Let’s face it, we learn to drive pretty young, and as soon as we have passed the test and got our license, we can quickly slip into bad habits. Not checking mirrors as often as we once did, not driving the speed limit, and not buckling up are all small things that we can do that can make us bad drivers. But the question is, who wants to be labeled as a bad driver? No one! If you want to be a better driver, then the good news is that there are a number of things that you can do to ensure that you are driving smoothly and efficiently, and just as well as can be.
There are a lot of smart devices and tech that can help us to drive well too. From electric cars that can park the car for us to dash cams and navigation systems, we can save time and effort on our journeys. The key thing with automotive technology is to not get complacent. You shouldn’t try to rely on these technologies, but rather use them to help you. You should still know how to parallel park without it doing it for you, for example. So if you want to improve your driving, here are some of the things that you should be doing. Your passengers, fellow road users, and auto insurers will thank you for it.
Learn to be better at controlling your speed
Speed control is something that is hard to master. However, it can be something that is much better for your fuel economy. Not only that, but it can be a much more pleasant experience for passengers in your car, as well as for other drivers. Modern cars can be more tricky to navigate speed with, as they are often much quieter, making it harder to hear the tone of the engine. However, you can still take steps to be better at controlling your speed. Being more aware of your surroundings can be one thing. For example, if you take over a car but then have to slow down and not get much further ahead anyway, because of the conditions of the road or what is going on around you, it can be frustrating for all involved. Know the areas and the speed limits, and make sure that you are driving at an appropriate speed for the limit.
If you are someone who speeds up and slows down all the time, then it isn’t a very fuel efficient way to drive. Speed control isn’t just about going quickly either. If you are driving too slowly and being too hesitant, then it can be dangerous for all involved. If you are constantly breaking when going down a hill, for example, then it can do a lot of damage to your brakes, and to that of the other drivers behind you, when you are allowed to maintain your speed downhill.
Don’t drive tired
You might feel like this is hard to avoid sometimes, but when you are tired and driving, your reaction times are much slower than if you were fully alert and awake. If you are particularly tired, then your brain could even start to shut down as you drive, leading to a microsleep, which is one of the most dangerous things that you can do. You could crash into other cars, into barriers, and cause some significant injuries to yourself and others. Falling asleep at the wheel is something that can happen and as you’re not able to brake before crashing into something, you will be hitting something at full speed. It is very risky and very dangerous, so just avoid doing it. Pull over and have a nap if you feel like you need one.
Don’t drink and drive
This should go without saying. However in the US, there are around twenty-eight drivers that drive under the influence of drink each day. Although not all of them will lead to deaths, of themselves, other drivers, or pedestrians, there are a number of reasons why driving under the influence (DUI) is a massive no-no. Don’t even think about it. You aren’t fully in control when you drive in this way, so just avoid, avoid, avoid. As well as causing injuries and even deaths, you need to think is DUI a felony in the state that you live in? More than likely it will be, so being caught can lead to large fines, as well as driver’s license potentially being taken away, as well as the risk of going to prison. If you want to be a good driver, then never drink and drive.
Keep your knowledge up-to-date
The rules of the road can and do change. Are you up-to-date on all of the rules of the road, especially on the rules that can vary from state to state? If you want to be the best driver that you can be, then every few months it is a good idea to read up on any changes, and perhaps even take an online quiz about rules of the road. It can be hard to know everything all the time, but if you at least give yourself a chance of knowing what new signs mean or what legal changes there have been, it can make a big difference to how you drive. Not only that, but it can also mean that you avoid fines as you will know what to do and when. When it comes to this kind of thing, ignorance is not an excuse.
Leave distractions at home
We can have so many distractions in life, but when you are driving, it is so important to make sure that you don’t have them with you. Your focus when you are driving needs to be driving and nothing else. If you are thinking of the person that you need to call or thinking about your to-do list, then you can easily miss your turning, leading you to do a dangerous u-turn in the middle of the road. You could also miss seeing a red light or do something else dangerous if you’re trying to text or call someone when driving. Get yourself ready and in the mode of driving as soon as you get in the vehicle. Then you will be able to really minimize the distractions which are going to minimize your chance of being in an accident or causing one yourself.
Match your speed to what is going on around you
There are a number of reasons why being cautious of your speed is important for a good driver. For example, the speed limit is a limit; it isn’t something that you should try to aim for necessarily. If the people around you are all going a little slower, then the chances are that they are doing so for a reason. If you want to be a better driver, then think about those people around you and what speed they are going at.
If you want to go slower, then make sure that you stick to the side of the lane that will allow people to overtake you, when safe to do so, of course. Matching your speed is something to be aware of too. For instance, if you are joining the freeway, then you will want to match what the other cars are doing. This will allow you to join the road safely and easily and not cause any problems (such as joining at 40mph when everyone else is driving 80mph). Just be wary of what is going on around you.
Avoid weaving in and out of traffic
When there are already a lot of cars on the road, what is one thing that is not going to be helpful? Weaving in and out of traffic, of course. All this does is slow things down more and cause more of a buildup of traffic behind you. When you drive to change lanes, other drivers around you have to put their brakes on or take their foot off the gas in order to allow you space to get in. The people behind them will have to do the same, and so on. So weaving in and out is actually going to make any traffic jams much worse. Stay in your lane, avoid weaving in and out, and all roads, whether freeways or not, will flow much more easily.
Leave a gap between you and the car in front of you
It is always recommended to leave a gap of around 2 or 3 seconds from the car in front you. You can measure this by starting to count the seconds from when they go past a particular point, such as a sign or traffic lights, and then seeing what you’ve counted to by the time you also reach the point. Of course, the bigger the gap that you have, the safer the driver you will be as you will be giving yourself a chance to stop and have enough braking time. You will also have more time to react to what goes on around you, from a pedestrian stepping out onto the road or something else unexpected.