If you’ve just gotten through with online traffic school, you’re probably feeling quite relieved. A quick course and a small fee and voila! No longer do you face the threat of points on your license. It’s time for you to get back on the road and on with your life, and you can now put traffic school behind you.
While this is certainly true—you did complete the course—it’s always wise to look at your driving habits and see how you can improve. Most states put a limit on how often you can take traffic school to waive a ticket, and if you end up with the same violation next month you might not be so lucky in getting it dismissed. That could mean points on your license for years to come.
So it’s time for a bit of a wake-up call. You can’t simply rely on online traffic school to make you a better driver!
You have to actually change your driving habits, too, so that you don’t run into the same issues again.
Your phone may have become an extension of your arm by this point, but it is the most alarming distraction out of all the ones you could face and it’s self-inflicted! It’s not enjoyable to quit the phone cold turkey, but don’t worry—once you get to your destination you can hop right back on.
At any given moment in the daytime in the United States, approximately 660,000 people are using their phones while driving. That’s a scary number. Cell phones not only take your mind from the road, but they require you to take your eyes off of the road as well. In a split second, it’s possible for an animal or a person to step out into the street, for a car to swerve unexpectedly, or for a light to turn yellow. If your eyes aren’t taking it all in, you could be responsible for a fatal accident all for a text message or phone call that just couldn’t wait.
Although cell phone use laws while driving vary state to state, the best thing you can do is put the phone away or put it in airplane mode. There’s no text or phone call that is more valuable than your own life.
Many people simply will switch lanes on the highway often or assume that people will know they’re turning right since they’re in the right lane. In fact, a study from the Society of Automotive Engineers showed that about half of people don’t use their turn signals.
While you may completely know your next steps on the road, your turn signals are your way of communicating what you want to do to other drivers. Just like your red brake lights let the car behind you know it’s time to slow down, a turn signal indicates your next move. It can also express your desire to get into a lane. Cars won’t slow down or let you in if they have no idea in the first place that you want to get into the lane, but if you put on your turn signal you’ll find that many drivers will happily allow you to get in front of them.
Turn signals require minimal effort on your part and keep you communicating clearly to the other drivers on the road. Your hands are already on the wheel, so remember to turn it on when you’re going left or right.
Not everyone can afford a brand new car that’s straight from the factory, but no matter the age of your car you can still conduct regular check-ups. Get the oil changed, switch out the wipers for new ones, and ensure that all of your lights turn on properly.
Cars are not perfect and they can sometimes run into problems or malfunction, but you can reduce these issues from happening on the road. Imagine encountering torrential rains only to find out that the rubber part on one of your windshield wipers is totally defective. Additionally, you can be held at fault for accidents if you don’t have working lights (aside from the fact that you got into an accident in the first place, which you definitely don’t want either).
Cars are large and weigh thousands of pounds, so something as small as a worn down tire can be a cause for disaster. Check in with a mechanic every few months to ensure that your car won’t cause you any trouble on the road.
While you’re going 60 miles per hour down the highway is not the ideal time to adjust your mirrors, move your seat back an inch, or clasp your seatbelt because you forgot it. We drive our cars everyday usually, so we often just hop into the driver’s seat and get going. However, mirrors can shift over time and different shoes put our feet at a different spot on gas and brake pedal.
As many adjustments as you can make before you put the car in drive, the better. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable; for example, you might need to turn down the air conditioning a little bit into your trip or you want to roll up windows a bit in a louder part of the city. But taking ten seconds to make sure everything is in a comfortable spot before you take off can eliminate problems on the road.
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