If you’re one of the millions of citizens who have to commute back and forth to work each day, you know how monotonous the drive can get, and though we may go through each trip without incident, you never know what may happen, and being prepared is the best way to ensure your safety each day.
If you’re a regular commuter, this blog post is for you: Here we’ve compiled ten tips to keep you safe as you commute every single day.
In order to make your daily commute, you have to have a vehicle to do it in. Therefore, the first step to a safer commute begins with – you guessed it – your vehicle.
Whether you already have a vehicle or you’re looking for a new one, you can check IIHS’ (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) website for ratings on individual vehicles, so you know right off the bat how your vehicle is expected to fare in a collision. When considering a vehicle, you’ll also want to look for the best in safety features as well, such as:
- Adaptive Cruise Control;
- Lane Departure Warnings;
- Blind Spot Detection;
- Automatic Braking;
- Back-up Assist Cameras;
- Anti-lock Braking System, and;
- 360 Air Bags
When considering a vehicle, you’ll also want to look for the best in safety features as well, such as:
- Adaptive Cruise Control or ACC. This will help you keep a safe following distance from other vehicles while driving. It also ensures that you stay within the speed limit at all times.
- Lane Departure Warnings. This is designed to send alerts when your tire touches a lane marker. This will ensure that the driver can avoid crashes that are usually caused by departing your lane.
- Blind Spot Warning (BSW) system. This device uses cameras, ultrasonic sensors, or radar to detect vehicles on your blindspot. It gives out warning when there are vehicles next to you, or behind you, when the turn signal is activated, or when it is unsafe to merge or change lanes.
- Automatic Emergency Braking or AEB is designed to activate the brakes of your car automatically when it identifies a possible collision. This will slow your vehicle before impact, or a full stop to avoid a collision completely.
- Back-up Assist Cameras. This is a device that will automatically activate whenever you shift your vehicle into reverse. With this, you will be able to see the area behind your vehicle on a display
- Anti-lock Braking System or ABS will aid you to steer during emergencies. It will restore traction to your tires, or prevent your wheels from locking up so you can steer to safety
- 360 Air Bags. Although cars already deploy airbags when it detects an impact point, getting a 360 airbag ensures your protection including your car’s exterior. This will also protect the pedestrians that may happen to be near you when the impact occurs.
Along with proper vehicle safety goes proper vehicle maintenance. It doesn’t matter how safe your vehicle is initially; if it isn’t kept running and in tip top shape, the possibility of something going wrong on the road increases, and you don’t want the worry that comes along with car problems.
There are many things you can do to maintain your vehicle’s integrity while you’re still driving it, for instance:
- Regular oil changes will help to keep the vehicle’s moving parts well lubricated. This helps to reduce the amount of friction and heat produced while the car is being operated, and thus works to reduce the chance of your vehicle overheating. For most vehicles, and oil change is recommended every three months or 3,000 miles (whichever happens first). You can, of course, go a little past this marker and still be safe, but it’s always best to not push your car too far.
- Regular tire pressure and wear checks to avoid blow-outs and poor traction on the road as normal, as well as under poor weather and road conditions. Tire monitors are cheap and easy to obtain and use, and will tell you if your tires are under- or over-inflated (the sticker on the inside driver’s side door of your vehicle will tell you the adequate pressure for your tires), and you can check the wear on your tires by the depth of the tread. Most tires have little markers in between the tread, and if you can feel them when you run your hand over the treat, it’s time for a tire replacement.
Other vehicle maintenance checkpoints include: Brake pads, lights, windshield wipers, the battery, belts and hoses, etc.
Choose Your Route Carefully
Chances are, if you’re a regular work commuter like myself, you’ve found a couple of ways to get to your regular destination.
While alternate routes help to stifle the monotony of the everyday drive, it’s important to choose the safest route of them all to maintain the safest drive possible.
This is especially helpful during rush hour traffic, where you can consider back roads or other alternate routes as the fastest, less congested, and typically safer than driving in heavy traffic after a long day of work.
Keep To Your Bubble
In other words, give adequate space to the other drivers around you. This, again, is especially important and helpful when driving in heavily congested traffic.
Leaving space between you and other drivers allows for plenty of time to stop, let people shifting lanes do so safely, and to prevent rear-ending the vehicle in front of you if a driver behind you happens to hit you.
Even in the regular flow of traffic this can be quite helpful, for many of the same reasons. The higher your speed, for instance, the longer and more time it will take you to come to a complete stop, and keeping plenty of distance between you and other vehicles will help you to react in plenty of time to avoid an accident if something happens.
Keep Your Cool
One thing that tends to distract us from driving is our emotions, especially if you are ailed by a little thing called road rage. We all know that things happen that are out of our control, and the road is no different.
When you’re stuck in traffic, trying to avoid hitting someone who’s weaving through traffic, or watching for pedestrians, keeping calm and not allowing your frustration and aggression get the better of you will keep both yourself and other drivers on the road safe.
Take a deep breath or pull over for a minute if you need to in order to maintain your cool, and everything will be just fine.
Possibly the most important commuting tip we have for you is to keep your focus on the road, and what you’re doing…which, if you haven’t caught on yet, is driving.
Yes, the same routine every single day can be tiring, and it can be tempting to fill the monotony with distractions to entertain your drive, but this should be avoided to keep you safe.
Don’t text and drive, don’t eat and drive, don’t GPS and drive – you get the idea. Keep your focus on the road and what you’re doing, and you’ll be prepared for anything.
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