Driving Habits -The Good, The Bad and the “Huh”??

shutterstock_117821227For most people driving has become so routine that they don’t really think about how they drive. Yet all drivers should consider their driving habits in order to ensure a safe and less stressful ride; unfortunately, in the case of some drivers, they cause the stress to other drivers around them.

Driving habits can be categorized as good or bad and those that make the rest of us shake our heads and say “Huh???”

The Good Habits

  • Paying attention to your driving, your car, the road conditions, traffic and pedestrians. Knowing what’s going on around you and ahead of you will give the time and confidence to adjust your driving accordingly and quickly respond to dangerous situations.
  • Slowing down, not just because of the possibility of a speeding ticket but for better gas mileage, and for that matter, better ‘life mileage’ at the same time. Going too slow is also dangerous, but it’s a truism that speed kills.
  • Buckling up. It’s the law and it makes sense.
  • Keeping a proper distance between you and the car ahead. Remember that the proper distance changes with road, weather and traffic conditions.
  • Keeping both hands on the wheel.
  • Using your mirrors. Adjust all of your mirrors properly and then check them throughout your drive, eliminating as many blind spots as you can.
  • Always being conscious of those remaining ‘blind spots,’ since it is difficult for mirrors to cover the entire field of view.
  • Reading road signs to check such conditions as speed limits and to determine where your turnoff is in advance in order to avoid suddenly cutting over two lanes.
  • Being considerate of other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists: the Golden Rule of driving.

The Bad Habits:

  • Speeding. Always a bad habit but it seems to be the norm these days.
  • Not signaling. The lack of a turn signal causes traffic issues, accidents and frustration for other drivers trying to figure out what it is you’re doing, or going to do.
  • Tailgating. Not only annoying to other drivers but a very unsafe practice for you too!
  • Not driving properly for the road conditions. This habit has two parts: some drivers don’t make any adjustments to their driving regardless of the weather and road conditions while others drive fearfully at the first sign of snow. Both extremes can and do, cause accidents.
  • Beating the Yellow; Running the Red. You know exactly what this means!
  • Driving in the incorrect lane, especially ‘sitting’ in the left or passing lane. Traffic backs up and this causes frustration for other drivers who in turn might drive poorly trying to get around you.
  • Crowding a crosswalk. Give pedestrians room to walk.

Huh??? Really??? Wow??:

These are the habits or ‘moves’ that give the rest of us palpitations, causing us to question the sanity of such drivers and wonder how they received a driver’s license.

  • Multitasking: talking to passengers, eating, putting makeup on, these take your eyes and your attention away from your primary task, which is driving safely.
  • Using electronic devices: talking on the phone, texting and playing with other electronic devices not only causes serious accidents, it is illegal to do so.
  • Cutting other drivers off: whether you do this purposely or accidentally, the results are the same; other drivers have to swerve or brake sharply to avoid you, increasing their risk of collision.
  • Weaving in traffic: speeding up, slowing down and braking as you weave in and out of lanes causes problems for other drivers and puts everyone at risk. And how much sooner will you arrive?
  • Entering blocked intersections: this blocks cars traveling on the other street as well, adding to gridlock, causing immense frustration for everyone and blocking emergency vehicles. It’s illegal.
  • Not checking your blind spots. Whether you’re changing lanes, backing out of a driveway or a parking spot, if you don’t check the blind spot, you invite accidents ranging from a fender-bender to a multivehicle, highway collision.
  • Speeding up to prevent someone from passing your car: a terrible habit. It is 100 per cent mean-spirited.
  • Road rage: rage has no business on the road or behind a steering wheel.
  • Driving under the influence: inexcusable. The car becomes a lethal weapon in the hands of a drunk driver. Too late to be sorry if you harm or kill someone.

This list is by no means all-inclusive, but it should provide food for thought. Do a self-check test and determine where your driving habits fall. Hopefully, most are in the good category, but if you admit to some in the bad and ‘huh’ sections, then it’s time for you to work on them.

Ultimately the goal of all drivers is arriving safely, or it should be. The reality today is that you must drive defensively, thinking one step ahead of other drivers. But if, despite your best efforts, you find yourself in need of an auto body garage, please call 905-898-7388 or visit our Newmarket shop at 505 Kent Dr.