Driving is one of those things that is easy to take for granted after a while. We get so used to getting into our vehicles and taking off without giving it much thought. However, we need to be mindful of safe driving habits so that we don’t model poor driving for children who may be watching us. We should also be aware because we never know who is on the road with us; it is important to maintain our defensive driving skills.
The most important safe driving habit is to pay attention. Most accidents happen simply because people are not paying attention to the road. Don’t apply your makeup or text while driving. Although many people do it, even eating and drinking while driving are not advisable, not to mention those who choose to drive after drinking alcohol. Anything can happen in the blink of an eye and when we are in control of such large and dangerous things like cars and trucks, we have to be vigilant. It is best to be attentive and not cause ourselves to become distracted. When using a drive-through, whether for food or banking, pull over to the side and finish doing what you need to do prior to joining traffic.
Another safe driving habit to maintain is driving the speed limit. New vehicles become more aerodynamic every year, giving us a false sense of how fast we travel in them. It is easy to find ourselves going ten or fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit. Remain mindful of speed limits, because they exist to keep us safe. During inclement weather, such as rain and snow, drive even slower. Doing so helps you avoid accidents and save money on gas.
Slowing down will also help you follow another safe driving habit: give other vehicles room. No one likes tailgating, so don’t creep up on the car in front of you. When people tailgate with the hope of forcing the vehicle they are behind to speed up, that is bullying behavior. No one should feel pressured to make unsafe driving choices simply because the person behind them is impatient. It is dangerous behavior and can cause serious accidents. On the highway, it is a good rule of thumb to keep three car lengths between you and the person in front of you. That way you have enough response time should something go awry.
Remember: driving is not a competition. Safe driving habits keep you safe and contribute to the safety of our streets. By remaining attentive while driving, you will decrease the likelihood of something going wrong and increase the likelihood of a good response if another driver makes an unsafe decision. Driving is not just about jumping behind the wheel and reaching your destination. Driving is an act of responsibility and an opportunity to practice healthy behaviors that reflect your level of self-worth.