Are you new to driving? Or have you been behind the wheel for decades? Being a safe driver takes a combination of factors, including experience, knowledge, skills and attitude.
Whether you are a new or experienced driver, driving across town or across Canada, here is our top 20 list important tips you can use to drive more safely.
- Plan and review your route before you start your trip with Google Maps.
- Charge your phone ahead of time so it is ready if you need it during an emergency.
- GPS systems and map apps sometimes fail. Have an old-fashioned, up-to-date, printed map for backup.
- Some issues on the road may be avoided by ensuring your vehicle is in prime condition. Ensure your vehicle’s tire pressure and fluid levels are at the recommended levels. Check out our blog Have your car road trip ready with this checklist for more ways to be proactive with car maintenance.
- Are you packing up for a road trip? Ensure all car windows are visible. Do not stack luggage too high to avoid creating blind spots.
- Keep all doors locked once you enter your vehicle and while it is in motion. If someone you do not know approaches and attempts to enter your vehicle, honk the horn to attract attention and startle the person. Drive away safely as soon as you can.
- Keep your gas above ¼ of a tank in case you become stuck in traffic or find yourself driving in an unfamiliar area.
- Never drink and drive. If you are planning to even have just one drink, decide how you are getting home, whether by a designated driver or a cab, before you start. Even low blood-alcohol levels decrease your reaction time and coordination.
- Even a few yawns are serious when you are behind the wheel. Feeling drowsy reduces your reaction time and your ability to focus on the road. Losing focus or dozing off for even a few seconds, especially at highway speeds, can be very dangerous. If you are driving and feel tired, have a friend take over the wheel, order a cab or find a rest area until you are feeling more alert.
- Do not become distracted while driving. Avoid applying makeup, reading, taking phone calls or texting while driving. Consider leaving these types of items either in the trunk or in a storage compartment to avoid temptation.
- While driving, keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you by following the three second rule:
For highway driving, night driving or during bad weather, double the recommended three seconds to six seconds.
- Look left, centre and right at every intersection and glance at every side street.
- Avoid being in other drivers’ blind spots and if you must, drive out of their blind spot as soon as possible by slowing down or speeding up.
- Do not focus on the road directly in front of your vehicle. Scan the road farther ahead to see what your vehicle will be approaching.
- If you are being tailgated, take your foot off the gas slowly to reduce your speed and allow the tailgater to pass.
- When stopped in traffic or at a traffic light, keep at least one vehicle length space between you and the vehicle ahead.
- Park your vehicle in visible, well-lit areas.
- Never leave your house keys attached to your car keys when you leave your vehicle with someone else, for example a valet or mechanic.
- Keep an emergency kit, spare tire, empty fuel can, flashlight, first aid kit, blanket and a set of jumper cables in your car. Store these items in your trunk to not only free up room but to also prevent items from becoming a danger during a collision. See our blog post Dangers of a messy car for more information.
- Once parked, do not keep any items, including spare change, within eye sight of passersby. Store all items in the trunk or in a storage compartment to avoid theft.
By following these tips you can reduce your risk of an incident. Do you have other safe driving tips? Share them in the comments below.