While this may seem unfair, think how many seconds it takes to send a text.
Think now, how many seconds it takes for the car in front of you to stop short, or for a little kid to run out from between parked cars on the side of the street.
This happens ALL THE TIME.
A lot of people think that they can do both.
I’m sure you can, and maybe you’ve sent 200 text messages while driving with no international incidents.
This is a ratio that my instructor drilled into my head.
For Every 300 unsafe actions that you take,
you will have 29 minor incidents and 1 serious incident.
Maybe you will manage to avoid accidents constantly, but eventually, the odds will mount against you and you may kill someone.
3. Leave Yourself an Out
This ties in with some of the other tips,
but, in short, always have an escape plan in place.
This can be as simple as leaving room to pull out, should you get stuck behind someone at a red light.
Or, as complicated as backing off on the highway so you don’t get trapped between two tractor trailers.
Any number of scenarios can play out on the road around you, and while you certainly can’t predict every one, by paying attention and planning properly, you can definitely avoid most of them!
By constantly maintaining a safe following distance, you set yourself up for success.
Now, begin to pay attention to who or what
is on your sides and behind you.
You may have a cliff to your right and heavy traffic to your left.
Where will you go if a deer runs into the road?
Is there a breakdown lane or a solid shoulder?
If you are stopped at an intersection, and the car in front of you stalls, how will you get out if you are stopped inches from their bumper, and the car behind you does the same?
The scenarios are endless, but, with some observance, and planning, you can increase your odds of always getting out safe!
4. Look Ahead
Sure, it’s important to know whats happening in front of your car, but what is unfolding 1/4 mile up the road?
Is there a mail truck stopped dead in the road?
Or Is traffic backed up?
A school bus with it’s reds on?
Is there flooding?
Will you have to change lanes or stop to avoid a hazard?
It may not come naturally, but looking as far ahead as possible can make the difference between a collision and not a collision.
If you’re able to see whats going on 100 yards away, you have more time to plan for it NOW, than when that same goings on is suddenly 10 yards away.
See what I mean?
Even if you are the only person on the road, you can and should still look far ahead.
One of my biggest nerves is stalling in a puddle, as I like to drive lowered Hondas with cold air intakes, and have stalled in a huge puddle before.
Now, if I’m trucking along in my lowered Honda, looking as far ahead up the road as possible, I will probably see the ginormous puddle much sooner than if I wasn’t looking and was quite suddenly in or at the puddle, and by then, it may be too late to act.
Looking ahead is helpful for so many situations.
It definitely helps to have a much time as possible to act safely while driving.
5. Get the Big Picture
If you are constantly paying attention, with your eyes always scanning the immediate area in your field of vision, and as far ahead as humanly possible, you will be able to get the big picture of what’s going on on the road.
You will know how fast or slow traffic is moving, if there is an erratic driver or even a pedestrian, ahead of you or behind you.
And when you are in tune to the big picture, you will be better armed against potential hazards.
Usually, you can anticipate how other drivers may react, and plan accordingly.
If there is road work, or someone being pulled over, you will be able to put all of the pieces together, and respond safely.
Road and weather conditions, the flow of traffic, people/things in the roadway, accidents, stale green or red lights –
these are all parts of The Big Picture.
They are pieces to the whole of what is going on, and they are always changing.
Driving can be maddening, and frustrating.
It can be very dangerous, and very scary.
There are tons of ways to be a safe driver,
but these are my top 5, and they are taught fairly universally.
Like I mentioned before, I wish that every driver on the road had to have professional training before getting their operator’s license.
Do yourself, and everyone on the road a favor, and DRIVE SAFELY!