Make Safe Driving a Habit


 Habits become a part of the way you live – and very much a part of the way you drive. That’s a problem – because we not only develop good driving habits but also bad driving habits.
If a collision occurred every time a driver did something unsafe, bad driving habits wouldn’t develop. All too often though, a driver gets away with something – poor judgment or behavior. So they do it again and again! The unsafe behavior becomes a bad habit that may eventually cause a serious crash. But good driving can be just as habit-forming as bad driving. If you do something correctly often enough, before you know it, it becomes a good habit! Here are some good driving behaviors to help you get into the good driving habit.

Getting Rid of Bad Habits
The best way to get rid of bad habits is to replace them with good habits. Don’t climb behind the wheel and start right off. Instead, start off right! Get in the habit of checking out your vehicle before you start your driving day.

  • Look for oil, water or fuel leaks and for cut or worn spots on tires.
  • Make sure the instrument gauges, windshield fluid and wipers, heater and defroster are working properly.
  • Test your horn and check your turn signals and headlights.
  • Keep all the lenses and mirrors clean.
  • Get in the habit of getting rid of distractions when you make your pre-trip check.
  • Clear the dashboard of papers or items that could cause glare or distract you. Store or secure loose items safely, including laptop computers.
  • Keep change for tolls within easy reach.
  • Check mirrors and get comfortable by adjusting your seat before you drive.
  • Don’t talk on a cell phone while driving – it’s a significant distraction and a bad habit. Make it a good habit to use the cell phone only when you aren’t driving and safely parked.

A bad driving habit might get started on purpose –but it often ends by accident. For example, the driver who “plays” the red lights by maintaining vehicle speed while approaching an intersection, hoping the light will change and it won’t be necessary to slow down. They get pretty good at it. And that’s too bad. Because before long it’s not a game anymore – it’s a habit that leaves the driver wide open to unexpected danger – like another driver on the intersecting street who tries to make it through the light at the last second.

The result? Maybe a crippling or even fatal crash. And the end of a bad driving habit. Get in the habit of slowing down when you approach a traffic light. If the light is green, approach with caution in case it changes. If the light is red, slow down and be prepared to stop in case it doesn’t change. If the light is changing from red to green, slow down to give the intersection time to clear.
Slow down for all intersections – especially those without a traffic signal or sign. As you approach, look carefully for other traffic and pedestrians. Keep your foot poised over the brake so you can react quickly if you need to. Even if you have the right-of-way, never assume the other driver is going to give it to you. Slow down and be sure!

To learn more about making safe driving a habit, continue reading this article here. You’ll be glad you did!

Posted By: Beth Tracton-Bishop, The Hartford