If you think that safe driving will put a damper on your lifestyle, think again. There were almost 750,000 hit and run accidents in 2015, which accounted for 11.7% of all accidents on record for that year. That’s why defensive driving skills are so important to have, regardless of your age or driving record. About 1.25 million people die as a result of automobile accidents every year, but many of these collisions could have been prevented had the drivers practiced the following tips for safe driving.
1. Avoid distractions
This means putting the cell phone down while you are driving. If someone calls or texts you while you’re at the wheel, either wait to respond or pull over to the side of the road to accept the call. You need to keep your focus on the road at all times instead of trying to multitask.
2. Practice defensive driving
Drive under the assumption that another driver is going to do something completely unexpected and prepare for the worse. You should always keep a two to the four-second window between yourself and other drivers and have an emergency plan in place.
3. Keep your vehicle organized
Adjust your seats and air conditioning settings before pulling out onto the road, and keep items like your ID and toll passes where you can easily reach them. If an item falls on the floorboard while you’re driving, don’t try to pick it up
4. Don’t drive under the influence
This probably goes without saying, but don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve had a few drinks or are under the influence of illegal drugs or prescription medications. Instead, call a ride-share service or have a friend or family member take you home.
5. Be cautious when switching lanes
Always make sure you turn on your signal lights when switching lanes to give other drivers sufficient notice. Quickly changing lanes or cutting off other drivers can cause accidents or trigger road rage.
6. Plan ahead
If you know that you’re going to get hungry, leave early enough to have extra time to either dine in at a restaurant or eat in the parking lot. You’re less likely to get involved in an accident if you aren’t multitasking or in a rush to get to your destination.
7. Follow the speed limits
Some drivers speed regardless of whether they’re running behind schedule, but it’s not worth it to risk your life to get to work on time. Speeding affects your ability to stop for changing lights or other vehicles in a timely manner.
8. Don’t drive when you’re sleepy
Falling asleep at the wheel continues to contribute to automobile accidents. Although this is a huge problem for truck drivers who spend long hours on the road, anyone can fall asleep while driving if they’re tired enough. At the very least, drowsiness affects your ability to focus on the road.
9. Always wear your seat belt
Seat belts don’t prevent accidents, but they do save lives. You are more likely to survive an automobile accident if you are wearing your seatbelt. Also, buckle in your children and don’t let them climb around in the car.
10. Be careful driving in bad weather
Heavy rain decreases visibility and your car could easily spin off the road when the streets are icy. If you can, pull over until the weather improves.
While you could escape an accident unscathed, you could also end up dead or in the hospital with a painful catheter. Between 15 to 25% of hospital patients need a Foley catheter inserted to pass urine through the bladder. By following these ten tips, you can avoid these issues while practicing defensive driving.