7 Safe Driving New Year’s Resolutions For 2019
Each year, over six million automotive accidents are reported throughout the United States. Far too often, the collisions result in extensive vehicle damage, serious injuries, and even loss of life. To help keep you and your family safe this year, here are some tips to help make a few key adjustments to your driving habits to reduce your crash risk. To make sure these habits stick, make each one a New Year Resolution for a safe and happy 2019.
- Use Your Lights
Your ability to properly signal turns, stops and emergency maneuvers depends on the proper function of your blinkers, tail lights and hazard lights. You can verify these systems work by turning them on then walking around your vehicle.
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After verifying your lights are working, always use them to indicate your intent while driving. Also, remember to flip on your headlights in inclement weather and right before dusk to keep your vehicle highly visible to other vehicles.
2) Pay Attention to the Road Ahead of You
Each year, just over 400,000 people are injured in accidents involving distracted drivers. With the use of mobile devices on the rise, this number will likely continue to increase unless drivers commit to redirecting their attention to the road ahead. Although texting remains a talking point when it comes to driving safety, other forms of distraction may include: Eating, Talking with others, Changing radio stations, Inputting navigation information, Applying makeup, Reading, Watching movies.
To dramatically improve your safety while driving, you can simply pull over momentarily to complete these actions. Upon returning your attention to the road, signal and merge back into traffic to safely continue on your way.
3) Don’t Speed
Although speeding often feels like it gets you to your destination much faster than normal, the truth is that even a 20 MPH increase in speed does very little for your arrival time. If you are traveling 10 miles to your destination, driving 20 MPH over the speed limit of 55 MPH will only save you just under three minutes total. Your risk of getting into a collision doubles with each 5 MPH increase in speed. The risk of sustaining fatal injuries also increases for not just you and your passengers, but other vehicles and pedestrians in your path.
4) Use Safe Following Distances
Many people forget to utilize the three second rule while driving, which can result in unsafe following distances. While following other cars too close, you may not have enough time to stop if a hazard appears in front of the vehicles in your path.
To give yourself enough time to stop, follow with a three second delay when driving on dry surfaces in low traffic conditions. To check your following distance, pick a stationary object ahead and start counting when the vehicle in front of you passes it by. If you pass that object before three seconds have passed, you will need to slow down to adjust your following distance. In hazardous weather, heavy traffic or other potentially risky driving situations, increase your following distance even further.
5) Commit to Safe Merging Practices
The zipper merge technique is actually the most efficient and safest way to combine two lanes of traffic. Instead of stopping short to merge into the continuing lane early, simply stay in the lane until arrows appear. Then, turn on your blinker and slow down to match your speed with the vehicles in the adjacent lane before smoothly merging over. If you are already in the continuing lane, move your vehicle forward at a steady, predictable pace and leave enough room for one car to zip in at the merge point.
6) Say in the Right Lane Unless Passing
While driving down roadways with two or more lanes on each side, you can stay out of the way of fast moving vehicles by staying in the right lane unless you are passing another vehicle. By traveling in the right lane, you lower the risks associated with speed differences between two or more vehicles. Left lane drivers will be able to fly past you without weaving around vehicles, which will also help prevent your involvement in a collision. This will help you stay out of legal trouble as well, as it is illegal in many areas to remain in the left lane indefinitely.
7) Show Respect for Other Drivers
Displaying respect for your fellow drivers can help set the tone for your entire drive. You can show your respect for other drivers by offering a wave as thanks allowing you to merge into their lane. When you notice another driver making a mistake, pilot your vehicle out of harm’s way and remain vigilant. Pointing out the mistake by honking, yelling, or gesturing will only increase stress levels and heighten emotions for all parties involved. Your positive attitude can help you avoid road rage prone drivers while keeping your own stress levels low throughout the drive.