Driving is not rocket science
. It really isn't difficult at all. I'll never cease to be amazed at the sheer number of drivers who simply choose not to drive safely. Selfish
drivers are probably the number one cause of non alcohol
-related accidents, and all because people can't remember a few simple guidelines.
Here they are:
- Use your turn signals
Turn signals are not merely there for convenience. They are a safety device. You should use the proper turn signals whenever you change lanes and before making a right or left turn. Please also take care to make sure that you don't leave your turn signal on after completing a maneuver -- this not only confuses other drivers, it makes you look stupid.
- Remember: The speed limit is a suggestion
One of the most common misconceptions is that speed limits are laws. They are not. The speed limit is a suggested safe cruising speed for traffic. You should make an effort never to drive slower than the flow of traffic. If there are other cars on the road, match your speed with theirs, even if they are all speeding. Differences in speed cause far more accidents than speed itself.
You can be ticketed for exceeding the speed of traffic around you and for going slower than the traffic around you. Both are equally dangerous.
- Drive in the right lane
Most states in the US have specific traffic laws which specify that the leftmost lane of a multi-lane road may only be used for passing and making left turns. Do not cruise in the left lane. This is not only rude, but often illegal.
Travel in the right lane. If you need to pass someone, pass them in the left lane and then get back in the right lane. This helps keep traffic flowing at a good pace and also increases safety, since people who want to go fast don't need to dart dangerously in and out between other cars.
- Be aware of your surroundings
Make a habit of checking both your rear and sideview mirrors every ten seconds or so. Keep an image in your head of where the other cars are around you. Keep tabs especially on cars in your blind spots.
If you have to make an emergency evasive maneuver for some reason, you won't have time to check your mirrors. If you already know where the other cars are, then you'll be able to react much quicker and much more safely, and hopefully avoid causing an accident.
- Put yourself in the other guy's shoes
Try to be courteous to the other drivers on the road. Remember your manners. Before you cut someone off to catch your exit, think about how mad you got last time someone cut you off. If you're on a curvy road with no passing lane and the car behind you obviously wants to go faster than you're going, pull off at a safe place and let them pass. If you're approaching a merge, leave space for at least one car to merge in front of you -- this is not only safe, it will keep traffic moving.
In general, just try to imagine how you would feel if you were the other guy. Or imagine that the other guy is a friend of yours and you don't want to be impolite.
- Be predictable
If other drivers are able to predict what you're going to do, then they'll be able to adjust accordingly. Don't make sudden lane changes or fluctuate your speed. Predictability equals safety.