Despite the public fear of sharks in the ocean or sudden plane crashes, driving a car might just be the most dangerous thing you can do. Plus, you do it all the time, sometimes not even giving it a second thought. The safety of yourself and others while driving a car doesn’t fall on police officers or traffic lights. It falls on us, as drivers, to keep yourselves safe with our daily actions and choices behind the wheel.
While you’ll never be able to prevent all accidents while driving, you can take a lot of effort to ensure you’re a safe driver. Whether you’re new to driving or you want to freshen up your safety skills, read through these tips to guarantee your own safety while operating a motor vehicle.
Brush Up on Road Rules
We all forget the rules of the road from time to time. Whether you’re an experienced driver or not, you should take the time to review your local Driving Guide for specific regulations, expectations, and laws of the road. While some driving rules are common sense, things like which side of a rural highway you should park on or how to manage your car in heavy rain are less easy to remember.
Another safe habit to get into is to always research road rules before you travel. There can be different rules and laws from state to state, and knowing these subtle differences might save you from a pricey ticket. If you’re driving in a new country, always learn the local laws and do as the locals do.
Secure Your Car
No matter how safe of an area you live in, it’s always a good idea to secure your car. Keep your car locked when you’re not inside, even if you’re just leaving it for a moment alone. When you’re driving, use your central car lock to prevent others from forcing their way into your car. Never leave valuables open in your car. If you must leave valuables in your car, secure them in the trunk to deter thieves.
If you can, purchase tinted windows for your car. Just be sure to check local regulations to ensure you’re in compliance with the shade of your windows. At night, avoid turning on your interior lights which can be a signal to potential criminals. Finally, always practice self-awareness when leaving your car alone at night. Park in well-lit areas and be vigilant.
Pay Attention to Other Drivers
While you can only change your own actions, that doesn’t mean you shouldn't pay attention to others on the road. In a perfect world, everyone would follow traffic laws and rules, but that’s rarely the case. Don’t assume other drivers will look out for your safety, and always check the location of those around you to ensure they aren’t getting to close to your vehicle. Report unsafe drivers to local law enforcement when possible.
If you feel you’re being followed by another car, continue an alternative route or drive to the nearest fire or police department. When operating a motor vehicle, if you’re forced to pull over for some reason, immediately call for help or look for a place of shelter. A car pulled over with no way to escape is a prime position for would-be attackers and criminals.
Ultimately, you are responsible for your own safety. By being aware of other drivers, you can keep yourself safer while on the road. A little bit of vigilance and common sense goes a long way to making driving a safer activity.