5 Simple Ways to Be an Even Safer Driver

| March 13, 2016 | 0 Comments

safer driverDriving accidents and fender benders are all too common, even when we’re doing everything that we’re supposed to be doing while on the road. Natural accidents occur, driving conditions are often less than ideal, and drunk drivers still get behind the wheel (in fact, this article infers that that trend may be on the rise).

While you might already do the typical things such as obey traffic laws and keep your phone out of reach as you drive, here are five more things you could be doing to be an even safer driver on the road.

Understand multitasking.

Many of us approach driving with the belief that we are good multitaskers, and that several in-car activities don’t actually count as multitasking. The truth is, however, that multitasking in the car is never truly safe, as participating in these distracting activities actually requires our brains to rapidly shift between two cognitive activities.

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Even the simplest of activities fall under that multitasking umbrella, including eating, applying lip balm, talking on your cell phone, changing music, and studying the surrounding landscape. Resolve not to multitask while driving, and remember not to justify even the smallest of distractions. Until we have autonomous cars (a topic you can read more about here), it really isn’t an option.

Keep safe driving essentials in your car.

You may very well already keep a few items stashed in your car for safer driving, but chances are there are a few things that your car could still use. Assuming you’ve already taken care of emergency items like jumper cables, blankets, a phone charger, and flares, here is a brief list of things that can help keep both you and your car in top driving condition on a regular basis.

  • Ice scraper and brush. A dual ended ice scraper and brush will allow you to scrape ice off of your windshield and windows, as well as brush off any powdery snow that accumulates, before you get into your car. It’s crucial that you clear your car of ice and snow thoroughly before getting on the road; many drivers have a habit of leaving a thick layer of snow on the car roof, and this snow can easily blow off of your car and onto another car’s windshield when you’re on the freeway.
  • Tire pressure gauge or portable tire inflator. Many drivers neglect keeping up with tire pressure, but proper tire pressure is essential for safe driving. Driving with underinflated tires can increase your stopping distance, overheat your tires, and make your tires more susceptible to running over sharp objects (because more tire hits the road).
  • If you don’t already have a good pair of sunglasses in the car for extra sunny days, now is the time to get one. Sure, they come in handy on sunny days, but sometimes they really can prove essential for safe driving—especially if you commute to work as the sun is still rising.
  • Eyeglasses (and a contact lens case). If you usually wear contacts when you drive, it’s a good idea to keep a spare pair of eyeglasses in your car. You never know when one of your contacts might begin to bother your eye so much that it inhibits your driving. Having a pair of eyeglasses and a contact lens case on hand allows you to stop somewhere and switch to eyeglasses so you don’t have to attempt to drive with irritated eyes.
  • Baseball cap. As this article suggests, even a simple baseball cap can help you drive more safely by keeping hair out of your face when the car windows are down.

Carpool.

safer driverIn addition to saving on gas money, preserving the environment, and decreasing traffic on the roads, carpooling has another advantage you may not have considered: safety. Imagine how much safer it is to have an extra set of eyes and ears on the road with you as you drive.

Check road conditions along with weather.

Many people are used to checking the weather in the morning, but fewer will check road conditions along with the weather. This is an especially important thing to do during the winter months.

Instead of assuming that roads will be clear for safe driving, or that the snow plows in your area have done their job, check online or by phone to get your local driving conditions. This can help you determine which roads to take and which ones to avoid. Your local Department of Transportation might even make this easy by sending you live text updates.

Know where you’re going before you start driving.

Instead of letting your GPS tell you where to turn when you get to each and every turn, stop for a moment before leaving for your destination and get a good grasp of the route you’ll be taking. This will prevent the GPS from becoming a distraction while you’re driving to a new place.

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