Whether you’re driving to work, commuting, or taking your kids out for a ride, it’s important to be courteous to other drivers. Using common courtesy helps you save lives and prevents road rage.
Drivers often ignore basic driving etiquette, which can lead to accidents. Here are 8 unwritten rules of the road you should follow to be a safer, more considerate driver.
Keep Your Eyes on the Road
When you’re driving, your eyes are an important part of your safety. They help you navigate the road, spot if a vehicle is moving too close to you, and identify unforeseen hazards, such as children on the sidewalk or other drivers.
However, a lot of people make mistakes when it comes to using their eyes while they’re driving. It’s especially common among new drivers who haven’t had much experience.
These drivers tend to concentrate their eyes on the front of the car, which means they don’t notice anything happening to the side. This can be very dangerous because it allows other cars and drivers to pass you without your awareness.
To avoid this, try to keep your eyes on the road for at least 20 seconds before making any decisions. You can even scan conditions 20 to 30 seconds ahead of you, so you can see what’s going on and prepare yourself for whatever might happen.
You’ll also want to take a moment to look over your shoulder before changing lanes or merging onto a highway. This will let you check the blind spot, which is the area alongside your rear bumper that other drivers can’t see.
Another way to ensure you’re using your eyes properly is to get a comprehensive eye exam. A qualified eye care professional can test your vision and prescribe glasses that will ensure you can safely drive.
If you’re a parent or teenager, remind your kids to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. In addition, avoid distractions like texting or talking on your cell phone. These are all examples of cognitive distractions that can cause inattentional blindness, which can lead to accidents.
Don’t Leave Trash in Your Car
One of the most common driving blunders is leaving trash in your car. From coffee cups and candy wrappers to paper sacks full of greasy lunch wrappers, these small objects can accumulate over time, and can end up being the cause of more than just a messy backseat.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this pesky clutter. First, make a point of collecting your garbage at the end of the day. This will save you a trip to the local grocery store or garbage can down the street later.
Second, consider investing in a trash can or bin to hold all your small items. This will help you keep your car clean and your wallet in good working order, all while helping the environment at the same time!
Finally, don’t forget to use your seat belt. This might not be the most exciting or fun thing to do, but it is one of the safest and most important things you can do while driving. It is also an important reminder to others around you that you are responsible for the safety of everyone involved.
With the right driving manners, you can ensure that your next road trip is a success! The best way to do that is by paying attention to the details and following these tips to the letter. In the end, you’ll be more likely to have a positive experience, and will leave your passengers feeling confident that they can count on you when it comes to navigating the open roads.
Don’t Turn Without a Signal
A car’s turn signal is a great way to let other drivers know when you’re about to make a lane change or turn. It can also help alert cyclists and pedestrians of your intentions.
But some people choose to ignore their turn signals, and it can lead to serious accidents. It’s a bad habit that has gotten so out of control that many cities are requiring digital highway signs to remind drivers they need to use their turn signal when changing lanes.
According to a recent Response Insurance National Driving Habits Survey, many drivers cite distraction as the reason they don’t use their turn signal. Drivers may be busy doing things like applying makeup, inserting food, fiddling with the stereo or holding a commuter cup.
French said that distracted drivers are more likely to be involved in crashes than other types of drivers. That is why it is so important to be attentive and focus on the road while you’re behind the wheel.
He noted that there are several reasons why some people don’t signal when changing lanes, including a lack of enforcement. Some states, including Indiana, don’t consider it illegal to change lanes mid-intersection without using your turn signal, which can be dangerous for other drivers.
It’s not a good idea to change lanes in the middle of an intersection because it can cut off other drivers, causing them to brake unexpectedly. Another common culprit is a macho mentality. Some drivers think that when they change lanes without their turn signal, other drivers are going to take it as a sign of weakness and accelerate into the passing lane, French said.
While it might seem silly to change lanes in the middle of an interstate, a lot of other drivers do this. That’s why you should never do it when the light is green or you’re a long way from an intersection, and always signal before changing lanes or making a turn.
Don’t Blow Through Stop Signs
The stop sign is an important road safety device that makes intersections, crossroads and four-way stops safe for drivers. However, when drivers fail to obey the stop sign or yield right of way to other vehicles, accidents can occur that result in injuries and even death.
Drivers may blow through a stop sign for a variety of reasons. For example, they might not have seen the sign or it might be obscured by a tree or other obstructions. They might be distracted by something else or they might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A driver may also ignore a stop sign because they feel as though it doesn’t apply to them. For instance, if they are traveling in the far left lane and they see a yellow light, they may think that the stop sign only applies to the other drivers in their lane.
While these types of situations may be based on personal preferences, they can still be dangerous for other drivers. If you notice that a driver is blowing through a stop sign, it’s important to contact the police and report it.
Another common reason why drivers might blow through a stop sign is because they have road rage. Road rage is when drivers become impatient with other drivers on the road.
When road rage is present, a driver may feel as though they are in danger and they will do whatever it takes to avoid being involved in an accident. This can include running a stop sign or failing to yield right of way.
If you are ever accused of running a stop sign, the first step is to request copies of the officer’s notes. These notes can help you defend yourself in court.
Don’t Failingly Yield
A yield sign is a signal that lets drivers know there may be something up ahead that requires them to slow down. These signs can be found at intersections, but they are also frequently displayed near schools to let drivers know that children are afoot.
Drivers must obey all traffic signs and signals, but it’s important to also be aware of other drivers. Failing to yield to another driver’s right of way could result in an accident.
The first time you encounter a yield sign, scan the area well to make sure there isn’t anything blocking your path. If there is, stop, slow down and cover your brakes until the other driver clears the intersection.
If there is no other vehicle on the road, you should then turn left into the street. The driver in the vehicle on your left must then yield to you.
Yielding to other vehicles is important in many situations, but it’s especially important at intersections. When you are entering an intersection from a driveway, alley, parking lot or private road, you must stop and yield the right-of-way to all approaching traffic.
You must also yield to any pedestrians who are walking across the road. For example, if you are leaving a parking lot and are turning right, a person may be walking across the street.
In addition, drivers should always yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles that display lights and sound a siren or other horn. If you see a fire truck, ambulance or police car that is responding to an emergency, safely pull over to the right edge of the road and wait for the emergency vehicle to pass before moving on.