Despite what many automobile manufacturers would have you believe, modern cars are simply not safe. Yes, they’ve got anti-lock brakes, seat belts, airbags, and about a million little warning indicators that are designed to light up your dashboard at the first sign of trouble, but none of that changes the fact in the United States approximately 30,000 people die every year as a result of vehicle-related accidents.
This isn’t too surprising when you look at a car for what it really is. After, when you take away the glamor and freedom associated with automobiles, you realize that they’re basically just hollow hunks of metal that run off of ongoing internal explosions and travel at speeds that evolution just hasn’t prepared the human body to be able to react to. However, despite the obvious dangers associated with them, we’ve become utterly dependant on our cars. Still, there are some things that you can do to keep your shiny new vehicle from becoming a $30,000 dollar aluminum-and-plastic coffin. Here are some tips on how to make your driving experience as safe as possible.
1. Never drive drowsy
One of the last things you want to do when you’re traveling down the road at 70 mph is nod-off. However, in America approximately 60% of adult drivers have recently driven a car while drowsy. Even those who never actually fall asleep behind the wheel may find that they have a difficult time concentrating if they haven’t had enough rest. Caffeine may provide a quick boost of energy, but it will quickly recede, leaving you in a worse state than before. Instead, be sure that you’re always well rested before starting a drive. Also, eat a nutritious, balanced diet to help keep yourself alert. If you’re on the road and you feel as though you might be getting drowsy, pull over to the side (well out of the way of traffic) and take a nap. Sure, it will delay your ETA, but not nearly as badly as a head-on collision.
2. Be familiar with and obey traffic laws
Believe it or not, traffic laws are designed to help keep you and the other drivers on the road safe. After all, when you’re on the road, you’re basically in control of a lethal weapon that could end the lives of anyone else around you. As such, it’s not really up to you to decide which laws are important and which ones aren’t. Feel like speeding? Well, that’s your choice, but when you make that choice, you’re also choosing to accept the consequences (tickets, injury, or even death). Unfortunately, the people who haven’t made that choice could end up paying a price as well (like, say, when you smash your 3-ton pickup truck/ballistic missile into their minivan). Be safe. Familiarize yourself with all local traffic laws, and for the love of heaven, obey them.
3. Make sure that your car is in good condition
Now, we’re not suggesting that you have a mechanic give your car a thorough inspection every time you want to drive a couple of miles to the grocery store, but there are a few things you should get in the habit of checking regularly. When getting into the car, make sure that the tires are properly filled. Check for any warning indicators on your dashboard when you start the engine, and make a mental note of how much fuel you have in your tank. Adjust your mirrors so that you have maximum rear and side visibility.
4. Limit distractions
We all know how dangerous it is to text and drive. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. The truth is that we all know how dangerous it is for other people to text and drive. However, when it comes to ourselves, we’re more likely to make exception. After all, this text is important. Besides, I’m a better driver than most people, so I won’t have a problem. But let’s be clear: no driver in the world is skilled enough to be able to pilot a car competently while reading or typing out a text. If you’re a chronic car-texter and haven’t yet been involved in an accident, it doesn’t mean that you’re more skilled than other drivers; it only means that you’ve been lucky so far… but your luck won’t last forever. Never text while driving. In fact, anything that distracts your eyes, hands, or mind from where they should be while driving is an inherent danger.
5. Avoid road rage
Hey, we get it. Other drivers can be infuriating. But when you allow your anger to get the better of you and you decide to take matters into your own hands, you’re creating a situation that is much worse than a simple lane-change without signaling. Road rage can turn common annoyances into life-threatening situations. Instead of giving into your anger the next time another driver does something stupid, learn to let it go. Believe it or not, most of the time other drivers aren’t actually trying to make you angry, they’re just making simple mistakes. When someone cuts you off or doesn’t recognize your right of way, try to remember a time in which you made a similar error while driving. When dealing with other drivers who might be angry, be sure not to antagonize them further. Don’t make eye contact, and never try to use your car to intimidate another person. Learn to recognize the signs of road rage, and give those who exhibit them plenty of room.
Categories: Car Tips