The advancements in the automotive industry have skyrocketed in the last twenty years, making today’s automobiles safer than ever before. Not only are the vehicles safer, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there we are generally safer drivers than we were even ten years ago. Despite that fact, the number of traffic-related deaths is staggering; in 2014 NHTSA reported that there were over 32,000 projected automobile deaths in the United States alone. The best way to reduce auto accidents is to practice safe driving and to perform regular preventative auto maintenance to your vehicle.
Top 5 Safe Driving Tips
Defensive driving in Texas can be achieved by following a few essential safe driving tips. Take the following tips to heart to ensure your safety on the road:
- Never drink and drive. According to the NHTSA, more than 30 percent of fatal auto accidents in the US were from drinking and driving, which amounts to one fatal drunk driving accident occurs every 51 minutes or so. The sad thing is that all of those accidents could have been prevented. And, getting caught with a BAC of .08 or more in the United States is illegal and will likely result in jail time. If you know you’re going to be drinking, hand your keys over to a designated driver or call a taxi service before you go out.
- Avoid getting distracted while you’re behind the wheel. According to the CDC, approximately nine people die per day from distracted driving and more than 1,153 people are injured per day. Distracted driving includes anything that takes your eyes or mind off of the road or your hands off of the wheel. To avoid distracted driving, refrain from eating, applying makeup, using your phone and even daydreaming while driving. The bottom line is that if you’re not putting your full attention to the road at all times, you’re driving distracted.
- Don’t drive while tired. The NHTSA estimates that approximately 1,550 fatal traffic accidents stem from fatigued drivers in the US per year, and that there are more than 100,000 police accident reports per year that involve fatigue. Get a full night’s rest before going behind the wheel, and pull over and rest if you’re feeling tired.
- Slow down or pull over to the side of the road if the weather is bad. Hazardous weather such as icy roads or hard rain, either slow down or pull over until the weather clears up. According to the US Department of Transportation, approximately 23 percent of the total car accidents—nearly 1,312,000—are related to adverse weather conditions. Seventy-four percent of these crashes happen because of wet pavement (snow, rain or ice). Other than pulling over and slowing down, drivers take several preventative auto maintenance steps in order to prep their vehicles for the adverse weather conditions, which we have outlined in the bullet point below.
- Perform regular preventative maintenance on your vehicle to not only drive safer, but to save money in the long run, too. Do the following to perform preventative maintenance on your vehicle:
- Read your owner’s manual to better understand how often you will need to change your vehicle’s oil, filters, and belts.
- Check your tire pressure and tread regularly. Refer to the owner’s manual for the exact PSI your tire pressure should be, and perform a penny test to check the tread.
- Check the fluids in your vehicle regularly. This includes antifreeze, coolant, wiper and power steering fluids. All of those are very important.
- Inspect the serpentine and timing belts in your car and have them replaced if needed. These two belts generally need to be replaced around every 40,000 – 60,000 miles, but the exact mileage will vary per vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for more exact numbers.
Taking an online defensive driving Texas course is a great way to learn how to drive defensively without having to leave your computer chair. Younger drivers can learn how to drive properly and older drivers can learn how to change driving habits. What’s more, Texas defensive driving courses can even help drivers get their traffic tickets dismissed. Give defensive driving courses a shot today — all with the simple click of a button.