Driving is an integral part of daily life to get you to work, school, the store, and anywhere else you might need to go. When you drive so often, it can become easy to autopilot and focus less on the road.
Unfortunately, bad driving habits resulting from boredom and impatience directly lead to more accidents and these can cause severe injuries depending on the type of crash. Hitting an oncoming car is particularly dangerous as four people are killed in every three head-on accidents.
Preventing deadly crashes begins with understanding what tempting bad habits you need to avoid. To get you started, we have the most insidious driving habits to correct below.
An important starting place is the risk of speeding.
You’ve likely heard before that speeding is dangerous and it’s also illegal. That said, these deterrents often aren’t enough to stop you and countless other drivers from driving faster than you should.
The main issue with speeding is that you generally don’t see negative consequences from your behavior. You might have hundreds of car rides without issues and no tickets. In turn, you may feel comfortable speeding despite the clear risks it poses.
This is a big mistake because speeding makes it harder for you to control your vehicle effectively. It takes longer to stop, sudden adjustments become tougher, and the other cars driving near you may not anticipate your speed.
Worse yet, accidents involving higher speeds are far more serious. The resulting injuries are typically catastrophic and vehicles are almost always completely wrecked.
Speeding is dangerous and you need to slow down before learning the hard way. Life-changing injuries are not worth the thrill of going a little faster.
Another problematic driving habit is aggression.
This can appear in many ways, including tailgating, rapidly lane changing without signaling, refusing to yield, brake-checking, and ignoring stop signs. Speeding can also be considered aggressive in addition to the inherent risks it poses.
While you may feel confident behind the wheel and have no problem driving aggressively, your behavior impacts the other drivers on the road. Other drivers get incredibly uncomfortable and nervous when you drive aggressively.
This is because aggressive driving poses a direct threat to the other cars on the road. They don’t know what you might do and there’s no reason to expect that you won’t be aggressive towards them as well.
Aggression is dangerous on the road because it involves tense emotions that can cloud judgment and clear decision-making. Mistakes are more common and accidents are difficult to avoid when driving unsafely.
With this in mind, driving courteously is essential to eliminating any added complications from emotions. Aggressive driving keeps you in unsafe operating margins on the road and any resulting accidents will likely be your fault.
Distraction is also shockingly overlooked despite constant measures to spread awareness of its dangers and the threat of legal action if caught.
Distracted driving is undeniably dangerous because it rips your focus away from the road. You must constantly watch the road and other drivers to know when you need to brake or move out of the way to avoid a hazard.
When you are distracted, you can’t look at the road at the same time. Cell phones are the guiltiest culprit here due to how tempting and engaging they can be. Driving can be boring and your mind might crave some form of entertainment, which phones can easily provide.
At the same time, engaging in a distraction means a lack of interaction with the road. You might still look up every few seconds to gauge the road, but this is not enough to effectively assess a constantly changing environment.
A frequent example of this is failing to recognize an immediate need to brake when the car ahead of you rapidly decelerates. As a result, you either look up without enough time to react or you hit the car as you’re still looking at your phone.
No matter how capable you feel, distraction directly affects your ability to read the road. This means worse driving from you and an inability to prevent easily avoidable accidents.
Impairment is another highly dangerous habit that you must avoid while driving. Impaired driving is illegal and for good reason. When you are impaired, your ability to drive is severely impacted.
In particular, alcohol is a depressant that suppresses the nervous system. This translates to a reduced ability for your brain to send messages and instructions to the rest of your body. Additionally, your brain is slowed down and it cannot effectively make good decisions.
While drugs and alcohol are what first jump to mind, you need to also be aware of the risk of impairment from fatigue and bad moods. Fatigue means your mind is exhausted and a poor mood means you aren’t thinking clearly and explicitly about driving.
Any factor that puts you in a negative mental state will result in worse judgment and a higher likelihood of making a bad or unsafe driving decision. Because of this, you must only ever drive when sober, alert, and in a clear headspace.
A final habit to correct is unpredictability on the road.
Being predictable on the road is incredibly important because it lets other drivers know how they can proceed safely. When you are being aggressive and speeding or failing to signal, other drivers don’t know what to expect from you and won’t know how to avoid hitting you.
Alternatively, when your intentions are clear and you don’t stray from your most obvious path, you will be easy to see and an accident becomes unlikely. The rules of the road exist so everyone can drive safely, but this requires all drivers to follow suit. Doing your part is the first step and at least limits your culpability on the road.
Are you a safe driver with good driving habits? Chances are, you might unintentionally drive unsafely and endanger the other cars on the road. Bad driving habits are easy to develop, but they require intentional action to correct.
Correcting bad habits begins with understanding what to avoid. Specifically, you should refrain from speeding, being aggressive, engaging in distractions, driving while impaired, and driving unpredictably.
Regardless if you’ve never been in an accident and don’t have any tickets, bad driving habits will catch up to you when you least expect it. Fixing them now allows you to avoid any serious consequences and accidents before it is too late to make better decisions!