Don’t Be That Guy: Safe Driving Tips For All Ages

Don’t Be That Guy: Safe Driving Tips For All Ages
There comes a time in each of our lives where we leave the comfort and protection of our parents and become independent. A huge part of this is learning to drive, and though there are some of us who are quite anxious to hit the road, the majority of us – myself included, when I began learning to drive – can’t wait to get behind the wheel of our first car and join the menagerie of road patrons. The first step to this process is going through driving school, and while this step isn’t an exciting one, it’s important because it teaches things such as the rules of the road, dealing with other drivers, handling different weather conditions, and safe driving practices.

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The latter of those – safe driving practices – is probably the most important; it teaches you to be more alert when on the road, to look out for other drivers as well as keeping yourself in check, and helps to keep the road a safer place for all of us.

Here, we’ll go over several important safe driving tips to give you, the new driver, an idea of what to expect, and to give more experienced drivers a nice little refresher course. After all, we all need a little reminding sometimes, and there’s no shame in that, is there?

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Obey The Speed Limit

One of the most basic safe driving tips out there; obey the speed limit. Yes, I know that pretty much everyone exceeds the speed limit from time to time, but does that mean you shouldn’t, either? Absolutely not.

The speed limits may seem like an annoying limitation to you and your vehicle, but they are set for each part of the road for a reason and should be taken seriously. Speed limits are used not only to keep drivers safe, but also to keep the traffic flow at the desired level for that particular road.

Think about it; if you and everyone else are going 70 miles per hour on the interstate, and you come across a few going 50 mph or less, the road becomes very dangerous, both for the speed demons and the slow-and-steady-wins-the-race types. There’s nothing wrong with either, but when everyone follows the speed limit, the road becomes a safer place for all of us to be. Proper speed and following distance is one way to reduce your chances of a crash in a huge way.

VIDEO: The California DMV Explains How To Calculate A Safe Following Distance

Never Drink And Drive

This safe driving tip is mostly for those of us over the age of 21, but I won’t pretend that people younger than that don’t drink as well. I’m not condoning it, that’s just how it is.

Unfortunately, when you drink, your balance and speech isn’t the only thing that becomes impaired; your judgement and reaction time goes down the drain as well. Driving while drunk is extremely dangerous to both yourself and other drivers, and is never a good idea. In 2013 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 10,000 deaths due to alcohol related car crashes.

While that number is slowly dwindling down over the years as we concentrate more and more on the dangers of drunk driving, it is still an ever-present issue, and should always be taken seriously. If you’ve been drinking, or know you’re going to be drinking, the best thing to do is either stay home, or designate a friend you trust to drive.

VIDEO: Every 15 Minutes A Teen Dies From Drunk Driving

Utilize Turn Signals

This one is probably one of my biggest personal pet peeves, and isn’t a difficult one to stick to: turn signals.

You should always use caution when turning or changing lanes, but it’s important to remember that people aren’t mind readers. Using a turn signal is the easiest and best way to let the rest of us on the road know what your intentions are, and keep accidents and near-misses to a minimum.

Here you may be thinking: What if my turn signal is broken? Not to worry, I’m way ahead of you. If you find your turn signal (whether it be one or both of them) is broken, there are hand signals you can use to let others know what you’re about to do. While they aren’t quite as visible to every driver, they are still helpful to those in your immediate vicinity, and we’ll all thank you for using them. See? You really do learn something new every day!

The bottom line is, most people don’t use turn signals as a way to purposely send a message to other drivers. They are saying “I don’t care about the law or respecting anyone else around me.” Don’t be that guy.

Don’t Touch Your Phone

I mean it. There’s nothing within a text or even a phone call that can’t wait until you arrive safely at your destination.

Cell phones pull your attention from the road, and even though it may only be for a few seconds, when you’re driving a metal box at even a low speed, a lot can happen in that time, and a lot of damage can be done because of it, both fatal and non-fatal. The best practice is just to leave it on the seat next to you or in your bag or purse, and forget it exists until you’ve gotten where you’re going. Other drivers will thank you, your friends and family will thank you, and when you reach the end of your trip, you can check all the calls and texts you want with minimal risk. It’s a win-win for everyone.

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Avoid Distractions

Speaking of phones being a distraction, they aren’t the only things that cause your attention to be taken away from the road. When you’re behind the wheel of a moving vehicle, the only thing you should be doing is driving, and focusing on yourself and other drivers. This includes reaching for items in your bag or glove compartment, putting on makeup, fixing your hair, eating while driving and using your rearview mirror for something other than watching the road behind you or instilling fear into the hearts of your children with a single glance. You may think you’re capable of driving while doing these things, and good for you if you are, but consider this: not everyone is as talented as you think you are, and while you may keep an eye out for everyone else, there’s no way you can trust everyone else to keep an eye out for you.

These are not, by any means, the only safe driving tips you should follow, and you should always make sure that you’re doing everything you can to make the road as safe as possible, not only for yourself, but for others as well. If you want to look deeper into safe driving tips, you can go here for an entire list of various things you can do to be a more alert driver, and make safety your top priority.

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