Understanding the Importance of Road Safety

By Mark Conner

How carefully you drive can influence a lot of things. It can mean safety on the road, having a clean driving record, and having lower insurance premiums, and it can even have a negative impact on your career. Read on for some crucial information about maintaining good habits and staying safe when you climb behind the wheel.

The Value of Good Habits

How do you define a “safe” driver? If you simply chalk it up to not getting into a lot of wrecks, chances are there is room for improvement. Even if you only “occasionally” break the rules of the road, it’s important to understand those little slips when you’re in a hurry can lead to trouble. In fact, if you make it your routine, you can earn a “high risk” label.

Being a high-risk driver is nothing to sneeze at. As the website Auto Insurance explains, “The ‘high risk’ label is given to drivers who have too many negative items on their driving records, whether those items are too many tickets and violations, traffic accidents, convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or other offenses.”

What’s more, if you ever want to obtain a CDL, you must meet some minimum driving record requirements. You can’t have your license revoked or suspended in any state — ever. You have to keep your record squeaky clean, with no major driving offenses, and you can never be found at fault for an accident. The federal government will check your record when you apply, and if you lie about it, you won’t get your license.

If you or someone in your household is a high-risk driver, make sure you have proper insurance coverage. It’s there to protect the driver, as well as others, in the event of an accident, and minimum coverage is required in most places.

If your habits could use improvement, consider these important points:

Check Your Speed

Driving above the speed limit can increase your risk of getting noticed by the law, and according to some studies, if you’re in a crash, speed can also increase how much damage occurs. It can raise the risk of you hurting yourself and others as well, so obey the speed limit laws.

Check Your Attitude

We often think of road rage as aggressive driving, but it’s actually much more than that. It’s also things like hitting the gas as soon as a light turns green, tail-gating, and cutting other drivers off.  If you find yourself getting aggravated in traffic, take a few moments to calm yourself down and breathe. Leave plenty of time in your schedule to reach your destination, and if time gets too tight, choose to be late instead of being unsafe and reckless.

Check Your Energy

Do you get behind the wheel when you’re feeling groggy? As NBC News explains, driving drowsy puts you at risk for an accident. It can impair your judgment, slow your reaction time, reduce coordination, and even lower your ability to that of someone who has alcohol in their system. Rather than driving while you’re fatigued, pull over and take a quick nap, or pull over and call a friend to chat until you feel more alert.

Don’t Check Your Phone

Distracted driving means doing something while you’re driving that has nothing to do with driving. It can be anything that takes your hands, eyes, or mind off what you’re supposed to be doing. There is a lot of attention on texting while driving in particular, and with good reason.  When you’re messing with a phone, you’re reducing all three capacities — hands, eyes, and mind. There are other things people do that constitute distracted driving as well. Applying makeup, shaving, adjusting a GPS, and disciplining children are just a few examples. If something threatens to steal your attention from the road, pull over to address the issue.

Being a safe driver is something you should never take for granted. Watch your speed, keep a good attitude, stay alert, and maintain your focus. Good habits can influence your life in important ways, now and down the road.