Dangerous driving habits can change your life, quite literally, or worse. Auto accidents account for approximately 1.3 million deaths per year, and while it doesn’t take two drivers to have a car accident, multiple drivers are usually involved; driving is a convenient way to travel, if done safely, it’s not just about personal safety- your driving habits can affect the lives of those on the road with you. Here are ten dangerous driving habits to avoid.
Dangerous Driving Habits Punished By Law
Another popular dangerous driving habit, speeding reduces the time that you have to react to other vehicles, and the time that they have to react to you as well. Sudden changes in the road can cause problems if you do not have the time or the space to react to them.
Driving Under the Influence
This realy shouldn’t have to be said. Not only is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol dangerous, it is also illegal, and for good reason. The effects of alcohol compound several of the other habits on this list, and given the potential for loss of life, driving while under the influence should be avoided at all costs.
Driving Without a Seatbelt
Another bad habit that you don’t hear about terribly often, but also one that should be a no brainer. You might think it’s fine to skip on the seatbelt because you aren’t going far, but it doesn’t take much speed or distance to get into a life-changing (or ending) accident. The seatbelt isn’t just insurance against your ability to drive- it just might save your life if someone else hits you.
Failure to Yield Right of Way
Oftentimes, DMV courses and road experts preach the merits of defensive driving, but rarely to they expand upon that point and explain exactly what that means. As such, yielding the right of way is not something that comes up in discussion. It’s easy to stop at a red light and go at a green one, but it’s also important to know who has priority at a four way stop, or merging into a lane, etc.
Dangerous driving habits defying common sense
Talking on the Phone
This particular distraction has become more prevalent in recent years with the advancement of mobile technology, with laws in place even requiring hands-free devices. Phone conversations, put simply, are distractions that limit your focus, hands free or not (though the latter is more dangerous.) If you have to take a call, pull over.
Driving While Exhausted
People don’t realize how much a lack of sleep affects the ability to drive, but it is significant. Being tired on the road means that you’re less likely to notice potential hazards, and moreover, less able to respond to them in a timely manner. Don’t drive if you’re tired.
Following Too Closely Behind Other Vehicles
Commonly referred to as tailgating, this might be done in impatience, or to prevent others from merging into lanes. Ultimately, it doesn’t provide any benefit to the perpetrator, but it does greatly increase the risk of an accident due to sudden stops- which put the tailgater at fault. Don’t be that guy. Seriously.
Blind spots: Check Them, Don’t Sit in Them
Typically related to the previous point, driving too close behind another vehicle just may put you in their blind spot(especially true of big trucks) which may prevent them from considering you as they drive. Likewise, you need to be aware of potential vehicles in your blind spot if you want to change lanes or make turns.
Ignoring Weather Conditions
Certain weather conditions can affect the quality of the road, making speeds typically safe dangerous. Typically, this is true of icy roads, but may also occur on roads during the first rain after a dry spell, or in situations with heavy fog.
Being a Lookie-Loo
You’ve probably heard that saying “watching a trainwreck”? Sad fact is, we people love watching something crash and get destroyed. While it may be fascinating to watch, however, it is not all that enjoyable to experience, and as such, it’s important not to watch the aftermath of wrecks or other roadside distractions, lest you end up the same way.
There are a lot of dangerous driving habits that can put you or others in harm’s way, but the development and practice of good driving habits can save lives instead. Be smart. Be safe.