Driving Tips – Six Critical Driving Strategies Even the Best Drivers Forget
Even if you have been driving for years or decades, people sometimes make mistakes behind the wheel or forget critical driving tips to stay safe. Some things, however, are more commonly forgotten than others. The following reviews six of the most commonly overlooked driving errors that motorists make.
Driving While Distracted
Since they became widespread in the late 1990s, much attention has been paid to the dangerous nature of cell phones, which can distract drivers and end up causing serious crashes. Even if a driver’s attention is diverted for just a few seconds, he or she can end up in a life-changing car crash. In recognition of this danger, safety features have been introduced over the years to avoid distracting drivers. For example, most cell phones today are equipped with a mode that does not alert drivers to new messages when a vehicle is in motion.
Cell phones, however, are certainly not the only distraction known to take the attention of motorists off the road. Some of the other most common distractions include eating or drinking while driving, playing with the radio, or talking to passengers.
Drivers should do everything possible to eliminate any potential distractions while driving. If you are focused on driving, you are much more likely to respond appropriately to dangerous conditions on the road and avoid collisions.
Driving While Fatigued
Motorists who combine alcohol or drug use with the operation of a motor vehicle are engaging in a dangerous driving pattern. Driving while fatigued is another type of risky driving trend that can lead to accidents. Among other reasons, fatigued motorists are less able to promptly respond to traffic conditions. Unfortunately, driving while fatigued is a common occurrence. Based on data compiled by the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of Americans have driven while fatigued while 37% of individuals admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel.
Not only should motorists be cautious about fatigue, but they should also be particularly careful about operating motor vehicles late at night and other times when motorists are often asleep. Motorists should also make sure to receive sufficient sleep before driving an extended distance.
Not Wearing a Seat Belt
Wearing a seat belt should be a routine part of driving. Unfortunately, however, a large number of car crashes involve people who failed to wear seat belts. Motorists should take every step possible to make sure to “click” together their seat belt each time before getting in a vehicle.
By wearing a seatbelt, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that passenger vehicle occupants can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45% and reduce the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50%. Seat belts reduce the chance of injury even more for the occupants of light trucks.
Besides increasing the safety of motorists, remember that in New York the penalty for wearing a seatbelt is $50. If the person not wearing a seatbelt is under the age of 16, the driver receives a maximum fine of $100 and three driver violation points following a conviction.
Even though many motorists understand that speeding can be dangerous, drivers sometimes forget to slow down. Each year, a substantial number of people die in car accidents as the result of drivers who are in a hurry to reach their destinations. Remember, it is a much safer strategy to leave early and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
Not only does speeding endanger the lives of vehicle occupants, however, but it also places the lives of everyone on the road at risk, including pedestrians. Speeding not only involves traveling above the set speed limit, though. Speeding can also occur if a person travels too fast for road conditions, even when driving under the speed limit, during rain or snow, fog, or through construction work.
Not Performing the Shoulder Check
When drivers change lanes, they should glance in both the side and rearview mirrors to watch for traffic. This is true even if a vehicle is equipped with cameras. It is a dangerous mistake for motorists to rely only on the mirrors and not quickly turn backward to glance over their shoulder.
The reason why looking over your shoulder is critical is that vehicle mirrors sometimes do not show nearby vehicles or objects that might be hidden in the driver’s blind spots, which exist on both sides of cars and trucks.
When motorists change lanes, they should make to turn on their turn signal to signify their intentions and then perform a quick check of the blind spots at the side of the vehicle to make sure that the adjacent lane is clear before merging into it. Performing a shoulder check can help motorists avoid causing accidents as the result of improperly merging into an occupied lane of traffic. Even if you have the urge to skip a shoulder check just once or twice, you should avoid doing so.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Motorists should always avoid consuming alcohol as well as mind-altering substances with the operation of a motor vehicle. The Food and Drug Administration has found that many prescriptions, as well as other over-the-counter-medications, can cause various side effects that make it difficult to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Some of the particular medications that the Food and Drug Administration warns against include antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, anti-seizure medications, anxiety medications, muscle relaxants, opioid pain relievers, and sleeping pills.
Some of the side effects associated with these medications that can lead to serious accidents include:
- Blurred vision
- Inability to focus
- Slowed movement
Speak with a Compassionate Long Island Car Accident Attorney
Unfortunately, even if you make sure to always drive safely and follow recommended driving tips, this does not mean that others on the road will, too. If you or a loved one is injured in a car crash caused by somebody else, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced accident attorney. Contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe LLP today to schedule a free case evaluation.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900