Keep Your Eyes on the Highway: How to Stay Safe on the Road

Road Safety

There are more than 16,000 car accidents in the United States every day. Many of these accidents result in severe injuries or even death.

You can’t control how other people drive, but you can stay safe on the road by controlling what you can. Read on to learn the top driver safety tips to keep yourself safe while driving. 

1. Give Yourself Time to Get There

You have an important meeting to get to. You leave a few minutes late and you’re speeding to make up time. You then get behind the slowest person on earth.

This scenario is something we’ve all experienced at one point or another. If you find yourself angry with road rage and driving in a way that will increase your chances of getting into an accident. When you get to your meeting, you’re so frazzled that it doesn’t go well.

The lesson here is that you want to give yourself plenty of time to get to where you’re going.

2. Put the Phone Away

The average person looks at their phone about 96 times a day.

It often happens when driving. You look at your phone for directions, to play a great song, to text people to let them know you’re late, or on your way.

All of these things may seem like a convenience, but you’re putting yourself and others in danger. Bring up directions and your playlist before you leave. Texting can always wait until you get there. If you need to send a text message, use the hands-free option, or pull over.

3. Maintain Your Car

Keeping yourself safe on the road isn’t just about your behavior. It’s also about how you maintain your car. A sudden car fire or blown tire can be prevented with regular maintenance.

Regular car maintenance ensures that your car is ready for anything. It also safeguards your car from becoming a sudden problem while you’re driving. Keep a car maintenance log which will remind you when it’s time t take your car in for repairs.   

This is important before going on a very long road trip. You want to make sure that you check the tire threads, pressure, and oil levels before heading out.

4. Have a Driving Plan

Are you planning a long road trip? If so, you should have a plan for driving. You’ll want to check the weather report and map out your route beforehand.

You’ll also want to give yourself plenty of time in case there’s traffic. Be sure to factor in rest breaks along the way. You can look up rest stops or restaurants before you leave, making the trip easier on everyone.

You should communicate your plan to everyone in the car to limit questions, requests, and other distractions while you’re driving.

5. Learn Basic Car Repairs

There are a few common issues that all drivers have to put up with. Dead batteries and flat tires are among them. You should be able to understand the common car issues and be able to repair them.

Learn how to change a flat tire safely and jump-start a battery. That will mean less time waiting for help, which leaves you vulnerable while you wait.

The goal is to repair the car quickly so you can drive to a safer destination. For a flat tire, you just want to put a spare on and drive the car to the closest repair shop. They will advise you if you need a new tire or if they can quickly repair your tire.

6. Keep the Contents Secure

Whether you’re taking groceries home or you have surfboards strapped to the roof of the car, you don’t want to have these items loose.

Loose items in and on your car will do nothing but distract you. Items on the exterior of the car could be a danger to other drivers, too. Make sure that all of the contents of your car are safe and secure before you head off on your adventure.

7. Know How to Handle Accidents

You’re doing all of these things to avoid accidents, but there’s still a chance that you may get into one. You never know if someone will stop short and slam into the back of your car. You have to know what to do in car accident as part of staying safe on the road.

You won’t do anything like panic and leave the scene because you’re scared. You also won’t say anything that can be held against you later on. The smallest mistake can cause insurance companies to reject your claim.

Consult with an attorney for advice on how to handle car accidents. Write down the steps and stash them in the glove compartment. Hopefully, you won’t need them. If you do, you’ll be prepared to take the necessary steps to protect yourself.

8. Have an Emergency Kit

You never know if you will have car issues. You could run over a nail on the way home and end up with a flat tire. It could take a while to get help. You could be in a situation where your car broke down in freezing temperatures.

An emergency kit with flares, blankets, first-aid products, food, and water is something you’ll want to have handy. You’ll also want to have basic repair tools, such as a battery cable, spare tire, and a tire jack.

9. Use Defensive Driving Techniques

Defensive driving requires a lot of focus, but it can pay off. You’re looking at the cars around you, trying to anticipate their next move. For example, someone speeding in the right-hand lane will likely take the center lane when they near a slower driving car in front.

You’ll be able to think through different scenarios on the road and plan for each one in your head.

Stay Safe on the Road

Your job is to do what you can to stay safe on the road. There are a few simple steps that you can use from this list. Take your time driving, limit distractions, and maintain your car.

If you found this article helpful, check out the Vehicle Safety section of this site for more great car safety and repair tips.