Even the most experienced drivers can pick up bad habits. This happens over time as we become more comfortable behind the wheel.
The problem with these bad habits is that they not only put you at risk while you’re on the road but other people that are driving around you and following the rules of the road.
There are things you can do to help get your driving back on track. Not only will these tips help keep you and others safe on the road, but they’ll serve as a reminder to share the road with other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.
- Back to basics
Some of the basic rules of the road are the easiest to forget when you’ve been driving for a while. For example, remaining in the left lane of the street you’re turning on to when you’re making a left turn at an intersection, always using your turn signal, or stopping completely at a stop sign. These are only a few of the bad habits that should be corrected; they’re instrumental in keeping the roads safe. Driving while you’re in a rush, tired or dealing with another distraction should be avoided as they can also lead to reckless driving.
- Check your mirrors
Just because you drive the same car every day doesn’t mean the mirrors can’t move slightly. Maybe someone moved your car or borrowed it to run to the store, if so, they likely adjusted the mirrors. You should check your side mirrors and rear-view mirror each time you get into the driver’s seat.
- Know how to use your high-beams
Your high-beams are meant to be used to help you see on poorly lit roads at night or in extreme daytime weather. They should always be turned off when another car is approaching you because of how bright they are. The improper use of your high-beams can be distracting to other drivers who become blinded by your bright lights. If you encounter a driver who has failed to turn their high-beams off as you approach, it’s suggested you look to the right side of the road and follow the painted edge line.
- Left turns
Safely making a left-hand turn in an intersection isn’t just about staying in the left lane when you turn. When you’re waiting to make your turn safely, it’s important to keep your wheels pointed straight. If you should be hit from behind, your car would move forward as opposed to it rolling into oncoming traffic if your wheels pointed left.
- Be alert
It’s easy to fall into autopilot when you have years of driving experience under your belt. Remaining alert is an important and necessary step in safe driving. Checking your mirrors regularly, using your turn signal appropriately, and pay attention to the other cars around you. Too often people focus on the car immediately in front of them and don’t notice when they’re getting too close.
This one happens all the time – tailgating. Leaving adequate space between your vehicle and the ones around you is essential for avoiding accidents. A great method for keeping a safe space away is by timing the distance. Pick a marker on the road and when the car in front of you passes it, time how long it takes for you to reach the same spot. A recommended time-distance between you and the car in front is 4 seconds.
- Drivers education
When was the last time you took a driving course? Not since you got your license, right? Overtime rules of the road can change and it’s important for you to keep up with them. If it’s been a while since you’ve been behind the wheel, you want to sharpen your driving skills or think a refresher course may be useful, don’t be afraid to connect with your local driving school.
- Know your car
Have you ever seen people back into a parking space with what seems like no effort? Well, knowing your car may have something to do with that. The better you know your car, the more comfortable you feel driving it. Knowing what features it has and using them to your advantage, like back up cameras or park assist abilities, can help make those hard to see spots easier.
- Using a roundabout
Roundabouts are something even experienced drivers have issues with. For some reason, they’re intimidating and can cause a lot of confusion for people. If you’re one of these people, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation has released a guide to help you understand how to properly use roundabouts.
- Check your eyes
Having your eyes regularly checked by an optometrist ensures your eyesight is at the level it needs to be at to safely operate a vehicle. The aging population may have noticed a decline in their sight, regular check-ups can help catch problems early and address them before they get worse.
You can be a safe driver, but accidents can happen. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident your road to recovery is important to us. Fast dial #1000 free from your cell and our experienced team at Dye and Russell will get you the support you need.