If you’re out on the road on a daily basis, you’ve probably witnessed some dangerous driving situations, close calls or actual collisions.
While not every accident is preventable, observing safe driving rules increase the odds that you’ll make it to and from your destination without incident.
Below you’ll find safe driving tips and techniques that you can put in practice all year round regardless of the season.
Winter Driving Tips
If you live in a cold climate, you will have to deal with driving in snow and ice on occasion.
When it is icy, drive slowly and add extra distance between vehicles. Keep in mind that stopping takes much longer, and the possibility of skidding is real.
Don’t use overdrive or cruise control when driving on icy roads, and keep the car in low gear when going uphill and downhill.
If your vehicle does skid, don’t panic. Stay focused and drive according to which wheels are skidding.
For the rear wheels, remove your foot from the gas while steering your car in the direction you want the front wheels to go.
If the front wheel are skidding, remove your foot from the accelerator. Shift the car to neutral and steer it in the direction you want it to go.
After you are heading in the right direction, put the car back in drive mode.
Don’t pump anti-lock brakes on your vehicle, but instead apply pressure steadily. Standard brakes may be pumped lightly.
Preparation is a big factor in safe winter driving. Always carry a snow shovel in the trunk in case of emergency.
It’s also wise to keep cat litter or sand in the trunk, because spreading these items around your tires can help if you need to gain traction.
If you get stuck, dig snow away from the wheels and underneath the car.
Then, attempt to shift the car lightly from forward to reverse, repeating until the vehicle frees itself. Do not spin the wheels – this only digs you in deeper.
Warm Weather Hazards
While winter driving woes receive more attention, warm weather also has its share of hazards.
In some ways, these issues are just as bad as those occurring in winter, because drivers are less likely to prepare for them.
When its cold out, enclosed motor vehicles pretty much have the roads to themselves.
That changes in warm weather, as cars must share the road with bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians.
These road users are more vulnerable to suffering serious injury or death if struck by a car, since they are totally unprotected from any impact.
That’s why it’s especially important to obey the speed limit, and, in the case of motorcyclists, always look twice when switching lanes to ensure you don’t cross a motorcyclist’s path.
During warm weather, road construction crews are out in force.
Take care to drive slowly in construction zones. With construction comes debris, and you could encounter large items on the highways or streets around construction zones.
Tire blowouts are another frequent summer hazard. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, as improperly inflation causes too much friction and overheating.
Inspect your tires before each use to ensure they aren’t flat or damaged.
Engine overheating is also common when temperatures rise, so check your car’s temperature gauge regularly.
If overheating occurs, pull over to the side of the road and call for assistance.
Summertime has its own set of weather problems, including thunderstorms, lots of rain and potential flash flooding.
Wet conditions can result in hydroplaning. If possible, stay off the road during storms. If must go out, drive slowly and carefully.
There’s one more precaution to take in good weather. Keep in mind this is the time of year when a lot of novice drivers, especially high school and college students, aren’t in school but are on the road.
Keep your eyes out for them, because these are the drivers most likely to text while driving or otherwise become distracted.
No matter what time of year it is, distracted driving is always an issue.
While most people know that cellphone use and texting lead to distracted driving and accidents, they aren’t the only form of distracted driving.
Eating, drinking, letting a pet run loose in the car, even fiddling with the radio are major distractions that can cause accidents.
Keep any kind of distraction to a minimum while driving, and always pay attention to the road.