Whether you are a new driver who just passed their exam or an experienced driver with years of driving under your belt, you have a responsibility to yourself and others while behind the wheel of your vehicle. While our driving habits may change over time, we should never forget how important safe driving is and what it means to be a responsible driver. Here are just a few safe driving tips to help you stay sharp when you hit the road.
Focus and be aware of what is going on around you
In today’s technological world we have distractions everywhere we turn—when driving we need to be focused on what is happening on the road and around us. Texting or making calls inevitably take our attention off the road.
Complicated navigational system in your car? Insert the address of your destination before you head off. The most effective of our driver safety tips is to turn off all of your devices while driving. Pay attention to other drivers, what is happening on all sides of your car, and keep an eye out for pedestrians.
Establish a safe driving plan before you leave
Driving safety involves planning. When you get in your car, make sure you are sitting comfortably with seat and mirrors adjusted properly. Before you set off on your trip, it is a good idea to plan out the route you will take and the length of time you expect to be on the road.
For longer drives or road trips, make sure to schedule in food stops, coffee breaks, and rests as necessary. Have you thought about scheduling driving shifts with others in the car, planning how and when the other driver will take over?
This kind of planning ahead means you will be prepared for whatever comes your way on the road, not be speeding to make up time for that “unexpected” stop for a restroom. Planning makes for safe driving—so before you buckle your belt, know what your journey involves.
Safe driving with kids
Being on the road with kids can lead to more distractions and higher stress levels. Driving safely is of paramount importance when you have small children in the car with you. While it can also be fun, it’s best to stick to some important safety rules as kids, like driving, can be unpredictable! Here are some safety tips for drivers on how to keep kids protected while driving:
- There are laws in place as to where kids can sit in a vehicle. There are no concessions on this; any child under the age of 12 should always be seated in the rear seat of the car, in an appropriate child car seat which you have taken care to properly install.
- Seat belts, always. This is a non-negotiator—seat belts save lives, so it really is a no-brainer. It is a simple, 5 second task that will save lives.
- Never leave the car with children left alone. There are so many risks to this and yet many people still feel it’s safe “just for a minute” to pop into a store and leave the kids alone in cars. Children can, and unfortunately do, die in cars on hot days due to heatstroke. They are also curious by nature and can inadvertently cause a car to move, or even start the engine. Electric windows are equally dangerous for curious kids.
Emergency vehicles and being pulled over
When driving, it is the law to pull over when emergency vehicles with lights and sirens flashing are approaching. Be aware of your own safety, and that of other drivers. When you see that it is safe, you should slow down and move to the right and stop completely until the emergency vehicle has passed.
If you are being followed by a police car with sirens going and lights flashing, you should pull over to the right as quickly and as safely as possible and turn off your engine. Remember that pulling over is not an admission of having violated any traffic law. Stay in your car unless asked otherwise by the police officer.
Winter and extreme weather conditions
Driving in extreme weather conditions can unsettle even the most experienced of drivers. Dangerously heavy rain, wind storms, snow, blizzards, or black ice can throw all kinds of stressful and risky situations your way. Here are some driving safety tips to help you navigate extreme weather:
- Make sure your car has been fully serviced so there are no risks of it dying on a dark winter’s evening. Get brakes checked as you need to know they are in top working order.
- Keep your distance. As danger and risks increase on the road, so should the distance between you and other drivers. Keeping the safe distance and extending it during the Winter months is always a good idea.
- Braking techniques change on icy, wet road conditions. If driving into a curve, brake before the curve, rather than during (which is prudent in dry conditions).
- Take a Winter driving class to familiarize yourself with techniques and skills required for these conditions. Driving tips provided in these courses can save lives.
Important Speed and Traffic Laws
Speed and traffic laws are in place for your safety driving, and the safety of other drivers and pedestrians. Drivers need to know the limits and dangers that driving over the speed limit can bring: these are taught at driver’s education courses all over the country.
Road rules do vary by state, but some legislation is the same for most. For example, the age limit is the same in most all states; you must be 16 years of age to drive legally. The general speed limit on highways is 65-75 mph in nearly all states. Seatbelts, as we mentioned before, are mandatory by law for drivers and passengers.
DUI and DWI
Very often these two acronyms are interchangeable. They are related to the crime of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medicine. The acronym DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence, while DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated. If you are convicted for a DUI you will face penalties such as a fine, community service, and in extreme cases, you may be taken into custody and have your license suspended. All 50 states have a legal limit of blood alcohol of 0.8%. For the safety of yourself and others on the road, it’s always better to call a cab or wait somewhere safe while you sober up rather than drink and drive.
If you have any questions as to the laws behind these safety tips, or need legal representation as you face a driving related issue, don’t hesitate to give us a call. At Valiente Mott, our Las Vegas personal injury attorney team is happy to assist you with a consultation, your questions, or more serious legal needs. Our expert and knowledgeable staff has years of experience addressing driving and safety situations, so you can rest assured you’re in good hands.
Valiente Mott is a law firm dedicated to helping personal injury victims. We handle all personal injury matters, including, but not limited to, car crashes, defective products, and catastrophic injury. We are compassionate, yet aggressive when protecting personal injury victims and families who lost loved ones in fatal accidents. Learn more about who we are.
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