6 Bad Driving Habits to Avoid
We all make mistakes from time to time, but when it comes to driving a motor vehicle, a mistake can endanger yourself and others on the road. Operator error and inattention are top factors in auto accidents. Many auto accidents could have been avoided if drivers avoided these bad but common driving habits.
Think about all the accidents that could have been prevented if the driver wasn’t speeding. While everyone is familiar with the dangers of speeding, some drivers tend to speed when they're running late, or just because they think it is fun. There is never an excused for speeding. Speed limits are set for a reason and are determined based on the road condition and surrounding area. Speeding can make it harder for motorists to react fast enough to avoid an accident, as well as increase the intensity of a crash. For the safety of yourself and others, always adhere to the speed limit. In inclement weather, drive slower and more cautiously.
Distracted driving is another leading cause of accidents. While distracted driving is commonly associated with texting and driving, it comes in many forms. Distracted driving also includes eating, applying makeup, adjusting the radio, talking to passengers, and reaching for an object while driving. Any behavior that involves taking your eyes or off the road, hands off the steering wheel, or mind off of driving is considered a distraction.
It's important to stay alert and attentive while driving. Minimize distractions by turning off your phone or putting it on silent before you get on the road. Avoid eating, applying makeup, and other distracting tasks while driving. Also limit the number of passengers in your car to avoid distractions.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol isn't just bad— it's illegal. Drugs and alcohol impair your ability to drive and to react quickly. If you're going to be drinking, leave your car keys at home; ALWAYS call a cab or have a designated driver. Also avoid driving under the influence of prescription medications that may cause drowsiness or impair driving abilities. While medical and recreational use of marijuana is now legal in some states, it is illegal and unsafe to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of the drug.
Getting behind the wheel when you're tired is very dangerous. When you are tired, you are less focused and attentive and have a slower reaction time. Even worse, you could fall asleep at the wheel. Whether you’re taking a road trip or heading home from the office late at night, never drive when you're tired. If you feel tired, have someone else drive if possible, or pull off the road and get some sleep in a safe place, such as a hotel, before getting back on the road.
Not Wearing a Seat Belt
Wearing a seat belt is the best way to avoid injuries and save lives in the event of an auto accident. Statistics show seat belts have saved almost 300,000 lives in the United States since 1975. Nowadays, most cars have a seat belt warning, with some disabling the radio unless your seat belt is on. If your car does not have a seat belt warning feature, then post a note on your steering wheel reminding you to buckle up. Also make sure everyone in the car has a seat belt on before leaving the driveway.
Driving on Empty
Do you wait until your gas tank is on "E" before you think about filling up? This is not a good habit for a number of reasons. First, driving on a low gas tank can cause your fuel pump to wear out prematurely. The gas acts like a coolant for the vehicle's fuel pump motor. When the gas is low, the pump can suck in air, which brings in heat and wears it down. Second, dirt and sediment in the fuel tank can potentially block the fuel filter, also resulting in a costly repair. Additionally, you risk your car running out of gas, leaving you stranded on a highway or in an unfamiliar area. To stay clear of these issues, don’t rely on your car for how many miles you have left. Always keep your tank at least one-fourth of the way full.
Are you guilty of any of these bad driving habits? Our Auto Mall in NJ recommends kicking these habits to remain attentive and safe on the roads.