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Stay Safe, Stay Alive: Simple Tips For Driving Safety

You can research auto safety ratings till the cows come home, but the bottom line is that the most important factor in auto accident prevention is related to your driving habits. Here are some basic dos and don’ts to improve your chances of arriving safely at your destination every time you get behind the wheel:

Pay attention to the road:

While driving distractions can include activities like eating, talking to passengers, grooming or adjusting the radio, the primary culprit is talking on the phone and texting. The advent of cell phones and other hand-held devices has led to a worldwide epidemic of unsafe driving habits. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, using a hand-held device while driving makes you four times more likely to have an accident serious enough to cause injuries. In particular, sending or receiving texts while behind the wheel multiplies your risk of a crash by a factor of 23.

Ease up on the accelerator:

Safe driving means more than just obeying the speed limit to avoid getting a ticket. Adjust your MPH according to driving conditions like rain, fog or snow, when visibility is hampered and roads are slick enough to make stopping more difficult. Make concessions for traffic conditions when roads are clogged with traffic and lanes are merging. A decrease in your speed can make a big difference when it comes to arriving at your destination unscathed.

Don’t be a bumper rider:

Tailgating is the primary cause of rear-end conditions. You never know when the driver in front of you is going to brake suddenly for an animal, pedestrian, or to avoid a collision with another driver. Use the three-second rule to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you: when they pass a stationary object, it should take three seconds before you reach it. Raise the amount of time to six seconds at night or during low visibility conditions.

Stay wide awake:

Studies show that drowsiness is a significant contributor to driving accidents. Whether it’s caused by lack of sleep or prescription drugs, when your ability to focus is hampered, you’re much more likely to make errors in judgment or to lose control of your vehicle altogether. If you’re drowsy from lack of sleep, pull over safely and rest until the feeling passes. Even a brief nap can restore your ability to focus and prevent you from falling asleep at the wheel. Medications can also cause drowsiness, so read labels carefully to know if the side effects are going to impair your driving skills.

Alcohol and driving = trouble:

Always forego getting behind the wheel when you’ve had too much to drink. Appoint a designated driver when you know you’re going to imbibe. Err on the side of safety when you’re not sure if you’ve had one too many. Calling a cab or asking a friend for a ride can save you and others from catastrophe.

Don’t become another accident statistic:

Add these simple but effective tips to your driving tool-belt and you’ll significantly enhance your safety on the road.