When it comes to driving, adopting good habits can not only protect yourself and others on the road but also positively impact your auto insurance.
Many insurance companies offer safe driving discounts to drivers with good driving records, or ones with few or no accidents or traffic violations. The better your driving record, generally the lower your premium. Some companies also offer reduced rates if you take a defensive driving course. To help you reap the insurance benefits, here are five key ways you can become a safer driver.
Follow traffic laws
Adhering to traffic laws may seem obvious, but it’s worth remembering that they aren’t arbitrary—they’re vital to ensuring the safety of yourself and those around you. Make sure you always observe speed limits, obey traffic signals, yield to pedestrians, use your turn signals, and avoid reckless maneuvers such as tailgating and aggressive lane changes. By following the rules of the road, you help reduce the potential risk of accidents and, in turn, injuries and fatalities.
Distracted driving is a growing concern with the rise of smartphones and in-car technology. Always stay focused on the road by avoiding activities like texting, talking on the phone, eating, and adjusting your dash controls. If necessary, utilize hands-free options for calls, and pull over to a safe location to address anything that requires an immediate response.
Maintain a safe distance and speed
No matter your speed, you should keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one directly in front of you. Leaving a minimum three-second gap between your vehicle and the car ahead of you gives you time to react appropriately if the vehicle in front should suddenly stop or slow down. It’s important to remember that this is just a guideline and you’ll want to increase this distance when driving at high speeds or during adverse weather conditions. On that note, reduce your speed during inclement weather, such as rain, snow, or fog, that can heavily affect your vehicle’s handling and visibility.
Practice defensive driving
Defensive driving involves being aware of your surroundings, anticipating potential hazards, and taking proactive measures to avoid accidents. This does not mean being overly cautious or aggressive; rather it requires adjusting your speed, signaling, and route according to the behavior of others on the road. Overall, defensive driving can help reduce your chances of being involved in accidents caused by the carelessness of others.
Avoid driving impaired
Never drive under the influence of alcohol. It impacts your reflexes, reaction time, and overall mental clarity, which poses a significant risk to yourself and others on the road. Be smart and utilize designated drivers or rideshare services even if you plan on having only one drink. Also, don’t drive if you’re tired because it can slow your reaction time and impact your overall ability to drive safely.
Safe driving is a responsibility we owe to ourselves, our passengers, and everyone sharing the road. Take care to stay aware of your surroundings, and make safety a top priority any time you’re behind the wheel.