Just a Reminder to All of Us
Have You Been Driving Improperly This Whole Time?
Whether you’ve been driving for two years or twenty years, chances are that you’ve developed your own driving style. Putting a personal spin on everyday routines is a natural tendency for many people, but when it comes to driving those routines can sometimes lead to absent-mindedness, and the development of improper driving habits. Fortunately, subconscious driving and distracted driving habits can be easily corrected once we’ve been made aware of them. Here are 4 of the most common driver’s errors and tips on how to correct them.
Merging on a Freeway
The task of merging onto a freeway is an everyday practice for countless people, and some people even do it several times each day as part of their commute. Once they become comfortable in the routine, some drivers develop a tendency to merge a bit too aggressively, while others tune out and merge too slowly. When merging on a freeway, neither habit is safe. This is a task that requires a calm and attentive demeanor. Here’s what to do:
● As you approach the merge, adjust your speed to match the cars that are already in the merge lane.
● Turn on your signal to indicate that you will be merging onto the freeway.
● Look in your rearview mirror, your side view mirror, your blind spot, and then back to the front, adjusting speed and distance as necessary.
● Gradually, but purposefully, merge into traffic, keeping a minimum of a three second buffer between your car and the cars in front of and behind you.
No matter how comfortable we feel, and no matter how many times we’ve driven the same road, we should always remain diligent and aware. This is especially true when merging, since failure to yield right of way due to improper merging is a leading cause of car accidents in the United States.
No matter where you are or how light the traffic, never ignore your responsibility to notify other drivers of your actions. Always turn on your directional signal at least 100 feet before your planned action. You can avoid collisions with any cars that you might not have seen that are waiting to merge into traffic. If they don’t know your intentions, they’re likely to pull out.
Accelerating Too Slowly
Accelerating too slowly is a good example of a poor driving habit that is developed out of a desire to be cautious. Drivers understand that driving pedal to the medal is bad news for both gas mileage and road safety. However, accelerating too slowly can also be dangerous, especially if you’re impeding traffic. A good middle ground is to take about ten seconds to get from 0 to 40 mph.
It makes drivers feel safe when they ride the brakes while going downhill. Unfortunately, that’s a bad habit because there’s a risk of brake failure. Riding the brakes gets them hot quickly. The alternative is to use the engine instead of the brakes. When driving downhill, shift the car into “L” or “2”, and it will slow down the engine.
As we go about our lives, bad habits can creep into our everyday routines. Sometimes we are not aware of them and they do no harm. However, the same cannot be said for poor driving habits. It’s important to take a step back and assess our driving skills on occasion. In this way, we can ensure that our behind-the-wheel behaviors don’t become a hazard to ourselves and others.