Driving is a lot more dangerous than most people realise. It’s easy to get complacent while you’re driving – particularly on a long journey – but you should never forget that you’re travelling at speed wrapped in around a tonne of steel. The good news is that driving doesn’t need to be dangerous. There are a lot of simple things you can do to improve your driving safety. Here are our top five safe driving tips from mechanical experts Franklin Engineering.
Don’t Drive Drunk
Not driving drunk sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people still do it. Around a third of all car-related deaths in the United States are related to a drunk driver. Almost every single one of these deaths could have been avoided if the drunk driver had just found some other way to get home. Drunk driving is illegal for a reason; it puts everyone at danger, including you. If you’ve had something to drink, then don’t get behind the wheel. It’s as simple as that.
Not speeding is another one that sounds obvious, but still too many people are doing it. Speeding is also responsible for around a third of all road deaths in America. When you drive faster you’re giving yourself less time to respond to what is happening around you, and it takes longer to brake. Of course, going faster drastically increases the chances of killing anyone you hit with your car. Given that driving around 10MPH will only save you a few minutes, but increases your chances of having an accident by around 50%, it’s simply not worth it.
You should never drive if you’re tired or drowsy. Especially if you’re driving on a long stretch of road. It gets boring quickly, and tires you out even more. Being tired by itself dulls your reaction times, and sleeping at the wheel is an obvious disaster. There’s all kinds of trees and utility poles you can crash into even on an empty road. That’s not taking into account all the people and cars on busy roads. If you’re starting to feel drowsy then open the window to get some fresh air and stop for a rest when you can.
Don’t Get Too Close to Other Cars
Driving too closely to other cars – or tailgating – is just asking for trouble. You need to give yourself enough room to react if the driver in front of you does something erratic like brakes or turns a corner suddenly. It also gives you room if someone hits you from behind and pushes your car forward. A good rule of thumb is the “two second rule”. Try to stay two seconds behind the car in front of you. When the car in front passes a marker such as a sign, count how long it takes you to reach it and adjust your distance accordingly.
Maintain your Car
Driving safety is about more than what you do on the road; it’s also about what you do off the road. Keep your car maintained to keep it safe. Tire pressure is a major maintenance problem that causes crashes. Don’t forget to take care of the brakes too. If they fail, then it’s more than just your car at stake; it’s also your life and the lives of everyone around you. You owe it to yourself – and everyone else on the road – to keep your car in good condition.
Driving safely benefits you and everyone that shares the road with you. It also stops you from damaging your car and keeps you out of trouble with the police. You owe it to yourself to be a safe, defensive driver. Drive carefully and avoid taking unnecessary risks.