Driving over the years has evolved to more than just moving your vehicle from point A to point B.
It involves your roadworthiness, your driving relationship with other road users, how you obey traffic signs, obey traffic officers, your level of patience, focus, and lots more.
A good driver is one that is respectful to other road users, is always aware of their surroundings, drives within the law, and anticipates danger that could be caused by other drivers or road users, and the environment (e.g. the weather). Becoming a good driver is not an overnight task, you have to constantly learn and take instructions from driving instructors and pass a series of driving tests to be certified roadworthy.
Here are seven practical guides to help improve your driving.
1. OBEY TRAFFIC LAWS
Safety is your paramount goal when you are on the road. Driving can be dangerous, so it is important to follow your local laws. Always abide by the posted speed limit, regardless of how open the road may feel. Never try to “beat” a yellow light and ensure to give pedestrians the right of way. Whatever the law is where you live, follow it to be the best driver you can be.
2. PROPER USE OF TURN SIGNALS
Your turn signal is your best friend. It is the main way that you can signal your intentions to other drivers. Even if you feel like nobody is around, just use your turn signal before changing lanes or turning. It is a good habit to get into as it helps prevent accidents and collusion with other oncoming vehicles.
3. PROPER USE OF SEAT BELTS
Always wear your seatbelt. Seriously, it is one of the simplest and easiest things you can do when you get in the vehicle. Wearing your seat belt should be your driving culture and tradition. It serves as a lifesaver particularly during an accident.
4. AVOID DISTRACTIONS PARTICULARLY FROM YOUR PHONE
Unless you are using a hands-free device, never use your phone while you are driving. Not only is it almost always illegal, but it is also extremely dangerous. Distractions from using cellular devices have become one of the leading cause of accidents in today’s world.
In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 415,693 drivers used cell phones on a typical day. An average American adult sends and receives about 32 messages every day. That’s about 18 billion text messages daily in the US, 541 billion texts every month, and 6.5 trillion texts every year.
This rapid rise in cell phone usage has dramatically increased the risk of individuals being distracted while driving. According to the 2020 cell phone texting and driving accident statistics, “Nearly 390,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving.”
5. THE 4 SECONDS GAP RULE
In driving there is a not-so-famous rule called “the 4 seconds gap”. This ensures proper spacing between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
Why is this 4 secs gap rule so important?
It is important because this makes you anticipate what the driver in front of you is going to do before they do it and this gives you a lot of time to avert any danger and even accidents.
It may not sound cool to you, but answer this. If you are so close to the vehicle in front of you and they suddenly make a wrong turn or stop abruptly in front of you and you apply a hard stop on your brakes, will your vehicle come to a full halt in 4 seconds or will it crash into the vehicle in front?
Yeah, you can paint a lucid image in your head and decide for yourself that employing the 4 seconds rule is a great way to improve your driving.
6. REARVIEW MIRROR SETTINGS
Do you know that your rearview mirror has 2 settings? That little tab under your rearview actually does something. Most people do not know this but it is a dimmer switch. If you find yourself squinting because of the headlights in your rearview mirror when it’s dark out, flip that tab to soften those lights up. This one simple feature can make you a much better driver in low-light conditions since you’ll have an easier time seeing what’s going on.
Some newer vehicles have a button instead of a tab. Most of the time, you just push or pull that little tab until it slides into the second position to turn the dimmer on/off. While driving ensure you adjust your mirrors correctly. In your vehicle, you have your rearview mirrors and side mirrors, these ensure you make good and safe turns without having to tilt or lean back before you reverse or turn.
These mirrors are very important as they give you actual visuals of vehicles around you and help you drive safely.
In as much as we follow all these driving practical guides, we tend to pick up some bad driving habits unconsciously over time.
7. PROPER USE OF DASHCAMS
Dashcams serve as an easy and efficient way to drive safely and monitor your driving.
A dashcam is a video recorder, a camera that is mounted on the dashboard of your vehicle to continuously record the view through your vehicle’s front windows and sometimes rear or other windows. It can also be called a dashboard camera, digital video recorder, driving recorder, or event data recorder.
What’s more, you can be directly linked to real-time feeds of what is going on in and around your vehicles at all times as the dashcam sends all your feeds directly to your device using 4G.
Smart dash cams can save energy by going on standby mode when they don’t sense any movement. When the camera senses movement, the dashcam will start recording. These smart dash cameras help you save on memory space and batteries.
Dash cams are important gadgets that you can use to re-evaluate your driving skills. At your own convenience, you can sit at home and re-watch all your driving clips, and ascertain if you are a road-friendly or an aggressive driver.
You might not be aware of your own driving habits as you may have developed some bad driving habits unconsciously over time and re-watching these videos can help you detect and be more conscious of your faults while making you a better driver.
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Name: Sruthi B
Country : Boston, USA