Once you’ve passed your driving test and earned your licence, you instantly feel yourself relaxing and embracing your newfound freedom. Overtime, your confidence as a driver increases, and you don’t need to think about checking your mirrors or driving in the right gear as often. However, sometimes confidence makes you cocky, and bad habits start to develop the more time you spend behind the wheel. Some are relatively harmless, but others can put yours and other people’s lives at risk just as surely as you would if you were driving drunk. Here are some habits you need to stop doing now to keep the roads safe.
Texting while driving
Driving drunk is absolutely the most reckless thing you could do, but some statistics are showing that texting while driving might quickly become the next biggest driving danger. According to the National Highway & Transportation Administration (NHTSA) website, the dangers associated with drunk driving and texting while driving are similar. Both cause distraction and impaired driving that can result in following too closely, not being able to brake on time or weaving into oncoming traffic. Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year in the United States, on average 3,287 deaths a day. If you are found responsible for causing a crash because you were texting and driving, the family could sue you for wrongful death, which could mean you’d have to pay compensation. These accidents are so easily avoided, especially with all the hands-free technology now available in cars, so there is no reason to be so distracted while driving.
Speeding in bad weather
Speeding in general is dangerous, and it’s the second leading cause of traffic fatalities after drunk driving. However, it’s even worse when bad weather conditions are factored into the equation. You might have all-wheel driving, or snow tires, but this is no excuse for driving fast in unfavorable conditions. When the road surface is slippery, a 3,500- to 5,000-pound vehicle will probably skid if you need to slow down in a hurry. You can’t argue with the laws of physics; slow down, and leave plenty of space between you and the car in front to avoid an accident.
Failing to yield the right of way
Of all the things that could cause car accidents, you might not think that failing to yield the right of way would be one of them. Waiting to turn left against oncoming traffic, yielding to the driver on your right at a 4-way stop, allowing pedestrians to cross safely — these are all covered in basic driver’s education, yet everyday drivers get caught up in unnecessary accidents simply because they forgot to follow the rules of the road. No matter how long you’ve been driving, you must never forget the basic rules of road observation; it could save lives.
Driving is a privilege, but you must always bear in mind that you are operating heavy machinery. Adopting good habits will keep you, and others, safe on the road.