NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, Sr. once said, “You win some. You lose some. You wreck some.” Despite the fact that his driving abilities surpassed those of most people who ever sat behind the wheel of a car, he was no stranger to accidents. Sadly, during the Daytona 500 in February, 2001 Earnhardt’s car crashed nose-first into the wall and resulted in his untimely death at just 49 years of age.
Don’t Be an Aggressive Driver
Just because you’re on a multi-lane highway does not mean you should drive like you’re part of a NASCAR race. Weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, and yelling at other drivers might be standard at an automobile race, but on a normal highway or other road surface is called aggressive driving and it carries serious consequences.
Since 1990, nearly 13,000 people were either hurt or killed as a result of an accident caused by aggressive driving. (www.nhtsa.gov) While that may not seem like a large number when divided by just over twenty years’ time, even one accident is one too many.
Be Responsible About Safe Driving
When you get behind the wheel of a car, you are not only responsible for yourself and your vehicle, but also for those in your vehicle as well as the other people on the highway and their vehicles. That is because one wrong move on your part could mean life or death from an innocent person, whether it is a motorist, passenger, or pedestrian. Here are some tips to help keep everyone safe.
- Adjust Accordingly – Before you start up the car, adjust your seat and mirrors. If you have trouble reaching the gas and brake pedals or can’t see out of your vehicle’s mirrors then you increase your chances of having an accident. These types of distractions can make it difficult to know what’s going on around you.
- Wear Your Seatbelt – Next, wear your seatbelt! According to an estimation by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts in passenger vehicles contributed to saving more than 12,000 lives in 2010 alone.
- Drive the Speed Limit – This is not only a safety tip, but also a legal hazard. If you are speeding, you could receive a citation from the police. And if you are driving too fast over the speed limit then that simple speeding ticket could turn into a reckless driving charge.
- Put Down the Phone – If you are talking on a cellphone, then chances are you do not have both hands on the wheel. Cellphones, MP3 players, DVD players built into the car, GPS devices, and even eating are just some of the things that distract people to the point of it affecting their driving.
- Secure Loose Cargo – Purses, suitcases and other objects can jar loose and fall into floor. If you’re in an accident, these items can be a danger to your person as well because they could fly around the car. Anything loose in the back seat or floors should be stored in the trunk of your car or secured in some other way.
- Designate a Safe Driver – Too many people each year are victims in accidents caused by those who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol – even if they were not the person behind the wheel. If there is a chance that you might indulge, don’t get behind the wheel. Call a friend or family member for a ride home, and if all else fails then call a taxi cab.
How to Get More Assistance
One place where you can get more help with safe driving advice is from your car insurance agent. In addition to things like online car insurance comparisons, car insurance companies can offer useful information and suggestions on various topics related to staying safe on the highways. Your insurance agent wants to keep your business, which means keeping your rates low. And the best way to keep your rates low is to be a safe driver!
Another way to improve your driving skills is to take a driving class. Check with your local auto club or Division of Motor Vehicles about courses that help you learn the best way to handle panicky situations such as steering out of a skid. These classes are held on closed course tracks and led by professional instructors. The extra step you take to be a safe driver now might mean the difference between life and death later on down the road.
Freelancer Mark Harris works as both a writer and an internet marketer from the comfort of his own home. Between jobs for his clients he enjoys surfing the web for useful information on sites like http://insurancetipsandrates.com. But when he’s not working Mark prefers being outdoors in the open air where can take part in his favorite pastimes which include kayaking, hiking, and spending time on the many beaches around his home in White Rock, British Columbia.