Everyone has been guilty of some dangerous driving habits at one time or another. As hard as it may be to admit it, many expose themselves to more risk on the road than is necessary on a weekly basis. The first step towards reducing these risks is to identify them and admit to risky behaviour. By tackling the problem openly and honestly, you can begin to make the road a safer place for yourself and others.
Wear Your Seatbelt
Many of the habits that people develop as drivers are meant to keep them safe. However, when the devices and procedures designed for safety are not used properly, they can actually put drivers in more danger. Safety belts are a prime example of this danger. Seatbelts save thousands of lives each year—but only when they are used correctly.
The problem is that many drivers will buckle up but then tuck the shoulder belt under their arms to make their necks more comfortable. In the event of an accident, having this part of the seat belt tucked under the arm can increase the risk of broken ribs, bruising, and internal injuries. Seat belts were not designed to protect the human body in this position against the extreme forces of collisions. If you cannot stand to have the belt in the proper position, then you should purchase the padding straps that can be attached to this portion of the strap. There really is no substitution for wearing a seatbelt correctly.
Proceed With Caution
Drivers often feel that they are maintaining their own safety by driving slowly. In some instances, this precaution can be truly helpful. In other cases, driving too slowly can actually present greater risks to all of the drivers on the road. When you are driving on the highway, there are minimum speed restrictions for a reason. If you are travelling well below the speed limit, then other drivers who are travelling at much greater speeds may become frustrated if they are unable to pass you. Due to this frustration, they are much more likely to perform dangerous and aggressive maneuvers to get around your vehicle. It is wise to move with the speed of traffic that surrounds you whenever possible.
State Your Intentions
Turn signals are another safety device that is great for keeping drivers out of harm’s way. When they are in proper working order, turn signals are ideal devices for letting other people on the road know of your intentions for changing lanes or turning corners. However, safety signals that are not working properly or that are left flashing for extended periods of time can actually put people in danger. The experience of driving down the highway behind a driver whose turn signal flashes for mile after mile is frustratingly common. There is relatively little harm being done in this situation; chances are that driver isn’t planning on taking a sharp left off of the freeway.
In a more urban setting, on the other hand, driving with turn signals flashing can pose a danger to people operating bicycles, motorcycles, and other cars. You are telling these individuals that you will be performing one action when, in fact, you are going to be going in a completely different direction. It is important to be contentious of braking and turn signals that you are displaying to other drivers. In addition, have these signals checked regularly to ensure that they are in working order.