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20 Safe Driving Tips On How To Be a Better Driver

20 Safe Driving Tips On How To Be a Better Driver

Driving safely should always be your top concern when you're behind the wheel of a car - whether alone or with passengers. With so many potential hazards on the road, staying alert and taking precautions to prevent accidents is essential.

Last Updated Feb 16, 2024
5 min read
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In this article, we'll share some essential driving safety tips that every driver should know to ensure the safety of themselves, their passengers, and other drivers on the road. So, let's dive in and explore some essential practices that can help you become a better driver.

Good Driving Habits to Be a Better Driver:

  • Practice Safe Driving & Defensive Driving Habits
  • Make Sure Everyone Wears A Seatbelt for Safety
  • Use Your Turn Signals
  • Follow the Speed Limit
  • Check Your Blindspots
  • Change Lanes with Care
  • Follow the Rules of the Road
  • Avoid Phone Distractions
  • Wait For the Train Before Crossing the Tracks 
  • Keep A Safe Distance Between Vehicles
  • Avoid Drowsy Driving
  • Never Drive Drunk / Impaired
  • Pay Attention to Bad Weather Conditions / Seasons
  • Watch out for Pedestrians
  • Be Mindful of Cyclists and Motorbikes
  • Check Your Vehicle 
  • Use Headlights Wisely
  • Take a Defensive Driving Course
  • Control Your Emotions While Driving 
  • Be Aware of the Law Where You Live and Where You Drive
Woman not practicing safe driving habits

Safe Driving Tip #1: Practice Safe Driving & Defensive Driving Habits

Discover the best safe driving & defensive driving tips that will help keep you and others on the road safe and sound. Not only can practicing safe driving promote road safety, but safe driving can also help save money on car insurance rates. Following these top safe driving practices, you can help keep yourself and others out of harm's way.

Safe Driving Tip #2: Make Sure Everyone Wears A Seatbelt for Safety

Wearing a seatbelt is one of the simplest yet most effective safe driving habits. It can reduce the risk of severe injuries or fatalities in an accident. Ensure everyone in the vehicle wears a seatbelt; even those in the back seat.

It's also crucial to correctly adjust the seatbelt, ensuring it is snug and securely fastened. The seatbelt should sit low on the hips, with the shoulder strap crossing over the collarbone and not the neck.

If you are driving with a child under 12, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that your child or infant sit in the back seat with a car seat that fits your vehicle and child’s current size and age. 

Safe Driving Tip #3: Use Your Turn Signals

Using turn signals is essential for communicating your intentions to other drivers on the road. This habit helps to prevent confusion and reduce the risk of accidents, particularly during lane changes and turns. Always signal your intentions so other drivers have enough time to react.

It's also essential to ensure your turn signals are working correctly and not blocked by any objects, such as snow, debris, or other vehicles. Proper use of turn signals is a simple yet effective habit that can significantly enhance road safety for all drivers.

Safe Driving Tip #4: Follow the Speed Limit

Adhering to the posted speed limit is fundamental for safe and defensive driving. It helps maintain vehicle control and avoid collisions, particularly in adverse weather conditions or unfamiliar roads. Always reduce your speed when driving in school zones, construction areas, or other high-risk areas.

It's also important to remember that the posted speed limit is the maximum safe speed for ideal driving conditions. Sometimes, adjusting your speed even lower due to road conditions, traffic flow, or visibility may be necessary. 

Safe Driving Tip #5: Check Your Blindspots

Blindspots are areas around your vehicle that are not visible in your mirrors. Checking your blind spots before changing lanes or turning is crucial for avoiding collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians. Adjust your mirrors correctly and check your blind spots regularly to avoid surprises.

In addition to checking your blind spots, it's essential to avoid the blind spots of other drivers. By staying aware of blind spots and avoiding them, you can reduce the risk of accidents and help keep the roads safer for everyone.

Safe Driving Tip #6: Change Lanes with Care

To further expand on the point above, changing lanes can be risky, particularly on busy highways. It's important to signal your intentions and check your blind spots before making a lane change to ensure the safety of yourself and other drivers on the road. Always look ahead and behind you before changing lanes, and avoid sudden or abrupt maneuvers.

To ensure a smooth and safe lane change, gradually increase or decrease your speed to match the traffic flow in the lane you want to enter.

Safe Driving Tip #7: Follow the Rules of the Road

Following the rules of the road helps to promote safe driving practices and avoid accidents. Always obey traffic lights, stop signs, yield signs, and other road signs to keep yourself and other drivers safe.

It's also important to be aware of any changes in road conditions or unexpected situations, such as construction or accidents, and adjust your driving accordingly. Being mindful of your surroundings and staying alert while driving can help you respond quickly to unexpected situations and prevent accidents.

Safe Driving Tip #8: Avoid Phone Distractions

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving, mainly using cell phones, can lead to accidents. It's crucial to avoid using your phone or other distractions while driving to ensure your focus remains on the road. Put your phone on silent or use a hands-free device if necessary.

Safe Driving Tip #9: Wait For the Train Before Crossing the Tracks 

Waiting for trains before crossing the tracks is a legal requirement. It's essential to obey railroad crossing signals and warning signs and never try to outrun a train. Trains are massive and can take a long time to come to a complete stop, so always be patient and wait for them to pass.

 It's also crucial to avoid distractions like using your phone or eating while waiting for a train, as it can cause you to miss necessary signals and warnings. Remember, waiting a few extra minutes for a train to pass is much safer than risking your life and the lives of others on the road.

Safe Driving Tip #10: Keep A Safe Distance Between Vehicles

One of the most important defensive driving tips is maintaining a safe following distance. The National Safety Council recommends keeping a distance of at least three seconds from the vehicle in front of you and increasing it to four seconds or as needed in adverse weather conditions.

To calculate your distance while driving, follow the three-second rule. Find a stationery object on the side of the road, and when the car ahead of you passes the object, start counting. Ideally, it should take you three seconds to get to the same object.

This should give you enough time to react to sudden stops or emergencies. Avoid tailgating, as it can lead to car accidents and reduce your reaction time.

Safe Driving Tip #11: Avoid Drowsy Driving

Driving while tired or drowsy can be as dangerous as driving under drugs or alcohol. If you feel sleepy or tired, pull over to a safe location and take a nap or switch drivers. Caffeine and loud music may help you stay alert for a short while but are not a substitute for restful sleep.

It's also essential to recognize the signs of drowsiness while driving, such as yawning, drifting between lanes, or difficulty focusing. If you experience any of these symptoms, take a break immediately and rest until you feel refreshed.

Safe Driving Tip #12: Never Drive Drunk / Impaired

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal and highly dangerous. It impairs your judgment, coordination, and reaction time and can result in serious accidents or fatalities. Always designate a sober driver or use public transportation if you plan to drink or take medication that can affect your driving ability.

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Safe Driving Tip #13: Pay Attention to Bad Weather Conditions / Seasons

Being aware of bad weather conditions and seasons can significantly affect driving conditions and require different driving techniques to ensure safety on the road. Different weather conditions require different driving techniques:

Winter Driving

Winter driving can be challenging due to snow, ice, and reduced visibility. To stay safe, it's essential to reduce your speed and increase your following distance, use winter tires or chains, and avoid sudden maneuvers.

Summer Driving

Summer driving has challenges, such as sudden thunderstorms and wet roads. You should use headlights during heavy rain, reduce speed, and avoid sudden maneuvers. You should also know the risk of tire blowouts due to hot weather.

Driving in the Rain

Driving in the rain requires extra caution. You should use their headlights, reduce speed, and avoid sudden maneuvers like hard braking or accelerating. You should also be aware of the risk of hydroplaning, which can occur when the tires lose contact with the road surface due to standing water.

Driving in the snow

Driving in the snow can be especially dangerous due to reduced traction and visibility. You should use winter tires, reduce speed, and keep safe from other vehicles. You should also avoid sudden maneuvers and be aware of the risk of skidding or getting stuck in deep snow.

Safe Driving Tip #14: Watch out for Pedestrians

Pedestrians are vulnerable road users, and it's the driver's responsibility to watch out for them. Always slow down near crosswalks, school zones, and residential areas, and give pedestrians the right of way. Be extra cautious at night or in low visibility conditions, and use your headlights to make yourself visible.

Safe Driving Tip #15: Be Mindful of Cyclists and Motorbikes

Cyclists and motorbikes are smaller and less visible than cars, so it's essential to be mindful of them on the road. Give them enough space when passing, and watch for sudden turns or maneuvers. Always signal your intentions and avoid distracted driving, which can be deadly for cyclists and motorbike riders.

Safe Driving Tip #16: Check Your Vehicle 

Regular vehicle maintenance is essential for safe driving. Regularly checking your tire pressure, cooling systems, brake pedals, windshield wipers, and other essential components. Routine maintenance prevents breakdowns and accidents and improves your vehicle's performance and longevity.

While driving, you should also pay attention to any warning signs your vehicle may be showing, such as strange noises or warning lights, is essential. Addressing these issues promptly can prevent more significant problems down the road.

It's also essential to keep your vehicle clean, both inside and out. A clean windshield, mirrors, and headlights can help you see more clearly, and a clutter-free interior can reduce distractions while driving.

Safe Driving Tip #17: Use Headlights Wisely

Headlights are not just for night driving. Use them in adverse weather conditions, heavy rain or snow, and low visibility conditions. Avoid using high beams in oncoming traffic or behind other vehicles, as it can blind other drivers and cause accidents.

Using low beams or fog lights to improve visibility when driving in fog. High beams can reflect off the fog and reduce your visibility even more. Additionally, ensure your headlights are clean and properly aligned to improve their effectiveness.

Safe Driving Tip #18: Take a Defensive Driving Course

In addition to lower insurance premiums and improved driving skills, defensive driving courses can also benefit drivers with traffic ticket dismissals or point reductions on their driving records. This can be particularly helpful for drivers who have received a citation or violation that could increase their insurance bill rates.

Moreover, defensive driving courses can also provide a better understanding of comprehensive and collision coverage. Comprehensive coverage protects against non-collision incidents such as theft, vandalism, or natural disasters, while collision coverage covers damages incurred during an accident.

By completing a defensive driving course, drivers can better understand how insurance coverage works and make informed policy decisions. Ultimately, investing in a defensive driving course may save money on insurance premiums and improve safety and overall peace of mind.

Safe Driving Tip #19: Control Your Emotions While Driving 

Road rage and aggressive driving are dangerous and can lead to severe accidents. While on the road, stay calm and focused, and avoid engaging with other aggressive drivers. Take deep breaths, listen to soothing music, or pull over to a safe location if you feel angry or frustrated. Defensive driving is about keeping yourself and others safe, not winning or losing on the road.

Safe Driving Tip #20: Be Aware of the Law Where You Live and Where You Drive

Many of these practices are not only common sense, but they are also required by law. 

Knowing the driving laws in your area and actively following safe driving practices can help create a safer driving environment and potentially save lives. These laws and regulations are in place to help drivers make predictable, informed decisions where the rules of the road are clear and understood by everyone.

How Good Driving Can Save You Money

Driving safely prevents accidents and saves money on car insurance premiums. Here are some ways safe driving can lead to savings:

Car insurance discounts

Many companies offer car insurance discounts for safe driving habits, such as completing a defensive driving course or having a good driving record. Other discounts include good student grades for student drivers and low-mileage discounts for drivers who don't use their cars frequently.

The cost of car insurance can vary depending on various factors, including your driving history, age, and type of vehicle. Maintaining a good credit score may also help reduce your car insurance rates.

Lower insurance premiums

Driving safely and avoiding accidents can help you maintain a good driving record and enjoy lower insurance costs and premiums.

Additionally, installing anti-theft devices in your vehicle can help prevent theft and lower your car insurance premiums

Avoid out-of-pocket expenses from accidents

Car crashes can result in costly repairs and medical bills. By driving safely and avoiding accidents, drivers can avoid these out-of-pocket expenses and save money in the long run.

Save on insurance with SteadyDrive

SteadyDrive is a mobile application that uses proprietary technology to score your driving skills. This, in turn, can help you get discounts on your auto insurance based on your good driving habits. Learn more about how SteadyDrive can save you money.

Typically, insurance companies offer their initial auto policy quotes based on age, credit score, and many other factors without taking your actual driving skills into consideration. Therefore, good drivers may pay more than they actually should. 

On the other hand, SteadyDrive analyzes your driving habits and turns raw information into meaningful data such as your hard braking, speed, phone usage, location, gyroscope data, and many other factors pertaining to driving events. The lower the frequency of risky driving, the higher the score, which could mean greater discounts on your auto insurance. If you qualify as a safe driver, you could save up to hundreds of dollars annually. Low driving scores are not shared with insurers and do not impact your current premiums or future quotes.

If you’re 18 and above with a US driving license, download the free SteadyDrive app and follow the simple instructions to get started.

Conclusion

To be a safe driver, it is important to obey traffic laws and develop good driving habits and techniques. These safe driving tips can reduce your risk of accidents, injuries, and property damage. Remember, safe driving is not just for your safety but also for the safety of others on the road. Always be mindful of your surroundings, keep a safe distance from other vehicles, and avoid distractions while driving. Stay safe on the road, and make every journey a safe one!

RELATED: Driving Etiquette and Basic Driving Tips

Disclaimer:

SteadyDrive is not an insurer or an insurance agent or broker. SteadyDrive does not provide you with an insurance policy, so make sure that you have insurance coverage while you drive. Please contact your insurer or an insurance agent or broker (if applicable) directly regarding questions you may have pertaining to auto insurance coverage. For more details, see SteadyDrive’s Terms of Service.

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