What is your New Year’s resolution? To head to the gym more, or maybe save up for vacation? What about fixing poor driving habits to keep yourself and others on the road safe? It may not sound as exciting, but these small changes can make a large difference.
Anything that takes your attention away from the road is a driving hazard. According the the United States Department of Transportation, 4210,000 injuries and 3,328 deaths were caused by a distracted driver. Talking or texting on your cell phone, messing with the radio or GPS, applying makeup or reaching into the backseat for something are all common culprits for diverting a driver’s attention. By waking up earlier, you won’t have to do part of your morning “getting ready” routine in the car. If you can’t fight the temptation of using your phone, keep it in the truck while en route.
It is a proven fact that seatbelts save lives; they reduce crash-related injuries and deaths by about 50 percent. Even with these strong statistics, some still refuse to wear the belt. Start a seatbelt rule in your family. No matter where or how far you’re going, every one should stick to the rule. Include the family dog in this rule as well!
Learn to change a tire.
Many drivers first learn how to change a tire when they are stuck on the side of the road and have no other choice. Preparation will make the experience less stressful. Not only should you know how to change a flat, you should also know how to react if the tire blows out while you are driving. The National Safety Council advises drivers to hold the steering wheel firmly with both hands and let the car slow down gradually on its own. Don’t slam on the brakes! Ease your car onto the side of the road.
Fill ‘er up.
Running on empty is never a good idea, especially in bad, winter weather. If you are anticipating a long trip, fill your tank completely to save yourself the stress. Your car will thank you, too; impurities in the gas tank can reach your engine.
Think after a drink.
Sometimes driving will require you to act quickly and carefully, and alcohol consumption can hinder your ability to do so. Keep yourself and other drivers safe by using your better judgment and not driving after drinking. Make sure a sober cab is designated at the beginning of the night to avoid problems later.
Here’s to a wonderful and safe new year!
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