Introduction

Because of decades of advertising and public awareness campaigns that have made most of us safer drivers, we now drive safer cars on safer roads. Because of this, the number of people killed in accidents in the United States was the lowest it had ever been in 2008 [source: NHTSA]. Even with this change, there are still too many car accidents and deaths in the United States: In the U.S. in 2008, about 6 million car accidents killed more than 37,000 people. Also, car accidents are the leading cause of death in this country for people between the ages of 3 and 34.

Technology will continue to help bring these numbers down. However, the fact is that most car accidents are still caused by people making mistakes. Driving safely is the easiest way to lower your chances of getting into an accident. Whether you’re just learning to drive or have been doing it for years, it’s a good idea to go over the basic rules for safe driving. Here are some tips for safe driving that will keep you and your passengers safe.

Tips for safe driving when traffic is heavy

Some of our driving safety tips and guidance are discussed below:

Don’t go too fast for driving safety

“Speed kills,” said the old public service announcement. Research shows that for every mile per hour you drive, your chance of getting into an accident goes up by 4% to 5% [source: ERSO]. When you go faster, the dangers get a lot worse.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says it is dangerous to drive too fast: “Speeding is one of the most common things that lead to car accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that accidents caused by speeding cost $40.4 billion each year. In 2008, Speeding was a factor in 31% of all deaths, and 11,674 people died due to speeding-related crashes ” [Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration].

Driving 10 mph (16.1 kph) faster won’t save you much time on your normal commute across town, but it will take up to 50 per cent more likely to get into an accident. Even on long trips, the small amount of time you’ll save isn’t worth the risks of Speeding. Take it slow, and don’t go faster than the rules say you can. There’s only one way to get there quickly if you really need to: leave earlier.

Don’t Drive If You’re Tired

Experts at Virginia Tech did a study that found that tiredness is a factor in 20% of all accidents [source: TheDenverChannel]. The results are predictable when drivers are so tired that they fall asleep at the wheel. Even if the road is straight, a driver who is too tired will eventually slide off it. Even without other cars, things like trees, power lines, ravines, and bridge abutments make the road dangerous.

You might not think that a few yawns are a big deal, but even a little bit of tiredness can make you more likely to get into an accident. You could do anything from nodding off for a few seconds at a time to “zone out” and stop paying attention to the road. It could be fatal at highway speeds if you don’t pay attention for just a second or two.

The solution is simple: get a better night’s sleep! Ensure you get eight hours of sleep every night, not just the night before a long trip. If you don’t get enough sleep every night, you’ll develop a sleep deficit, which will make you tired and hard to focus. Pull over right away if you’re driving and even a little tired. Before you fall asleep, you won’t get any kind of warning, and you won’t be able to stop it. People might go from being tired to sleeping deeply without noticing. If this happens, ask a friend to drive while you find a place to rest for a few hours or take a break until you feel more alert.

Take extra care when the weather is bad

Be careful when driving in fog, heavy rain, a snowstorm, or on icy roads. Use all the other tips here to their fullest: If you have to, drive slower than the speed limit, leave a lot of space between you and the car in front of you, and be extra careful around corners. If you’re driving in weather that you don’t know much about, you might want to hire someone who does. If the storm worsens, find a safe place to wait it out.

If you’re driving in poor visibility, like fog or snow, and you end up on the side of the road, turn off your lights (intentionally or not). When drivers can’t see the road, they will look for other vehicles to follow. When they see your lights, they’ll drive toward you, and you might not know you’re not going fast enough to avoid a crash.

Don’t get too close to the car in front of you

Safe driving rules say that drivers should leave a fair amount of space between themselves and the car. When a car stops or turns quickly, drivers must have enough time to react. Most experts recommend using the “three-second rule” because it can be hard to judge distances while driving, and the real distance needs to be changed for speed.

It’s easy to understand the three-second rule. Find something still on the side of the road. When the car in front of you passes it, start counting. At least three seconds should go by before your car goes by the same thing again [source: SmartMotorist]. After you’ve driven for a while and practiced keeping this distance, you’ll get a feel for it and know how close to follow without having to count. Even if you’ve been driving for a long time, you should sometimes use the “three-second rule” to be sure.

The suggested time should be increased to six seconds at night or when the traffic is heavy.

Watch out for the other person

Not always does it matter how carefully you drive. Someone else could hit you even if you are driving the speed limit and following all traffic laws. A good rule of thumb is thinking everyone else on the road is an idiot. To put it another way, you should expect sudden lane changes, sudden stops, turns without signaling, swerving, following too close, and other bad driving behavior. You’ll probably meet someone like this at some point, so it’s best to be ready for it.

It’s hard to list every possible thing another driver could do, but there are a few common ones. If you’re pulling out of a driveway into traffic and see a turn signal on an oncoming car, don’t assume it’s going to turn. You might get out of your car and find that your turn signal has been flashing since 1987. If you have the right of way and another car coming at you has a stop sign, don’t assume it will actually stop. Put your foot off the gas and be ready to hit the brakes as you get closer.

Getting ready means being aware, so look in your mirrors and down side streets to see what other cars are around and how they’re driving. Don’t just pay attention to the road in front of your car; look ahead to see what’s happening 50 to 100 yards (46 to 91 meters) away.

Maintain the safety of your car

Maintenance is important not only for keeping your car running longer but also for keeping you safe. Vehicle inspections that are required by the state look at a wide range of maintenance issues. If your car is unsafe, the mechanic who looks at it will tell you what you need to do to fix it. But since inspections can take a year or more, car owners should know about any potential safety problems and fix them before they cause an accident.

One of the most common maintenance problems that can lead to an accident is when the tyre pressure is wrong. Tire pressure that isn’t even or is too high or low can hurt performance or lead to a blowout, especially in high-performance cars and big vehicles like SUVs. You can get a cheap pressure gauge at any auto parts store and compare it to what the manufacturer says should be the pressure. You might as well rotate your tyres while you’re at it to make sure they wear evenly and perform the same way every time.

Another important part of a vehicle is its brakes. If the brake pedal feels “soft” or if you feel a vibration when you use the brakes, you should have them checked out by a professional. It could be that the brakes are worn out or that the car’s hydraulic system is broken.

Drinking and driving is not a good idea when traffic is heavy

In the World, more than 30% of all fatal car accidents are caused by drunk drivers. In 2008 alone, these accidents killed 11,773 people [source: NHTSA]. Most of those deaths could have been avoided if the drunk drivers who caused them hadn’t gotten behind the wheel in the first place.

Alcohol causes many problems, many of which lead to car accidents. Even at low blood alcohol levels, being drunk slows down your response time makes it harder to coordinate, and lowers your inhibitions. This can cause drivers to make bad decisions. At higher doses, alcohol can cause blurred or double vision and loss of consciousness. Not only is it a bad idea to drive drunk, but it’s also against the law. In the United States, if caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, you will almost certainly go to jail.

It is easy to stop drinking and driving. If you’ve had a few drinks, call a taxi or ask a sober friend to drive you home when traffic is heavy. If you plan to drink, make sure you have a sober driver. The small hassle of taking a taxi home is nothing compared to the dangers of driving while drunk, which could kill you.

Keep from getting distracted

Many countries have laws that make it illegal to use a cellphone while driving. The reason for this is that this seemingly harmless activity kills about 2,600 people every year, according to some estimates [source: Live Science]. In fact, those numbers may be too low, given that the number of people using their phones while driving keeps going up. If you don’t think it’s a big deal to talk or text while driving, think about this: One study compared the response time of a 20-year-old driver on a cell phone to that of a 70-year-old driver. Also, using a cell phone while driving could make people take 20 per cent longer to respond.

But cell phones aren’t the only thing that can be a distraction. A driver’s attention can be diverted in dangerous ways by eating, putting on makeup, fiddling with technology, or talking to passengers. Jim Morrison, a musician, once said, “Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.” 

Also Read: 15 Advantages of Using a best Driving School

Fasten your seat belt especially when traffic is heavy

Seat belts can save your life. If you wear them right, they keep you from being thrown around inside the car or, worse, from being thrown through the windshield and out of the car. More than half of all crash deaths, according to NHTSA data, happened to people who were not wearing seat belts. The numbers are even scarier for teen drivers and passengers: Seventy per cent of 13- to 15-year-olds who died in car accidents were not wearing seat belts.

Everyone has heard scary stories about people who died in strange situations where they might have lived without wearing a seat belt. Even if these stories are true, they are very different from the norm. A lot of them are exaggerations or stories that people tell. If you wear a seat belt, you are more likely to survive most car accidents.

Even a low-speed crash can send someone who isn’t wearing a seatbelt into the dashboard or side window, causing serious head injuries or broken bones. At higher speeds, a person who isn’t wearing a seatbelt could get seriously hurt from being thrown through the window, hit by other cars if they land on the road, or crash into a tree or house at 50 mph (80 kph). Do you feel uneasy about it? Put your seatbelt on.

Practice Defensive Driving for driving safety

If we put the proverbial shoe on the other foot, it’s pretty easy to see how this idea works. Remember when that jerk showed up out of nowhere, cut you off, and almost caused a serious accident? Don’t be a jerk like that.

Even though it’s hard to measure aggressive driving, it does make accidents more likely. Studies show that young men are more likely to drive aggressively [source: NCHRP]. A driver who is aggressive does more than just break the rules in this article. They may try to annoy other drivers on purpose, start a fight, use rude gestures or words, drive too close to or in front of other cars, or flash their headlights to get their attention. Not only are these things annoying, but they are also bad for you.

Defensive driving includes the other rules listed above, like keeping a safe distance and not speeding, but it also stresses keeping your cool when traffic is bad. Accept small delays, like staying in line behind a slower car instead of suddenly switching lanes. Even if you have the right of way, you should let other cars go ahead of you.

Driving safely and defensively may also save you money. Several insurance companies offer discounts to people who take defensive driving classes.

Summary

In 2008, the number of people killed in accidents in the United States was the lowest it had ever been. Driving safely is the easiest way to lower your chances of getting into an accident. Here are some tips for safe driving that will keep you and your passengers safe. A study found that tiredness is a factor in 20% of all accidents. A driver who is too tired will eventually slide off the road.

Ask a friend to drive while you find a place to rest for a few hours or take a break until you feel more alert. Experts recommend using the “three-second rule” to judge distances while driving. The suggested time should be increased to six seconds at night or when weather is bad. You should expect sudden lane changes, stops, turns without signaling, swerving, and other bad driving behavior. Vehicle inspections are required by state law, but they can take a year or more.

Car owners should know about any potential safety problems and fix them before they cause an accident. More than 30% of all fatal car accidents are caused by drunk drivers in the U.S. It is illegal to use a cell phone while driving in the United States. Eating, putting on makeup or fiddling with technology can also be a distraction. If you plan to drink, call a taxi or ask a sober driver to drive you home.

It is easy to stop drinking and driving. If you wear a seatbelt, you are more likely to survive most car accidents. A driver who is aggressive does more than just break the rules in this article. They may try to annoy other drivers on purpose or start a fight with rude gestures or words.