10 Safe Driving Tips

Posted by: Dan on 21/11/2014

Category: Community

10 Safe Driving Tips

The open road is a great Aussie tradition

Image: Richard Riley

Both vehicles and roads have gotten a lot safer over the years. However, that fact does not bypass the need to take safety precautions. To ensure a safe drive to your destination, it's a good idea to be aware of best practices.

Car accidents are almost always the result of human error. If you can mitigate the risks, you can decrease your chances of being involved in accidents.

Here are 10 safe driving tips that will keep you safer while on the road.

1. Take Regular Breaks

Even if you aren't feeling tired or sleepy, it's still a good idea to take a break ever so often. Take some time to get some fresh air, stretch your legs, walk around a bit, get a snack, or even take a nap if you need to recharge.

Driving does require a significant amount of your attention, and can deplete your energy levels quicker than you might think. After all, you have to remain alert and awake in all situations, paying attention the road as well as other drivers and people or objects by the side of the road.

2. Share Driving Duties

If you're about to embark on a longer trip, see if you are able to share driving duties with a friend, a family member, or a significant other. You can keep an eye on each other as the journey progresses, and if you aren't driving, you can also take a nap, listen to some music, open a window, or do something else for a while.

Though it's always good to be able to share driving duties when you can, there are times when you have to venture out alone. Remember to travel at a safe speed, and pay close attention to the road; especially at night.

3. Bring A Backup Map

Even if you have a GPS, it's still a good idea to have some kind of a backup, be it a map or road atlas. After all, you know where you need to go better than your GPS does, and they're not fail-safe. Even a GPS can make an error or two.

Plan out your journey in advance so you don't get lost and spend more time than you need to on the road. Find out if there are any weather conditions, construction or other factors that are affecting certain stretches of road. See if you can take alternate routes, if applicable.

4. Examine Your Vehicle

Make sure that your car is in good condition before setting off on a journey; particularly if it's going to be a longer one. Check to make sure that your tires are inflated to the right pressure, check your fluid levels, and fill up your gas tank.

A more thorough examination may be necessary depending on the trip you are about to take. If so, take your car to a mechanic, and ensure that it will get you to where you need to go.

5. Refuel Often

Regular fuel stops give you a break and also keep you from getting stranded unexpectedly

Image: Michael Porebiak

Don't wait around for the empty light to come on before refueling your vehicle. If you are travelling in areas you are not familiar with, you never know where the next gas stop is going to be. Remember to take advantage of any gas stations you come across on your journey, especially if you have less than a quarter of a tank.

If you can safely store gas cans in your vehicle, you may want to keep one filled up just in case.

6. Wear Your Seatbelt

It seems pretty obvious, and most people are pretty good about this, but wearing your seatbelt is crucial to ensuring the safety of you and/or your passengers. In many places, it is also unlawful to be in a moving vehicle without wearing your seatbelt.

Your seatbelt is essentially your first line of protection. Though it isn't pleasant to consider collisions or sudden stops, your seatbelt will safeguard you from various impact-related injuries.

7. Don't Drive Under The Influence

It is a well-known fact that drunk drivers tend to make up a significant number of total accidents worldwide. It is unlawful in most places to exceed a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.5 and be in operation of a vehicle.

Again, it may seem pretty obvious, but it bears repeating that operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol is unsafe.

8. Avoid Speeding

Driving with excessive speed is a recipe for disaster. The greater the speed you are travelling at, the more likely you are to get into an accident.

Speeding won't save you that much time, even for a quick drive across town. Meanwhile, it will significantly elevate your risk of getting into a crash. Remember to plan ahead. Leave plenty of time to get to your destination, and plan to arrive early. This will remove the need to go faster than you should be going.

9. Remove Distractions

Some distractions are specific to individuals, while others are fairly universal. For example, the use of a mobile phone is known to be a significant distraction, and can increase your risk of collisions, crashes and accidents.

Not surprisingly, it is also unlawful to use a mobile phone while driving in Australia, whether you are talking, texting, playing games, taking photos or videos, or using any other function on your phone.

10. Don't Drive While You Are Sleepy

Whether you are sleepy, tired or drowsy, it is not the best time to be driving. If you fall asleep while driving, you can pretty easily imagine what could happen. Even on a straight highway, you will eventually drift off the road. These scenarios turn deadly pretty quickly.

Energy drinks can give you a temporary boost, but generally aren't the best option. Look for healthier beverages and foods to consume, and this will do more to keep you awake in the long run. If it all possible, don't drive when you are sleepy.

Conclusion

If you are driving in bad weather, remember to take your time, slow down, and take extra measures to ensure your safety.

In general, remember to avoid following other vehicles too closely, keep an eye on other drivers, and practice defensive driving.

What do you think? Are there other ways to stay safe on the road? What precautions do you usually take before going on a road trip?

Let us know in the comments section below!