Driver Defense: 10 Ways to be Safer on the Roads
Want to know how to be a good driver? Of course you do! (Who doesn’t?) Well, here’s a slightly-uncomfortable truth: Perfectly safe driving is impossible.
There are always risks involved when you’re hurtling down the road in a high-speed vehicle. Bad weather. Distracted or impaired drivers. Unsafe road conditions. There are too many variables outside of your control to bring your risk of accidents down to a perfect zero. There are, however, rules you can follow to be a safer driver.
We’ve rounded up the ten most powerful tips to help boost your safety on the road. Check out our infographic below and brush up on how to be a safe driver (or safer driver) the next time you hop in your car. But first, a little background:
Driver safety tips - from basic to cutting-edge
Some safe driving tips are so obvious that anyone with a learner’s permit could name them - like using your lights and turn signals, wearing a seat belt, obeying the speed limit, watching your rear-view mirror, and getting a good night’s sleep before you get in the driver’s seat.
On the other hand, some safe driving habits take a little more practice - like keeping your cell phone in the glove box to limit distractions, maintaining an appropriate stopping distance between your car and the next vehicle, learning to recognize and avoid aggressive drivers, and investing in a defensive driver program.
And finally, some safe driving tips involve the very latest road safety technology - like cutting edge mobile apps that help you make smarter choices while driving. The key to staying safe while you driver is combining these approaches in a smart, holistic way.
The financial impact of driver safety
While every passenger and driver wants to stay safe on the road, it’s easy to forget that driver’s safety also has an impact on your financial health. That’s because your insurance rates are affected by your driving record.
After all, insurance companies base their rates on your likelihood of making a claim. If you’ve been in many vehicle accidents, you’re considered more likely to be involved in such incidents in the future. Insurers consider you more risky to insure, and will tend to charge higher premiums.
On the other hand, relatively safe drivers get the financial benefit of lower monthly rates. That means you can get discounts on your insurance policy by doing the things insurers value as signs of driver safety. This includes the successful completion of a driver safety training course (aka ‘defensive driving’), acquiring a safer motor vehicle, and taking a teen driver safety course if you’ve just gotten your license.
Why teen driving courses are crucial
Inculcating safe driving habits in young people, from the very first time they touch the steering wheel, is an indispensable part of making our roads safer. That’s because the typical teen driver has a significantly greater accident risk than older adults. It’s not young people’s fault - they simply have less experience honing their driving skills. Automobile insurance companies know this, which is why teen drivers are charged higher rates.
For young drivers, completing a driver education course is a critical way to start building experience early. Anyone, at any age, can become a safer driver. But learning the basics of traffic safety as a teen driver, when you’re first building a lifetime of safe driving habits, is priceless.
How new tech makes driving even safer
Every year, groundbreaking new technology has made motor vehicles less risky to operate. Not too long ago, that meant airbags and antilock brakes. But in 2019, there’s a whole slew of novel tech that can help you avoid unsafe situations on the road. Here’s a rundown of some of the latest features:
- Backup cameras: These cameras are mounted on the back of your vehicle and show you what’s behind you as you reverse.
- Blindspot detection: If you try to change lanes with another car in your blindspot, a noise and flashing light will let you know.
- Adaptive lights: When you’re approaching a curve at night, smart headlights rotate to point in the direction you’ll be turning, illuminating the dark road ahead.
- Lane assist: If you start to drift out of your lane, a warning signal goes off. If you keep drifting, the car can adjust the wheel automatically to put you back on a safe course.
See more high-tech safety features - along with other key safe driving tips - in the infographic below!