You would think that living in a time when people are encouraged to stay home would cause fewer accidents on the road. Still, the opposite took place: Traffic deaths rose in early 2021, with an estimated 8,730 people succumbing to motor vehicle crashes from January to March. That is a 10.5 percent jump from the projected number. Not to mention, crimes can also take place when you’re in and around your car, especially if you often find yourself in isolated parking lots or areas.
When you’ve been a driver for a long time, you tend to be complacent about your own safety, subconsciously thinking of yourself and your skills as invincible. But it can’t hurt to be alert and practice safety on the road. Here are some tips every driver needs to keep in mind.
Maintain your vehicle
Because a car is a machine, it is made of many moving parts. With this, you need to ensure that every piece is working according to its purpose. You especially need to make sure that your car is well-maintained if you live in an area with severe weather, from snowstorms to thunderstorms, since our vehicles are often vulnerable to harsh environmental conditions. Here are some examples of parts you need to check for your own safety:
- Before winter or the rainy season comes, have your mobile windshield replaced or repaired if there is a crack or if it’s too old that it’s affecting your ability to see the road clearly.
- Do some battery performance checks to ensure that it performs optimally, especially during extreme temperatures.
- Change your tires according to the driving conditions in your area since ties are prone to what is known as the winter or snow tire.
- Make sure all the lights are working as they should, and don’t wait to have anything fixed if there is one that’s malfunctioning.
- Your motor oil and filter serve various functions in your vehicle, so consult with professionals to know if they’re in good health.
These are just some of the parts you need to maintain and inspect now and again. You can discuss with your auto mechanic to know if all the moving parts are in tip-top shape.
Get rid of distractions
It may be fun to have a podcast or a fun road trip playlist on while you drive, but if they tend to distract you on the road, get rid of them. Ultimately, we are all different, and what may be helpful to some may be harmful to you. You know what’s best for you and what types of external stimuli take focus away from the road, so test yourself now and then and see which sights and sounds tend to distract you from driving safely, and don’t turn them on next time you’re hitting the road.
Stay alert and vigilant
Being aware of your surroundings and everything that’s going on in front of, beside, and behind you is critical. Doing can help you respond in a way that keeps you and your passengers safe. Your response time is only as good as your ability to pay attention.
With this, keep your eyes on the road, and drink some coffee or an energy drink before getting in the car, especially if you’re the type to become lethargic while driving. Be flexible so that you can always choose the most appropriate response to whatever traffic challenge you may have to face.
This principle also applies when you’re on your way to your car. Take a good look around you before entering your vehicle, especially if you’re in an isolated area. This can be a self-serve gas station, parking garages, highway exit ramps, intersections with stoplights, and residential driveways.
Be a defensive driver
This is one of the first tips that newbie drivers receive, and with good reason: Safe driving is all about being aware of what other drivers are doing, accepting that anything can happen, and assuming that other motorists can be crazy enough to drive like maniacs, which means the onus is on you to avoid it. Always maintain a two-second cushion between you and the motorist in front of you, and if the weather is inclement, make it four seconds.
Driving is both a privilege and a responsibility, which means we need to do all that we can, not just to protect ourselves and our passengers but also other drivers on the road. Do right by you and by others by keeping your car maintained and improving your safe driving skills as time goes by.