Serving Texas and Colorado

The Most Forgotten Driving Tips

Avoid distractions
Distracted driving accounts for 10% of all fatal accidents and is responsible for more than 1,000 motor vehicle accidents per day. Texting and phone calls, especially for teen drivers, is the primary cause, but other distractions include eating, talking to passengers, and adjusting the GPS.

Adjusting mirrors and headrest
Especially if you share a car with another driver, check your mirrors before getting on the road. Adjust the headrest, too. The headrest is designed to help limit whiplash in the case of a rear-end collision. Position your headrest so it is even with the top of your head and, ideally, about one inch away from the back of your head.

Wear your seat belt
By now this should be a habit; however, there are still too many people who ignore the life-saving features of car seat belts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that wearing a seat belt in the front seat of a car can reduce “fatal injury by 45 percent” and by 60 percent in small trucks.

Driving in fog
Driving in thick fog can be a stressful experience. Here are some tips:

Slow down.
Turn on your lights.
Use your low beams. The fog will reflect light from your high beams and make it even more difficult to see.
Follow the lines on the road to ensure you stay in your lane.
Do not multi-task. (Good advice anytime you are behind the wheel.)

Using high beams
Fog isn’t the only driving condition where high beams are detrimental. Whether you’re on a city street, back road, or on the interstate, switch to low beams when you can see another car. High beams make it difficult for oncoming traffic to see, and for cars in front of you, that bright light is distracting.

There are also plenty of times when it’s good to use your high beams, like driving along a dark road in the country.

Parking on a hill
When you park facing uphill, turn your wheels toward the street and use the curb as a block to keep your car from rolling. If you’re facing downhill, turn your wheels toward the curb. Also be sure to set your parking brake and put the car in first gear if you have a manual transmission.

Stop for school buses
It’s hard to miss a stopped school bus, yet the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services estimates that there are “over 13 million violations by private motorists” every school year. The point? Don’t risk the lives and safety of children. Stop for school buses.

Driving in rain
Driving in heavy rain is similar to driving in fog. Turn on your headlights (low beams), slow down, and be aware of the possibility of hydroplaning.

What to do when you hydroplane
Anytime you drive in the rain or on wet roads, there is a chance you will hydroplane. In the event your vehicle hydroplanes, steer in the direction you want the front of your car to go.

Driving in snow
From black ice to slippery roads, there are plenty of possible winter driving hazards. At its most basic, however, the best way to drive in snow is to leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you, allow extra time, and expect slippery roads.

Four-way stops
Who has the right of way at a four-way stop? The first car at the intersection has the right of way. The hard part is when two or more cars approach a four-way stop at the same time. What then? The car to the right goes first.

Share the road with the road with bikes
Cyclists have the same rights to the road that motorized vehicles have, and some states have a “3-foot rule” for passing bicyclists. So share the road, pass when it’s safe, and remember that’s one less car creating jams drive jams during morning drive.

Don’t tailgate
Driving too close to the car in front of you only accomplishes one thing: putting you, your passengers, and other drivers in danger. When you tailgate, you severely decrease your ability to stop in the event of an emergency. You also reduce your ability to look ahead for road hazards. The California Department of Motor Vehicles recommends leaving a space of at least three seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Driving tired
Did you know that driving without enough sleep is just as bad as drunk driving? U.S. News reports that drivers “who sleep for less than four hours in a 24-hour period are 11.5 times likelier to crash.” If you find yourself getting sleepy behind the wheel, try to pull into a rest stop and take a nap. Light exercise is also good for some rejuvenation, as is drinking caffeine and water or rolling down the window to get some fresh air. Be aware, however, that these are just temporary fixes.

Stay safe out there!

Metro Doctors Group assists people who have sustained injuries in an automobile accident or at work. Our doctors treat all kinds of injuries, but specialize in musculoskeletal injuries.

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Thank you to Pekin Insurance for the info!

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