It's easy to pick up bad driving habits without even realizing it. Dangerous driving practices may not seem like a big deal when you’ve been able to get away with them without consequence, but it only takes one time for a bad habit to become deadly.
Here are some bad driving habits that you could be guilty of:
Using Your Phone While Driving
Whether your texting, looking for directions, checking your social media or even talking without a hands-free device, using your phone while driving is dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 1,000 people are injured per day in crashes caused by distracted driving.
Taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds to check a text message may not seem that dangerous, but if you’re traveling 55 mph, in just FIVE seconds you will have driven the length of a football field! That means you will have traveled 100 yards with your eyes off the road. If you absolutely have to use your phone, find a safe place to pull over before handling it.
We get it. You’ve figured out that driving ten mph over the speed limit on your way to work means you get to sleep in for a few more minutes. No matter how tempting this may be, getting in the habit of speeding is not a good idea. Not only does speeding increase your chances of an accident, but it also increases your risk of fatalities. In 2016, speeding accounted for almost 30 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Not Using your Turn Signal
Turn signals are designed to let other drivers know where you’re vehicle is going. If you don’t use your turn signal, other drivers can’t anticipate your next move and may not adequately prepare for it. Not indicating when turning or changing lanes can cause accidents, especially if you are slowing down to turn without giving the driver behind you any warning. Start using your turn signal any time you turn, even if there is not a vehicle behind you. This will help you get in the habit of using it all the time.
Not Checking Blind Spots
It’s easy to get in the practice of changing lanes without thoroughly checking all of your blind spots, but this is very dangerous. If you start moving into a new lane without carefully checking your blind spots, you could collide with another vehicle. Even if your traveling on an empty roadway, always check your mirrors and look back over your shoulder before changing lanes to ensure there are no vehicles in your blind spot.
Cutting off Other Drivers
Sometimes cutting off another driver happens by accident; you may not have realized how fast they were approaching or forgot to thoroughly check your blind spots. But, making this a habit is very dangerous. When you cut off another driver, you’re primarily relying on that driver to prevent an accident by slamming on breaks to avoid hitting your vehicle. If the driver isn’t paying attention, they may not be able to stop in time. When you need to change lanes, ensure you have plenty of space or wait until someone slows down to let you over.
You may not cause an accident every time you practice one of these dangerous habits, but they greatly increase your chances. Next time you hit the road, pay attention to how you drive and see if you’re guilty of any of these dangerous driving habits.
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