuss with turning them on when the sun starts to go down. If you want your headlights on during the day and your car isn’t equipped with those that are always on, turn them on yourself.
5. Engage Your Brake
When is the last time you used your parking brake? Unless you drive a vehicle with a manual transmission, chances are slim. This could be a mistake. Over time, the cables and connections in your emergency, or parking, brake can corrode and crumble. By using your parking brake, you are ensuring that it is operable when you really need it. Keep in mind that this is not actually a “parking” brake, but one that is supposed to be used if your regular brakes fail. You don’t want to find out that your parking brake broke apart on the inside when you need it the most.
6. Gas a Blowout
Your first inclination if you experience a tire blowout will be to hit the brakes. This can cause an accident that could have been avoided. If you experience a tire blowout, gently press the accelerator until you have regained some control over your car. Once you have, let up on the accelerator and let your car coast to a stop on its own. You will maintain better control and cause less damage to your vehicle this way. It seems counter-intuitive, but applying the brake can cause some very real problems when a tire explodes.
It is really not that difficult to drive safely. In fact, you have been doing it for years. But have you been doing all of what has been discussed above? Chances are you either didn’t learn these things in your driver’s education course or you’ve forgotten them. Try to implement them the next time you drive to increase your safety. Over time, they will become habitual just like your other good-driving habits.
If you happen to be involved in a vehicle collision in West Palm Beach, reach out to our experienced team of car accident attorneys. We will review the details of your case at no cost to you and advise you of your options. You may be entitled to compensation for any injuries you sustained as well as property damage. Call today.