Most people like to think they’re good drivers. And while you may be technically proficient behind the wheel, chances are, you’ve engaged in some less-than-safe behaviors at one point or another. At the time, it probably didn’t seem like a very big deal. But the truth is, taking unnecessary risks behind the wheel makes you (and everyone else around you) vulnerable to property damage, car accident back pain, financial strain, and emotional trauma.
So, now that you know you should be careful, what do you need to do? The first step to eliminate this risk is to understand which driving habits, in particular, could cause a crash. Check out the list below to find out which habits you need to kick to the curb.
3 Driving Habits that Lead to Accidents
1. Distracted Driving
In such a technologically driven era, it’s no surprise that people have a hard time putting their phones or devices down — even behind the wheel. But this behavior is incredibly risky. Taking your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, can cause a variety of accidents, from hitting the car in front of you to running a red light or merging into another lane without warning.
Distracted driving isn’t just limited to using your phone or device though. It refers to any kind of activity that takes your focus away from driving. This may include looking for something in the seat next to or behind you, changing the radio stations, messing with your GPS, eating and drinking, or turning to talk to a passenger.
To avoid this issue, take care of all your needs before you get on the road. If you do need to take a call, send a text message, or change your destination on the GPS, don’t try to do it while you’re driving. Instead, find a safe place to pull over.
2. Not Following the Speed Limit
If you’ve ever found yourself rushing to make an appointment or get to work on time, you might have gone a bit over the speed limit. As tempting as it may be to drive quickly when you’re in a rush, it’s crucial you don’t. Speed limits are designed with a reason — they’re the fastest speed you can possibly go while still remaining safe. Any faster than that, and you run the risk of crashing into another vehicle.
But it’s not just speeding you need to be aware. Going below the minimum speed limit can, in some cases, be just as dangerous. When you drive too slow, you impede traffic, increase the chances of accidents like clogged intersections and fender benders.
3. Driving While Tired or Fatigued
Have you ever found yourself on a long road trip, on the brink of sleep, but forcing yourself to keep going so you’d get to your destination faster? If so, you’re not alone. According to the CDC, 1 in 25 adult drivers will fall asleep at the wheel at some point.
Driving while you’re exhausted is risky for a few reasons. To start, there’s the obvious danger that comes with falling asleep at the wheel. Even closing your eyes for a second could cause you to crash into another vehicle, a person, or an inanimate object.
But even if you stay away, you could still find yourself in a crash. When you’re tired, your reflixed and cognitive abilities decrease significantly. As such, you’re far less likely to react appropriately to your surroundings. For example, you might not stop in time if someone in front of you stops short.
As a driver, it’s your responsibility to keep yourself and others safe. By eliminating these habits, you can do just that.