5 Safe Driving Tips
Be alert. Be aware. Pay attention while driving. We've interviewed police officers from around the country — inattention was the number one cause for accidents. Statistics also support that claim: distracted driving accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the 6 million car crashes each year, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
1. Pay Attention
After interviewing police officers from around the country, we found that inattention was the number one cause for accidents. Statistics support this claim: distracted driving accounts for nearly 80 percent of the SIX million car crashes each year, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
If you're sleepy, have been drinking or are otherwise impaired, don't drive. Read our article Prevent Drowsy Driving for more tips.
Stay focused. Don't drive and
- talk on a cell phone
- eat or drink
- read or check e-mails
- put on makeup
- change the radio
WHN Tip: Cell Phones
If you must use your cell phone, use a hands-free device while driving. Many states and local jurisdictions have restrictions regarding cell phones and driving. Check with your local police department about the laws in your area.
2. Slow Down
Practice cautious driving in severe weather conditions and at night or when visibility is poor. Read our Improve Your Night-Driving Skills, Driving in the Winter and Driving in the Rain articles for more tips.
3. Keep It Running
Practice good car maintenance and have your car checked at least once a year, especially before winter.
4. Be Prepared
Prepare a Car Emergency Kit with the essential items needed in the event of an emergency — spare tire, flares, food/water, antifreeze, etc. Make sure you add winter items before it gets too cold.
5. Watch Other Drivers
Observe other drivers: the distance from their car to yours, their speed, if they're on the phone and how they drive.
More Advice from Those Who Know
Wear your seatbelt.
Obey all traffic laws and the speed limit.
SmartMotorist.com recommends following the "three-second rule." (NOTE: The distance changes at different speeds. In bad weather, double or triple the three-second rule for added safety.)
- First select a fixed object on the road ahead such as a sign, tree or overpass.
- When the vehicle ahead of you passes the object, slowly count "one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand."
- If you reach the object before completing the count, you're following too closely. Making sure there are three seconds between you and the car ahead gives you time and distance to respond to problems in the lane ahead of you.
Know what to do in case of an accident. Read our What To Do If You're In a Car Accident for more tips.
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