We all share the road, and we all have a responsibility to make our roadways as safe as possible. That means practicing good driving habits and avoiding bad ones.
These are the seven worst driving habits. Are you guilty of any of these?
Speeding is a factor in nearly 30% of deadly car accidents. You might think you have control over your vehicle while you’re flying down the highway, but all it takes is one sharp turn, one bit of debris in the road, or one unexpected pedestrian crossing the street to turn you into a statistic.
Driving the speed limit gives you more lead time to respond to unexpected circumstances on the road. And this can save your life.
2. Getting Distracted
Distractions while driving cause thousands of American deaths each year. In 2020 alone, over three thousand Americans died as a result of distracted driving.
Phones may be the biggest distraction. You get a new text, and you just need to “check it real quick.” But that quick check takes your eyes off the road. And when you’re traveling at high speeds, a lot can happen in the short time your eyes are on your screen.
State traffic laws take texting a driving very seriously. In Alaska, for example, first-time offenders can be fined up to $10,000 and can spend up to a year in jail.
Following other cars too closely is a recipe for disaster. If that car brakes unexpectedly, you could hit them. Some drivers will even give tailgaters a “brake check” by suddenly braking for no reason. By the way, brake checking is a bad idea too. It is supposed to make the tailgater back off, but the brake-checker risks getting rear-ended.
You need to stay far enough back that you have time to react to the movement of the car in front of you. Following the three-second rule will make you a much better driver.
4. Weaving In and Out of Traffic
There’s nothing wrong with changing lanes. It’s often necessary to get around slow vehicles or make room for cars to merge. But weaving in and out of traffic is just reckless. You need to give yourself time to follow the proper lane-change steps each time to change lanes.
5. Losing Your Temper
Road rage takes rational people and turns them into aggressive monsters.
Want to hear something terrifying? Over one-third of road rage incidents involve at least one driver with a firearm in their vehicle. And road rage results in around 30 murders each year. Don’t allow road rage to get the best of you. And don’t engage with other road rage drivers.
If another driver makes a mistake, show them some grace. And if you’re on the receiving end of a road rager’s tantrum, let it go. Yelling back will only make things worse. And you have better things to do than worry about some immature driver.
6. Failing to Use Your Turn Signals
Part of sharing the road is communicating properly with other drivers. Other drivers deserve to know if you intend to turn. When they know what you’re planning to do, they can work around you. The driver behind you can slow down to give you time to turn down a side street. Or the cars around you on the highway can anticipate your lane change and give you space.
7. Staying in the Left Lane
You might think of the left lane as the fast lane. And you’re partly right; slower traffic should keep to the right so faster traffic can pass on the left. But once you’re safely around the slower traffic, you should move back over into the right lane and keep the left lane clear for other drivers to use as a passing lane, or even for emergency vehicles, which can come up quickly and unexpectedly.
Ready to Brush Up on Good Driving Habits?
If it’s been a while since driver’s ed, it might be time for a refresher course. A driver improvement course can help you become a safer driver, lower your auto insurance premiums, or even erase a traffic ticket! Enroll in an online driver improvement course today!