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Top 10 Tips For Safer Driving | Back to Automobile Insurance

It seems as though everyone is in a rush these days. Whether you're commuting to work, driving to school, running errands or picking up the kids, it seems there's never enough time to get it all done. Take the following tips to make sure you get where you need to be safely.

  1. Watch the weather

    In any kind of stormy weather, the key to driving safely is to slow down. Here are some more tips:

    Fog:
    Avoid driving in fog, but if you must, set your headlights on dim (or low beam). If visibility becomes so poor that driving safely becomes impossible, pull as far off the road as you can and stop.

    Rain:
    Keep your windows from fogging up by using the defroster or air- conditioner (if necessary, open the window slightly). Turn your lights on, day or night.

    Snow or ice:
    Brake gently and early, turn cautiously, and increase your following distance. And be alert for changing road conditions (such as patches of ice or slippery snow).

  2. Look both ways at intersections

    Don't pull away from a sign or a light until you're sure other drivers are stopping or yielding. Wait a few seconds after a light turns green before proceeding to protect yourself against a driver running a red light.

  3. Keep your distance

    Drivers commonly tailgate because they underestimate how much stopping distance they really need. In general, under good weather conditions you need to keep three to four seconds of distance between you and another if you're going over 35 mph (at least two seconds if traveling less than 35 mph). To make sure you're traveling at a safe distance, select a landmark such as a tree or a sign. Then, as the car ahead of you passes this point, count "one thousand one, one thousand two." If you reach the landmark before you get to one thousand two, you're following too closely.

  4. Get a grip

    On the steering wheel, that is. Don't drive one-handed, because if you're hit unexpectedly, you might lose control of your vehicle. Place both hands in a comfortable position on opposite sides of the steering wheel. And look ahead to anticipate obstacles you may need to steer around.

  5. Stay awake

    Falling asleep at the wheel can occur at any time, but it's especially common late at night or early in the morning. If you find yourself getting sleepy at the wheel, try:

    • Pulling over in a safe place and take a break until you feel more alert
    • Lowering the temperature inside your car (open a window or turn on the air-conditioner)
    • Sharing the driving with someone else, especially if you are on a long trip
  6. Don't talk on the phone

    People who talk on cell phones while driving are much more likely to have accidents as a result of distraction. If you must use your cell phone when you drive, use a hands-free device. But if the conversation is complicated or emotional, pull off the road to a safe location to talk.

  7. Use the breakdown lane only in a real emergency

    Many tragic accidents occur when drivers are stopped in the breakdown lane and are hit by other vehicles. Don't stop in the breakdown lane to talk on your cell phone, to rest, or to eat. But in case of emergency:

    • Pull off the road as far as possible.
    • Make sure you are visible to other drivers by turning on the emergency flashers, setting up a warning triangle, and using flares or portable warning lights.
    • Get help right away if you need it. Call a tow truck or the police on your cell phone, raise your hood or tie a white cloth on your mirror to signal for help, or put a sign in your back window.
  8. Don't let the kids distract you

    Drivers weaving on a highway might not be under the influence of alcohol. They might have kids in the back seat! Refuse to let your kids distract you when you drive. Have a plan to deal with arguments in the car. If they drop something, don't try to pick it up. If all else fails, pull off the road until things settle down.

  9. Check your tires

    When was the last time you inspected your tires? Accidents caused by tire failure are frequently preventable. Keep an inexpensive tire gauge in your vehicle and check your tire pressure every time you get gas (the manufacturer's recommended pressure is usually posted inside the door of your car or in your owner's manual). And inspect your tires regularly to spot cracks, bulging, worn spots, or shallow tread.

  10. Wear your seat belt correctly

    You may wear your seat belt regularly, but are you wearing it correctly? If not, it may not protect you in an accident. Fasten lap and shoulder belts snugly, wearing the lap belt on your hips, not on your stomach. And wear your seat belt even if your car has an air bag. The air bag won't protect you from being thrown around or out of the car in an accident.

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