Bad Driving Habits & How We Can Improve

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Bad Driving Habits & How We Can Improve

In the United States, driver mistakes are the leading cause of road carnages.  Studies show that distractions, lack of attention and performance errors, are the major factors contributing to road fatalities.

 

Driving safety is the ability of you as a driver to have FULL control of a motorized vehicle and react safely to the changing traffic conditions to avoid crashes and injury to yourself or your passengers.

 

There are many things to keep in mind when you’re driving.  For most people, driving is something you do naturally without a thought; and every time you do, there is always a risk.  About 1.3 million people die every year as a result of a car accident.  This is an average of over 3,200 deaths every day.  Even cautious, safe drivers can become victims in accidents.

 

We all know that driving can be of great danger, but yet we continue to develop bad habits whenever we are behind the wheel of a car.  Here I have come up with possibilities as to why these numbers are so high and how we can improve them:

 

Distracted Driving

All forms of distracted driving takes attention away from safe driving.  This puts the driver at risk and all other drivers on the road. Did you know that one of every ten fatal crashes in the U.S. involved distracted driving, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths per year.  And the leading cause of these distractions is TEXTING. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. It’s like driving the length of a football field at 55 MPH with your eyes closed.

Car Maintenance

As a car owner, it’s important that you get your vehicle serviced on a regular basis.  Without regular service, you increase the chance of your vehicle having serious problems down the road. Here are some services that need done on a regular basis to prevent serious damage to your vehicle.

 

-Regular fluid checks of oil, transmission fluid and engine coolant.   If these fluids are running low, make sure to replenish fluids immediately.  If you don’t, your engine can overheat.

-Regular oil changes.  Changing the oil regularly helps the engine run smoothly.  Suggested oil changes should be about every 3000 miles. This is important for the performance of your engine and avoiding engine problems.

-Tire pressure checks.  The wrong tire pressure can lead to excess wear and can cause the tires to be changed more often.  Too much air in the tires can result in a tire blowing out.

-Air filter checks:  A dirty air filter can shorten the life of an engine and may reduce your gasoline’s mileage by 10%.

 

Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol can cost you your license, affect your finances, relationships, employment and ultimately could cost you, your passengers or the vehicle you hit.  If you plan on drinking alcohol, plan ahead before you take your first drink. Take these steps to prevent drunk driving:

 

-If you plan on drinking, plan on not driving. Plan your safe ride home before you start the party. Designate a sober driver ahead of time.

-If you drink, do not drive for any reason. Call an uber, a sober friend or family member, use public transportation, etc.

-If someone you know has been drinking, do not let them get behind the wheel. Take their keys and help them arrange a sober ride home.

-If you see a drunk driver on the road, call the local police department.  Your actions could help save the driver’s life or another driver on the road.

Drowsy Driving

Sleep related crashes are most common in young people, especially men, adults with children and shift workers.  People who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in such a crash as those sleeping 8 hours or more, while people sleeping less than 5 hours increased their risk four to five times.  

 

Being awake for 18 hours produced an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of .05 or .10 after 24 hours; .08 is considered legally drunk.  Sleep deprivation increases the risk of a sleep-related crash; the less people sleep, the greater the risk. Sleep deprivation and fatigue make lapses of attention more likely to occur, and may play a role in behavior that can lead to crashes attributed to other causes.

 

Aggressive Driving & Road Rage

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, there is a difference between aggressive driving and road rage. Both can be caused by the following:

 

-Stress at work

-Loss of a job

-Argument with a spouse

-Fighting kids in the car

 

Aggressive driving is when a person commits a combination of moving traffic offenses that endangers another person or their property. Here are 6 common offenses:

 

-Speeding

-Lane blocking

-Tailgating

-Frequent and sudden lane changes

-Honking at other cars in a non- emergency

-Failing to yield the right of way.

 

These actions are ticketable offenses.  Aggressive driving is a factor in 50% of ALL crashes.

 

Road rage is when a person commits an act of violence against another driver.  This is a more serious criminal offense. You can go to jail for it. These acts include:

 

-Using your car as a weapon

-Dueling another vehicle in a reckless chase

-Retaliating against a driver by nudging their bumper or getting out of your vehicle and waving a weapon around with the intent to injure the other driver.

 

Driving Emergencies

Even if you consider yourself to be a good driver, you can still find yourself in a sudden driving emergency.  Here are 6 common driving emergencies and solutions:

-Skid out of Control: Don’t be tempted to slam on your brakes.  Just take your foot off the gas. If you can’t regain control of your vehicle, tap on the brakes to help your tires grip the road.

-Fishtail:  Don’t hit the brakes.  Put your foot on the gas pedal and focus your eyes on where you want to go your hands and the wheel will follow your eyes and help you regain control.

-Gas Pedal Sticks: This can happen when the heel of a shoe, your floor mat, or some other object becomes wedged and holds your gas pedal in place.  Jiggle or stomp on the gas pedal to dislodge it or shift your car into neutral.

-Steering Wheel Locks: Shift into neutral, then back into drive.  If that doesn’t work, brake to a stop and put on your flashers.  This will grab other driver’s attention.

-Brakes Fail: Keep pumping the brake pedal.  If that doesn’t work, downshift or shift into neutral.  You will begin to lose speed until you come to a stop.

-Engine Overheats:  Pull over and let the engine cool for about 30 minutes.

The greatest chance for an accident happens right in front of you.  Be sure to leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you to allow enough time to stop in a hurry if needed.  Speed is also a factor to insure safe driving. Pay attention to speed limit signs. If you’re going too fast, you won’t be able to control your vehicle, especially when road conditions are present.

 

Be alert.  If you spot a vehicle in front of or behind you showing signs of aggressive driving, slow down, or even better, pull over to avoid the situation.  Being involved in a car accident can be scary. Remember to stay calm. Asses yourself and any other passengers for injuries.  Then check on the passengers in the other vehicle and/or pedestrians who may have been near the scene.  It can be easy to get into an argument with the other driver if it’s clearly their fault. Don’t do it. Calmly exchange insurance information.   If there were witnesses to the accident, get their contact information and do the following:

-Stay put!  Leaving the scene of an accident can result in legal action against you like fines or additional violations that can send you to court or affect your driving record.

-Call 911.  Stay in the car until police arrive.  Waiting alongside the road is dangerous and can result in being hit by an oncoming vehicle.

-Contact your insurance company immediately to report the claim.  They will ask you to provide details about the accident, the accident report, and what steps to take to get your vehicle repaired.

Written by Eric's Car Care