How To Be A Better, Safer Driver
No matter how skilled or experienced a driver you are, there’s always some room for improvement. Taking the time to improve your skills is always a good idea. It can sometimes be helpful to have a reminder of some of the basics of safe driving that you were taught when you were first taught to drive. After a few years behind the wheel, it can be easy for some bad habits to form without you noticing that could be putting you at risk. Here are some of the best tips to be a better, safer driver.
Take Your Time
Don’t drive in a rush. The speed limit isn’t a target or a challenge. Even if you have an impatient driver behind you, don’t let yourself feel pressured into driving faster than is safe, legal, or that you feel comfortable with. Try your best to ignore those drivers who try to push you into driving too fast by hovering on your bumper. Their rush is their problem, not yours. To avoid having to rush and drive too fast, it can help to always allow more time you think you will need for your journey. Plan ahead and add a few extra minutes onto the time you have allowed to drive wherever you’re going. If you caught in traffic or are otherwise delayed, you still won’t have to rush. If you’re not delayed, then the worse that happens is that you’re early and have to wait in the car for a few minutes. Keep a book in the glove box for when this happens.
Being a better driver isn’t only about improving your habits when you’re behind the wheel. There is a lot more to take into account before you even buckle up your seatbelt. Even if you are only borrowing a friend or family member’s car for a short journey, always take the time to adjust your seat and your mirrors so they’re in the right position for you. Take the time to familiarise yourself with all of the important controls, like the lights and the wipers, so you know where everything is. Check the dashboard for any potential issues like warning lights or low petrol. In your own car, check the dashboard before you set off. Get a regular safety inspection to make sure everything is safe with your car. Click here to learn more about the best safety inspections.
Watch Out For Others
It is the responsibility of all drivers to take steps to prevent accidents from happening. While you’re getting out of your car, it is essential that you look out for other road users, like pedestrians or cyclists. A lot of cyclists have been hit by a door opened by a careless driver, and these accidents can cause nasty injuries. Always be aware of road users other than cars in order to keep everyone safe from accidents.
Use The ‘Dutch Reach’
This road safety trip is not as well-known as some of the other tips in this article, but it’s just as effective. Known as the ‘Dutch Reach’, it can help to prevent causing injuries to cyclists and pedestrians. Most drivers use the hand that is closest to the car door in order to open it, without turning to look outside to check for cyclists or pedestrians. With the Dutch Reach, you instead reach across your body to open the car door with the hand that is closest to the center of the car. Turning like this causes your body to swivel automatically. Without having to think about it, you get much better visibility of the road, making it more likely you will spot bikes, pedestrians, or other traffic.
Keep It Quiet
If you have friends or family in the car, don’t be afraid to ask them to keep the noise doing while you’re driving. If your passengers are being loud, remind them that noise is distracting and could stop you from being able to properly concentrate on the road.
Keep Up Your Car Maintenance
Carry out regular maintenance checks on your car. The condition your tires are in can affect your road safety. Every month, you should pump your tires up to the pressure state in your car’s manual, and check the tread. Check your fluid levels and lights too. Don’t just assume that your service will pick up any and all issues. Do your own checks too, especially if you drive a lot.
Check Your Vision
When you got your driver’s license, you had to prove that you could read a number plate at a distance. A proper eye test from an optician is a good idea too though, both to prevent vision loss, and to keep you safer while you’re driving. Drivers with poor eyesight cause more crashes every year than you might think, so take care of your vision. If you wear contact lenses, keep a spare pair of glasses in the car, in case you lose a lens while you’re out.
Give Others Space
Be courteous to other drivers. You will feel calmer and be less likely to make bad decisions. You can’t predict how other drivers will react or what they’re going to do, so it’s smart to be polite and to give people space while you drive.
You can’t multitask and still drive safely. Never talk on the phone while you drive. Even a hands-free call can be a distraction. Set your sat nab before you set off instead of trying to fiddle with it while you drive. If your car has an interactive dashboard, spend some time learning where everything is. Searching for an option while you’re moving is dangerous.
One simple way to be safe from the dangers of driving is to drive less. Minimize the amount of time you spend behind the wheel or try not to drive at all. Get around as much you can by walking, cycling, or using public transport. You’re safe from the risks of driving, and it’s better for the environment and your health.