Safe driving is all about being prepared, knowing what to expect, and being able to exert control over your car. While your skills as a driver are definitely going to play a part in that, it is important to remember that you aren’t the only one on the road and sometimes skills alone aren’t enough. With that in mind if you want to drive safer, there are some rules that can help you to get started on the right track:
- Use the three second rule
Essentially the ‘three second rule’ is a way of measuring the distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you. When that vehicle passes a fixed object you should be able to count three seconds before your car passes that same object. Assuming you follow this rule you definitely will be far enough that you won’t be tailgating, and should have enough room to brake should the need arise.
- Always use your signals when turning or switching lanes
Get into the habit of always using your signals when you’re about to turn or switch lanes. Even if it seems as though there’s no traffic nearby your signals could alert a vehicle that is in your blind spot (or that you simply failed to notice).
- Focus solely on driving
If you’re distracted or not paying attention it is likely that you may not notice a hazard, obstacle, or even the car in front of you jamming its brakes. The reason why it is all the more important to make sure you focus solely on driving is in part due to how often drivers nowadays use their mobile phones or electronic devices while on the road – which is unsafe, to say the least.
- Decrease your speed in inclement weather
When it is raining, snowy, or windy driving is much more difficult. In particular your visibility may be affected, as will the time that it takes to brake and the risk of skidding or spinning. Because of all that you should make it a point to decrease your speed in inclement weather, and instead of a ‘three second’ rule, use a ‘six second’ rule instead.
- Use the proper technique for braking
To correctly brake you should first apply light pressure on the pedal, wait, then start squeezing it further. Doing so will help reduce the risk of skidding or water planning, and will ensure that you remain in control of your car. Many cars nowadays come with Antilock Braking Systems (ABS) that will help prevent skidding, and you should test and get used to how your brakes perform.
Make no mistake there are lots of driving safety resources out there that may benefit you further, and cover a range of topics from road rules to driving technique and what to do in accidents. Of course you can start by getting into the habit of following the rules outlined above, and then decide exactly what areas of your driving could be improved upon further.