Sadly, there have been too many avoidable car accidents that have happened over the years.
Properties were damaged.
People were injured.
Lives were lost.
If only more people were aware of how to be safe while behind the wheel.
Well, it’s never too late to start.
This is why, today, we’re going to give you 12 road safety tips that will make you a better and safer driver to avoid accidents.
So buckle up and let’s go!
Dangerous Driving Situations
Several scenarios make driving dangerous. Some are brought about by our environment, whether these mean unfavorable weather conditions or simply driving at night.
At other times, drivers cause these situations. Our driving behavior could often make or break safety standards on the road.
Let’s explore these more closely.
Some conditions are more dangerous than others. It’s not anyone’s fault — that’s how nature works.
It’s crucial to understand that we need to be more careful in some situations.
Driving in the Rain
Intense storms can lessen visibility while you’re driving. Wet roads also decrease road traction, making it difficult to control your car.
When rainwater pools on the road, it may lead to hydroplaning. However, even if the rain doesn’t reach typhoon levels and there aren’t any floods, it doesn’t automatically mean the roads are safe. A fatal crash is still 27% more likely.
Driving in Winter
If rain causes challenges to drivers, so does snow. Ice and slush on the road significantly reduce traction. Frozen patches may cause your car to skid.
You’ll also need more time and distance if you want to stop, which could be disastrous if pedestrians are crossing and you can’t halt on time.
Traveling across steep hills may also become problematic. Since your car’s tires can’t grip the ground well, gravity works against you. There’s a chance that you’ll slide backward while climbing or accelerate when coming down.
Driving at Night
Be prepared to deal with several challenges if you’re on the road after sunset. These include fatigue and compromised night vision.
The situation is compounded during winter when days are shorter. It means people will find themselves driving longer in the dark.
You may have less accurate depth perception at night, and the glare of an oncoming vehicle’s headlights may temporarily blind a driver.
There’s not much we can do regarding rain, snow, and darkness. Mother Nature controls them. However, sometimes, what makes roads dangerous are the drivers themselves.
Some driver behaviors make roads more dangerous. Speeding, driving under the influence, and driving while distracted are premium examples of these.
Since these are all directly within our span of control, we can make a conscious choice.
Top 12 Safety Tips While on the Road
There are several safety practices that we can demonstrate. Here are the top 12 road safety tips.
1. Have All Your Documents At All Times
It’s crucial to have proof of registration and insurance if an officer pulls you over. You must also be carrying a valid license.
Drivers who know they can’t show proper documentation often take pains to avoid being caught — even if it means driving away too fast or swerving through traffic.
2. Keep Your Car Roadworthy
Each time you take your car for a drive, you contribute to its wear and tear. Although you can’t keep everything in pristine condition forever, it’s best to ensure that your car is well-maintained.
It means ensuring that:
- Your tires aren’t bald, and the tire pressure is correct.
- You have ample car fluids, such as engine oil, coolant, washer fluid, and brake fluid.
- You’re keeping track of when your battery expires.
- Your car has enough fuel in its tank.
- All your accessories are working — these include your lights, power windows, side, and rearview mirrors, and dashboard instrumentation.
3. Wear Your Seatbelt
Remember, safety comes first. Having airbags is not a good reason to avoid buckling up when driving.
Even if you do your best to avoid an accident, sometimes it can’t be helped. If you crash into an object or another vehicle, wearing a seatbelt helps prevent serious injuries.
The shoulder strap keeps you from hitting the wheel, while the one in your lap stops you from flying off your seat. In 2017, seatbelts saved 15,000 lives.
4. Be Wary of Heightened Emotions
Being caught in traffic is never fun, especially if you’ve had a long day.
If someone cuts you off, it’s normal to feel your temper rising. But giving in to road rage is never the answer.
Heightened emotions (whether you’re feeling anger, grief, or excitement) affect your driving ability. You’re less likely to think things through. It might lead to arguments or, worse, accidents.
If you need to calm yourself down, pull over and give yourself a little breathing space. Once you’re in a better state of mind, you can go.
5. Plan Your Trip
If you’re going for a longer drive, make sure you build in time for breaks, food, or rest stops. If it means leaving an hour and a half earlier, so be it.
When you need to be somewhere and feel like you don’t have enough time, you’re more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors. Speeding and swerving are examples of these.
Not taking time to eat or go to the bathroom also makes you uncomfortable. Your full attention won’t be on the road, resulting in less awareness of your surroundings.
6. Keep Within the Speed Limit
As mentioned in the previous tip, speeding is considered a high-risk driving behavior. In 2019, there were 9,478 recorded deaths involving it.
It’s easier to lose control of your car if you’re going beyond the speed limit. If you experience a collision, your momentum also increases the impact. It results in more severe injuries.
What’s more, it reduces the effectiveness of your car’s safety features (such as airbags, seatbelts, and traction control) and those in your immediate environment (like guard rails).
7. Avoid Distractions While Driving
Distracted driving is often associated with using electronic devices while driving your car. However, its definition is “anything that diverts your attention” from the road.
It means more than texting or scrolling through social media — it also applies to eating and drinking in your car. You’ll be distracted if you have kids creating a commotion in the back.
The same goes if you’re driving with overexcited friends, arguing with your partner, or playing super loud music. Pull over and finish your business if needed. It’s a better alternative than trying to settle things while being behind the wheel.
There’s a reason why most states have laws against distracted driving. Over 3,000 people lost their lives because of it in 2020.
8. Don’t Tailgate
Having enough space between you and the vehicle ahead can help you avoid crashing into it if it suddenly stops.
Applying the 3-second rule is an effective way to gauge if you have the appropriate distance. Start by choosing a stationary object like a traffic sign.
When the car in front of you passes it, count one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand. You have enough space if you finish counting before reaching the traffic sign.
9. Don’t Drink and Drive
It might sound like common sense, but most people interpret it as “don’t drive if you’re drunk,” which isn’t necessarily the case.
Even if you’re not drunk, having a bit of alcohol in your system already affects your driving ability. And by a bit, we mean two alcoholic drinks.
If you know you’re the designated driver for the night, it’s best to remain sober.
10. Adjust to the Weather
As covered in the previous section, some weather conditions make the road riskier. Change your driving behavior depending on what’s happening outside.
If it’s raining or snowing, slow down. A slower speed gives you better control of your vehicle.
If you’re driving at night, make sure you’re alert. Ensure your lights are on so you can see the road.
11. Be Present and Mentally Alert
See if there’s another way to travel besides driving if you’re feeling tired or under the weather. It isn’t just alcohol that impairs your driving ability.
Some medications can have a similar effect. Fatigue after a sleepless night or an all-nighter may also put you in an unfavorable condition to get behind the wheel.
If you’re sick, perhaps staying home and resting are the best things to do.
12. Drive Defensively
Like the weather, other drivers’ behavior is also out of our control. Although you might not be speeding, driving distracted, drowsily, or under the influence, they might be.
Defensive driving means looking ahead, keeping alert, and continuously surveying your environment. It makes spotting potential hazards easier.
Identifying risk is one thing — reacting to it is another. That’s the focus of defensive driving.
Don’t assume that other drivers will follow road rules all the time. If you do, you’re more likely to be caught off-guard if they don’t.
The Wrap Up
Well, that was a lot, wasn’t it? But there’s nothing more important than being safe when you’re on the road.
Remember these road safety tips, and you’ll be in safe hands. It’s not just your safety you’re responsible for — it’s also your passengers and the people around.
So follow these 12 road safety tips and you’ll be a safe and responsible driver.