While public transportation in this country works well, it’s nowhere near as helpful as driving. Cities, shopping centers, and neighborhoods are designed for people in automobiles. That’s why it’s such a big deal when someone gets (or loses) their driver’s license.

You know how to drive, but everyone picks up some bad habits from time to time. However, you’re not stuck with them. There are ways you can change your driving habits so you can stay safe and stay on the road.

Bad Habits When Driving

Doing something like driving on the wrong side of the road is obviously wrong, but other self-imposed dangers are more subtle. Bad driving habits develop over time so you have trouble noticing them. That why you need to take some time and check if you have any of these bad driving habits:

  • Accelerating when you see the light change to yellow.
  • Forgetting to check your blind spots before changing lanes or turning.
  • Merging unsafely by allowing too many people to get in front of you.
  • Failing to use turn signals.
  • Cutting in front of other cars.

Some habits are bad, but there are others that are illegal. Insurance provider GEICO has a list of possibly illegal habits, such as:

  • Using your cell phone while driving
  • Wearing headphones and listening to music
  • Following a car too closely
  • Routinely driving above the speed limit

Tips For Driving More Safely

While it helps to know what not to do on the road, altering your behavior can be tough. There’s a good chance you’ve been doing these for a while, so changing them cannot happen overnight. Then what can you do to drive more safely?

Jamesclear.com has an excellent article describing how to replace bad habits with good ones. For example, think about what you gain from a bad habit. Then find a good habit that helps give you something similar. If you accelerate through yellow lights because you’re usually running late, leave a few minutes early to help you arrive on-time.

Nationwide Insurance lists four general driving tips. Consider these goals to aim for so you can be safer behind the wheel:

  1. Stay focused on driving. You can listen to music or talk to a passenger, but don’t use your phone at all. If you must make or take a call, utilize hands-free options such as Bluetooth technology.
  2. Drive defensively. That means assuming other drivers aren’t paying attention and watching out for other cars doing something unsafe or illegal. In other words, plan for bad drivers.
  3. Plan ahead. Know your destination and have your GPS set before you start driving. Also, consider eating while parked so you can enjoy the food more and not lose focus.
  4.  

  5. Make safety a priority. Always drive with the seat belt on keep anything you might need (money for tolls, parking passes, etc.) easily accessible.

Driving Under The Influence

Of course, you cannot talk about driving safety without addressing the issue of on-road intoxication. Many people know not to drive when drunk or high, but there are always some who think they can handle it.

As DrugRehab.org explains, driving under the influence leads to more car crashes, injuries, costs, and deaths. This can be due to alcohol, but substance abuse is on the rise. Using marijuana, cocaine, meth, or prescription drugs when behind the wheel is just as dangerous as excessive alcohol consumption.

If you are under the influence of any mind-altering substance, do not drive. Instead, take an Uber or taxi, or, better yet, plan for a designated driver. And if you see one of your friends stumbling toward their vehicle keys-in-hand, make it clear that you’ll help them get home another way.

Drive Safely

Bad driving habits are rarely picked up on purpose. They just tend to happen. Thankfully, you can replace them with positive practices, including not driving under the influence. Not only will this increase your safety, it will help protect innocent people on the road as well. Good driving habits really are a win-win situation.

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