They can only cover so much information in a driver education course. So I have compiled a short list of uncommon driving safety tips that may help in the long run to help prevent accidents and possibly save a life or two.
Don’t have your own car visible in your side mirrors. This is a common mistake that drivers make. You should always angle them away from you until the point where your car is no longer visible in either side mirror. This way there is no overlap between your side mirrors and the rear view mirror, and any car that is passing you on either side will remain in at least one of your side mirrors until it enters your field of vision. Professional drivers lean into their console and adjust their rear view and side mirrors at one time to cover any blind spots. If you don’t have a rear window, this is especially helpful, especially if you have a white serial killer van with no windows.
Pay attention to traffic before road signs. While road signs indicate when to yield, stop, etc. and who has the right of way, paying attention to traffic will certainly help to avoid an accident. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore stop signs or road signs, but that you shouldn’t rely on them and should always follow traffic and use your best judgement. You may be obeying the signs but there are others out there who won’t.
Always leave your headlights on. Because something lit up is always more visible (like your Uncle John at every Christmas party). Studies show that you can reduce your risk of being involved in an accident by up to 32 percent by driving with your headlights on at all times. But, if you are trying to save the life of the bulbs so they last the life of the car, at least use your headlights whenever there is inclement weather and always when you are on a high-speed roadway.
Use your parking brake/emergency brake when parking, even if not parked on a hill. It’s kind of a use it or lose it deal. So, just to keep it in good working order, try to put it on whenever you park. Getting into this habit may also save property and lives. Anton Yelchin’s family has suffered as the result of him not using his emergency brake. Don’t be another statistic.
If you blow out a tire, don’t slam on the brakes. Although this may be instinctual, applying the gas slightly and gripping the wheel as not to steer against the blown tire will avoid a fishtail. Do this until you can regain control until you can take your foot off the gas and let the car slow down on its own, naturally. And then you can change your pants. You should always carry a spare pair of pants along with your spare tire. And try to steer off the road on the same side as the blown tire, not against it. Don’t make sudden corrections and don’t try to re-enter the roadway on uneven pavement.
If you pull onto the freeway shoulder, never use your hazard lights because drunk drivers are attracted to flashing lights. Just like blonds being attracted to shiny objects. Rather, you should put on your signal light as if you are planning to re-enter the freeway (even if you’re not). Because approaching vehicles will expect that you may pull out in their lane and move over a lane for their safety (which in turn is safer for you).
Until next week…
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Uncommon Driving Safety Tips – Comedy Defensive Driving