If you’ve been driving for a number of years it can seem like second nature: you know how to judge speed and distance; you are aware of the size of your vehicle, and you are comfortable driving in the everyday traffic in your city. The rules of the road, however, apply to every driver no matter how long you’ve had your license. So here are a few rules that may not be official laws but will prove incredibly beneficial for everyday driving and will help ensure you arrive at your destination safely.
You have probably seen truck drivers do this before hitting the road, but have you ever given your vehicle a once-over? Taking a quick walk around the perimeter of your vehicle before you start driving will allow you to see any damages or issues with your car, so you don’t make them worse by driving at high speeds or long distances.
Make a Plan
Almost all of us know where we’re going before we get into our car, but have you thought about exactly how you’re going to get there? Take a minute to plan out how you’re going to get there: is there construction or any lane closures on your route? Do you know alternative routes in case of any detours? It doesn’t have to be a complete plan, but an idea as to how you’re going to get there is always best.
Keep a Safe Distance
In the city, it’s recommended to be two seconds behind the car in front of you and four seconds away if you’re on the highway. If you aren’t sure how far behind a car you are, pick a landmark ahead of you. When the car in front of you passes it, start counting until you pass this landmark to find out your following distance. This distance is the safe space needed to stop appropriately and avoid an accident or injury to other drivers and passengers.
Checks, Checks and More Checks
In your mirrors, that is. You should be scanning your mirrors every 5 – 8 seconds. And this includes your rear view mirror and side mirrors. You should also check them every time you start going again after being stopped at a light, when making a turn and while you’re stopped.
Communicate with Other Drivers
Your car has a horn, turn signals and tail lights for a reason. These particular items let other drivers know your intentions so they can act accordingly. It’s important to make sure they are in working order before driving anywhere because if your turn signals aren’t working, drivers may not know you want to turn or change lanes on the road.
Leave Some Space
When coming to a stop at a red light, leave about 3 or 4 car lengths between you and the car in front of you. This gives you some extra space as a buffer if a vehicle comes up behind you too fast and is going to hit you from behind. This also allows for you to turn out of the lane if you need to make a last minute adjustment to your plan.
By following these simple rules, you will drastically improve your chances of arriving safely at your destination.