How to Develop Road Safety Skills

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If you develop road safety skills, you may be able to avoid an accident, stay out of the hospital, and even save lives. Remember to drive when alert. Look around constantly, minimize distractions in the car, allow enough distance between vehicles and use the basic defensive driving skills you learned when you first began to drive.

Drive only when sober and rested. Pull over and rest or let someone else drive if you feel drowsy. Stay alert at all times.

Look ahead of you and around you constantly as you drive. Check the rear view and side view mirrors every 6 to 10 seconds. Anticipating danger is a key component of defensive driving.

Slow down and look both ways before driving through an intersection. Look around for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Take extra care and look both ways at railroad crossings.

Minimize distractions in the automobile. Never text or talk on the phone. Make young passengers behave and stay calm. Don’t spend a lot of time adjusting the radio or stereo. Pull over to read maps or consult the GPS system. Don’t drink or eat while driving.

Wear your safety belt

Stay back far enough from the car in front of you — 3 seconds in good road conditions, 6 seconds if you’re in heavy traffic or bad weather. Watch for the vehicle ahead of you to pass a sign or other landmark, then allow either 3 or 6 seconds for your car to reach the landmark.

Change lanes and back up only after checking your blind spot by looking over your shoulder for traffic or obstacles.

Hang back or pull over and wait if you see an erratic or dangerous driver. Don’t react if someone cuts you off, gestures or honks his horn at you.

Use directional signals when turning at a corner or making a lane change. Turn on your blinker in plenty of time to signal drivers and pedestrians.

Consult with your doctor or pharmacist about side effects if you are taking new medications. Don’t drive if the bottle says not to operate machinery while taking the medicine.

Avoid driving, when possible, during inclement weather conditions such as rain, snow or sleet.

Avoid driving at night if you have poor night vision.

Make sure your car is in good mechanical condition, the tires are inflated and in good condition, and the car has enough oil and fuel to arrive at your destination.

Plan your route ahead of time if you are traveling in unfamiliar territory.

Locate and practice operating the emergency brake in case the brakes fail.

Clean the windows regularly so you can see clearly.


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