4 Driving Behaviors You Need to Avoid to Reduce Your Accident Risk

4 Driving Behaviors You Need to Avoid to Reduce Your Accident Risk

By now, it should go without saying that distracted driving is very serious business. While we tend to take driving for granted, even taking small risks (like scrolling through your phone) can increase your chances of causing an accident. To avoid those increased risks and become a safer driver, you need to be willing to take the following steps.

Avoid Becoming a High-Risk Driver to Avoid Higher Risks and Costs

If you are a driver who has been issued multiple citations, have been involved in several accidents or have been convicted of a DUI, you may be considered “high risk” as compared to other drivers. Getting auto insurance for high-risk drivers is tricky, as AutoInsurance.com 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.” Still, you need adequate insurance coverage to protect yourself and others on the road with you, whether you engage in risky driving behavior or not, so do your homework to see if you can find a policy that fits your budget and your needs. You should also curb those risk behaviors, such as speeding, to curb any potential hazards and extra costs.

Stop Using Your Phone Behind the Wheel to Prevent Accidents

If you pick up your phone while driving, you are not alone. One report estimates that over 80 percent of people who were behind the wheel in recent years were also using their phones. Whether those people were texting, talking, or looking for directions, they were putting themselves and others in the car with them at a 20 percent higher risk of being involved in a potentially deadly accident. Driving while distracted by a cell phone takes your attention off the road in front of you, so you are less likely to be able to react appropriately to hazardous situations. You never know when an animal may cross the road in front of you or when you may need to come to a sudden stop, so put your phone down and pay attention while driving.

Never Drive Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol to Reduce Risks

When you’ve had a drink or two, or if you’ve used drugs recreationally, you may be tempted to get behind the wheel. You may think twice, however, when you find out that statistics show drivers who are under the influence of any kind of drugs or alcohol to be seven times as likely to end up in a fatal car accident. The life ended could be your own or it could be a family in the car you hit. Either way, driving while intoxicated is never worth the risk to the lives and safety of others, or yourself. Even if you are below the legal limit, your reaction skills and focus may still be too impaired to drive safely. So, when in doubt or when you are intoxicated at all, it’s a much better bet to call a cab or use a rideshare service.

Don’t Operate Your Vehicle If It Has Not Been Properly Maintained

The behaviors you exhibit behind the wheel can determine your risk on the road. How you care for your car, however, can have an impact on that risk as well. Proper maintenance not only ensures your car will not leave you stranded but it also helps ensure you will not cause an accident. So, if you have not followed the recommended maintenance schedule, take your car in to be serviced immediately. You need to know that your brakes and other crucial safety systems are working properly and you also need to get back on track with routine maintenance. For example, maintaining proper tire pressure is a very easy way to avoid experiencing a blowout and even getting yourself out of tricky driving situations. Stay on top of this and other maintenance tasks to keep yourself safe on the road.

Being a safe driver means being attentive and focused while you are on the road. It also means carefully crafting your driving behaviors so that you minimize distractions and risks for yourself, your passengers, and other people and families on the road with you.

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