6 Ways To Improve Your Driving Habits
Everyone wants to stay safe on the road. When you first get your license as a young adult, you pledge to be smart and responsible behind the wheel. Unfortunately, bad habits are easy to learn and hard to break. As you get more experienced and more comfortable behind the wheel, you might start cutting corners on a few key driving skills. You must stay vigilant with your driving habits throughout your adult life. It only takes one small mistake to create major consequences. Bad driving habits can land you in a lot of legal and financial trouble. Not only will you face tickets, poor driving records, and fines, but bad driving can also take a toll on your vehicle. Keep yourself, your finances, and your car in good shape by brushing up on your skills behind the wheel. Here are six ways to improve your driving habits, no matter how long you’ve been behind the wheel.
Cut Down on Distractions
Life is busy. Some days it seems that every waking moment is full of multiple distractions demanding our attention. Phone calls, texts, the quick meal you had to eat during your commute, or that funny billboard on the side of the road can all prove disastrous if they ruin your focus. Even if you know better than to look at your phone when you drive, you probably deal with multiple distractions every time you get in the car. Adjusting the radio, talking to a passenger, or simply letting your mind wander away from the task at hand are just a few examples of everyday distractions we all face behind the wheel. Eliminate these dangers before you hit the road. Set up your music and other settings so you can have a comfortable ride without messing with dials. If you must take phone calls, use hands-free dialing so that you can keep both hands on the wheel.
Smooth and Steady Driving
You never know when you’re going to have to brake hard and come to a sudden stop. That said, you should always try to drive as smooth and steadily as possible. Gradual acceleration and braking are much better on your vehicle than slamming your foot on the gas or brakes. When you drive with a steady foot, you take better care of your vehicle—which means less mechanic bills down the road. This also gives you and your passengers a smoother, more comfortable ride. Most importantly, accelerating and braking steadily helps you remain in control during bad weather, in rough roads or construction zones, and throughout other tense circumstances.
Stay Calm in Traffic
No one enjoys spending time in heavy traffic, but you can’t always avoid it. Congested roads and busy schedules can lead to impatient or even aggressive drivers. This is why traffic jams are one of the most common causes of road rage. You can’t control how others react to this stressful situation, but you can control your own emotions. Do your best to stay calm behind the wheel, even when you’re faced with aggravating circumstances like heavy traffic or annoyed drivers. Becoming nervous or agitated can lead to poor and often unsafe decisions—such as cutting others off or speeding when you do get the chance to drive again. When you remain cool and centered, you remain in control of yourself and your vehicle. This creates a safer journey for you and everyone else on the road.
Plan Your Route
Another way to stay calm and in control behind the wheel is to know where you’re going. If you plan on venturing past your comfort zone, make sure you plan your route ahead of time. When you know where you’re going, you can spend less time fiddling with directions and more time focused on the road in front of you. This helps cut down distractions such as looking at your phone or debating with your passengers about the best road to take. Planning your route also helps you better organize your time so that you don’t feel rushed as you travel. Overall, you’ll feel calmer, more confident, and more in control as you drive. All of these things help you focus less on where you’re going and more on how to be a safe and responsible driver.
Stick To The Basics
The more you drive, the easier it gets to cut corners on basic safety rules. When you get your license, you drive the speed limit and use your blinker. However, these simple habits tend to fall to the wayside once you get more comfortable behind the wheel. Don’t get lazy with your driving skills. Be sure to prioritize even the most basic rules of the road. Use your blinker when turning, double check your blind spots before merging, and always follow rules such as speed limits and no passing zones. Additionally, keep a safe distance between yourself and the car in front of you so that you have a buffer in case something goes wrong and you have to hit the brakes. While these rules might feel basic—especially when you see other drivers ignoring them—following them is one of the best ways to improve your driving habits throughout your years on the road.
Learn To Be a Defensive Driver
Many of the above tips are defensive driving habits, but it’s still important to put these behaviors together and practice them consistently. You can’t control the actions of others on the road, but defensive driving helps you stay in charge of yourself and your vehicle. Follow the rules of the road, stay calm, confident, and courteous behind the wheel, and give yourself the space you need to navigate high speeds, lane changes, and other reckless drivers. These and other defensive driving habits will help protect yourself and others whenever you get behind the wheel. You can brush up on or learn new defensive driving skills by taking courses online or at your local driving school.
It’s never too late to start improving your driving habits. Even after a reckless driving conviction or other incident that leads to an SR22 insurance requirement, these tips can help you become a safer driver. This will in turn help improve your driving record and give you lower rates on car insurance. Brush up on your skills behind the wheel and work with Serenity Insurance to find the cheapest SR22 insurance in California or anywhere else you live and drive.