As someone who spends a good deal of time on the road, you’ve seen your fair share of poor driving habits. However, even seasoned professionals can pick up a few bad habits along the way. Here are nine ways to stay on top of your driving game:
1. Adjust Your Speed to Conditions – Speed limits are set for ideal conditions. Whenever moisture and limited visibility become part of the driving landscape, slow down.
2. Get the “Big Picture” – Since detecting driving hazards depends on perceptual and information-gathering skills, you cannot focus your attention solely on the vehicle in front of you. Instead, keep your eyes moving, scan at least 20-30 seconds ahead, and check your mirrors regularly to help anticipate trouble.
3. Keep A Safe Distance – By maintaining a proper following distance, you give yourself maximum visibility to what is ahead of you, and adequate time to slow, stop or take evasive action when a hazard is present. If another driver cuts you off, back off to reestablish sufficient space.
4. Pause Before Proceeding – If you are stopped at a red traffic light and it turns green, pause for a second or two before proceeding to help defend against other drivers who run their red light or pedestrians crossing at the last minute.
5. Use Your Turn Signals – Activating the turn signal immediately before or while you’re turning is almost as bad as forgetting to signal altogether. Give drivers around you sufficient time to acknowledge your signal and slow down, especially if you need to wait for an opening in traffic before you can complete your turn.
6. Communicate Your Intentions – Don’t signal too early either. If you do, other motorists might assume you turned on your signal accidentally and they won’t be prepared when your turn actually arrives. The goal is to be predictable and let others know what you plan to do.
7. Turn Off Your Signal – After you’ve completed a turn or lane change, make sure your turn signal is off. If you don’t, other drivers might think you intend to turn again.
8. Use Your Headlights for Visibility – Announce your presence by using your headlights at dawn, dusk or in extreme weather conditions, or even during good weather conditions to increase your visibility to other motorists.
9. Yield to Emergency Vehicles – In an emergency situation, any delay can put lives in danger. So, when an emergency vehicle approaches with flashing lights and an audible siren, put on your turn signal, and scan for other yielding vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. Once the path is clear, pull over as far to the right as practical.
Safety Begins with You
When you become lax about driving, you are compromising your safety and the safety of others traveling on the road. As a professional driver, set a good example for other motorists by striving to better your driving skills whenever you get behind the wheel.