The following article has been submitted by Mark Conner of www.drivesafely.info. We can all benefit from these tips – especially those driving classic cars. Please read and stay safe!
Mark’s article begins here:
Everybody makes mistakes behind the wheel. Unfortunately, this is one area where you cannot afford to continue making the same errors. The good news is that a few simple strategies can help you change your bad habits so that you can operate your vehicle safely and effectively. Here are a few tips that you can use as you learn to navigate the open road.
Know your risks
There are many factors that influence how safe you are as you drive. Age and the state where you live are both important. You also need to take into account your driving record. AutoInsurance.com explains, “The “high-risk” label is given to drivers who have too many negative items on their driving records, whether those items are too many tickets and violations, traffic accidents, convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or other offenses.”
Be honest with yourself and take the time to determine whether you drive responsibly. If your record shows that you are a high-risk driver, consult with your auto insurance company to ensure that you have ample coverage in case of an accident. You may need to find an insurer that offers a program for high-risk drivers, which means paying higher premiums, but most drivers don’t need to take this route. It’s also a good idea to sign up for a training program that emphasizes the importance of defensive driving.
What is defensive driving?
A defensive driving course is an instructor-led program that can teach you important skills. While largely held in the classroom, your defensive driver training can help you identify issues that may happen in the real world, such as a vehicle ahead slamming on the brakes without warning. Defensive driving can also help you identify your personal habits that may be putting you, your passengers, and those on the road with you at risk of personal harm.
Driving while distracted—such as by your phone, the effects of alcohol or drugs, fatigue, or unruly passengers—can be an extremely dangerous situation. As you learn your defensive driving techniques, you will become more aware of which outside factors have a negative impact on your ability to drive safely. As TeensHealth explains, distractions, including being under the influence, make it more difficult for you to react. For example, if you are driving through a neighborhood and a child runs in front of your vehicle, being sleep deprived or having had just one or two drinks can slow your reaction time, which can result in tragedy.
Many drivers tend to look at the speed limit as a suggestion rather than a set law. However, this is a dangerous mindset and one you should work diligently to overcome. Speed limits are determined by both local governments and traffic engineers and are typically considered the safest speed for that particular stretch of road.
Factors that go into these decisions include the traffic count, the condition of the road, and the size of the shoulder. Furthermore, the local population, whether it is in a neighborhood or a barren stretch of highway, is also considered. Failure to drive according to the posted speed limit can put everyone in harm’s way. Instead of driving quickly to where you need to be, the best way to slow yourself down is to simply leave early, which builds time into your trip so that you do not feel rushed.
Everyone wants to be a better driver, and the above tips can help you reach that goal. Remember, every time you get behind the wheel, you put many lives in your hands. So be responsible and take the initiative to become a defensive driver.