If you want to keep yourself and other drivers safe, then it’s important that you know how to safely drive your car. That includes being aware of your surroundings and following traffic rules.
Whether you’re driving on the highway or navigating your way through town, follow these tips to make your trip safer and less stressful.
Keep Your Eye on the Road
Driving is a complex activity that requires visual coordination. Your eyes are essential to driving because they provide you with a wide range of information and help you respond quickly. Your eyes are also great at spotting movement and other hazards, such as vehicles or people on the road.
A major reason behind many accidents is distraction. While cell phones are a common cause of distracted driving, it’s also important to avoid other things that take your attention away from the road. Texting, talking on the phone, changing music, eating or grooming can all distract you and make it harder for you to concentrate on driving.
The best way to avoid distracted driving is to never take your eyes off the road. Studies show that if you remove your eyes from the road for 4.6 seconds, at 55 mph, it’s as though you were driving blindfolded. This can be dangerous and even fatal, so always keep your focus on the road!
It’s also important to remember that you should always use your mirrors frequently. This will allow you to scan conditions 20 or 30 seconds ahead of your vehicle, further allowing you to recognize potential hazards before they become a problem.
You should also be paying close attention to other drivers in the area, particularly if they are tailgating or trying to change lanes. This will allow you to stay a healthy distance behind them and prevent rear-end accidents.
When you are a new driver, you may want to focus all of your attention directly in front of your vehicle, but this can be dangerous. It can also cause you to miss signs or other road objects that could alert you to a problem ahead.
One of the most important things you can do when you’re driving is to scan the area around your car for hazards and traffic. This will give you the opportunity to recognize dangers before they become a problem for you and can help you with defensive driving techniques.
If you have trouble concentrating, it can be helpful to dim the lights in your vehicle. This will ensure that your eyes do not strain as much because of the additional light. You should also dim the dashboard lights to make it easier for you to see. This can also be helpful when you are driving at night.
Don’t Depend on Other Drivers
When it comes to driving, you can’t rely on others to get you from one point to the next. Not everyone follows the rules, and accidents are bound to happen. However, there are a few things you can do to minimize the risk of getting into one.
A great way to do this is to be more mindful of how you operate your vehicle. For example, if you are looking to make a left turn from the right lane into the left lane, be sure to leave plenty of room for the oncoming traffic.
Another helpful tidbit is to keep your eyes peeled for traffic signals and other road users. For example, a pedestrian crossing the road can be difficult to spot in a rush, but there are signs available to alert drivers of their presence.
If you have a new driver in the family, it is a good idea to give them some instruction on the basics of safe and courteous driving before handing the keys over. This can help them get up to speed faster. The best way to do this is to have them practice on a practice route or parking lot in front of you.
Stay a Healthy Distance Behind Other Cars
The distance you stay behind other cars while driving has an impact on your safety. The proper distance helps you avoid potential hazards and keep your reaction time up when things go wrong.
A large number of accidents occur because drivers don’t stay a safe distance from other vehicles. This happens when drivers tailgate other vehicles, which is dangerous because it reduces the driver’s ability to stop in time.
If you want to measure your own distance, the DMV recommends using a roadside object as a reference marker. Pick a point on the road and then start counting as the rear of the car in front of you crosses that fixed object.
At a minimum, during dry weather conditions, you should have at least three seconds of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. This means that you should be able to see the back bumper of the car in front of you as it crosses the fixed object.
Once you’ve reached 3 seconds, you can then move on to increasing your following distance. This can be challenging if you are in heavy traffic, but it’s a good practice that will help ensure your safety.
When you’re driving behind a larger vehicle such as an 18-wheeler or bus, you may need to keep even more distance from that vehicle. This is because they need longer stopping distances than a standard vehicle.
While this might seem like a lot of extra space, it will give you enough room to brake safely and react quickly in case something unexpected happens on the road. It will also prevent you from being cut off by other drivers that might not be as defensive as you are.
It is important to note that the safe distance you need to leave between you and other vehicles is based on your speed, weather conditions, and driving type. This is because different types of vehicles have different stopping distances, and some have a heavier load than others.
Follow the 3-Second Rule
The 3-second rule, or safe following distance, is an important driving rule that helps you maintain a healthy gap between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. It can help lower your risk of rear-end collisions and can also help ensure the safety of other drivers on the road.
This rule is based on the idea that braking distance increases with speed, so it’s best to keep your car a safe distance from the car in front of you as much as possible. This gives you enough time to react when the car in front of you brakes suddenly and can help prevent accidents from occurring.
In order to determine whether you are following another vehicle too closely, it’s important to watch how long it takes them to pass a landmark point such as a road sign, tree or other marker. Count the seconds it takes you to pass that point as well, and then try again until you’re able to leave three seconds between your car and the car in front of you.
However, this rule isn’t foolproof and it won’t work every single time. It may be necessary to increase your following distance if you’re traveling at night, in heavy traffic or in adverse weather conditions such as rain or fog.
If you’re towing a trailer or driving an RV, you might need more space between your car and the vehicle in front of you because these vehicles are heavier than passenger cars and require more stopping distance to come to a complete stop.
Moreover, if you have a power steering system that isn’t working properly, your car needs additional time to come to a complete stop as well. You’ll also need to account for the maintenance condition of your vehicle, which can affect how long it takes for you to come to a stop.
Using the 3-second rule is easy and can save you from a serious accident. It’s a great way to reduce your risk of rear-end collisions and is a good practice for all motorists to adopt.