4 Ways to stay safe on the road
Even the safest driver on the road risks injury when there are distracted drivers nearby. The annual mileage death rate was 5 percent higher in 2015 compared to 2014. Car accidents can be the result of fatigue, stress, pets in the car, changing the music, and yes, texting. All of these are factors that contribute to distracted driving. Distracted drivers are everywhere and it is up to you to defend yourself. Here are some ways you can feel more confident on the road.
A Well-Kept Car is Key
A car that is up to date on maintenance, inspections, and replacements is a car that can save your life. When you are on the road, your car must be capable of responding the moment you react to a potential danger. Keep up to date with oil changes, air pressure, and the necessary parts that can experience wear.
Windshield wipers that do not effectively clear your vision can pose a very real hazard and worn tires can add to that danger. Choosing the right tires will prevent things like skidding or slipping on slick roads. More importantly, the tires and brakes are your first line of defense against distracted drivers. Be sure you have high quality tires and regularly inspected brake pads in the event that you need to avoid an imminent collision.
Keep Your Mental State in Mind
If you are overly fatigued, haven’t gotten enough sleep, or are emotional, you are likely not armed with all the tools you need to keep yourself safe. Your reactions must be top notch, particularly if a distracted driver is posing a threat to you. If you have been awake for 17 hours or more, your alertness matches that of a person with a blood alcohol content of 0.05.
Any medication side effects should also be taken into consideration. Learn to recognize how your medications affect you and your ability to drive. A driver under any kind of influence is not a safe driver.
Similarly, do everything you can to minimize distractions. Put your phone away when driving. Choose a radio station and stick with it. If you must travel with your pet, make sure they are properly secured and not roaming around the vehicle. And secure and display GPS devices in the appropriate places.
Your Horn is a Communication Tool
If you see a driver with their head down, not paying attention, a loud blast from your horn could startle them into avoiding a collision. However, this may also have an adverse effect. If the sound of your horn alarms the other driver into reacting, the result could be negative.
Though it is not something you should lean on as a regular tactic, honking your horn at other drivers can certainly prevent distracted driving. It can cause texters to look up, those falling asleep to wake up, and even those under the influence to come to a halt. However, keep in mind that using your horn improperly is illegal.
Don’t Assume Others Will Be Courteous
Never assume the other person is paying attention to you. Courteous drivers will make space for you to merge and drive at a safe distance behind you. Distracted drivers may not even realize that you are trying to merge or turn, resulting in the potential for a collision. It is important to remember that you cannot know if those around you are aware of you or where you’re going.
It is up to you to remember where the other drivers are, particularly drivers unintentionally keeping pace with your blind spot. Be observant, know what is going on around you, and never assume the other drivers are just as alert as you.
With the proper tools and vehicular upkeep, distracted drivers do not have to pose a threat to you or your car. An alert driver with a well-kept car has the capacity to avoid collisions regardless of the actions of others on the road. Of course, it is also important to remember that you may become part of the problem. Don’t be a distracted driver: Never drive tired, put your phone away, secure your pets, and be attentive. Your actions on the road do not affect you alone.
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