Easy ways to drive smarter and safer in 2018
New Year’s resolutions often revolve around personal improvement and staying healthy. AAA East Central is reminding the motoring public that it’s also a good time to consider making personal improvements in one of the places you spend much of your time: your vehicle.
“Pledging to improve your driving is a great way to kick off 2018,” says Terri Rae Anthony, AAA East Central Safety Advisor. “It can be so easy to give up on some resolutions, but changing some bad habits behind the wheel can go a long way towards avoiding costly and potentially life-changing crashes.”
Here are 10 resolutions designed to help make you a smarter, safer driver in the New Year:
- Always buckle your safety belt – no exceptions. In 2014 alone, the use of safety belts in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 12,802 lives according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That statistic alone is worth taking that extra two seconds to click your seatbelt and make sure your passengers do, too.
- Keep your eyes on the road and avoid unnecessary distractions. According to a study conducted by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, looking away from the road for more than a few seconds is a factor in nearly 80 percent of accidents. That means no texting and no cell phones.
- Read a good book – your owners’ manual. You know the one; it’s been languishing in your glove compartment. Reading through it will give you some valuable safety information and could even save you some money.
- No peephole driving! Don’t be one of those people trying to negotiate wintry roads through a tiny hole of visibility in the windshield. Leave an additional 5-10 minutes of time in the morning to scrape the snow and ice from your car and give your defroster a chance to do its job.
- Find out how technology is working to keep you safer. Today’s vehicles are equipped with state-of-the-art technology that can help keep you safe – but it’s even safer when drivers understand how these features work.
- Learn how to parallel park. MIT’s New England University Transportation Center ranked parallel parking as the most stressful driving activity. So let this year be your year to master this maneuver.
- Listen to your mother – sit up straight. Make sure your seat and headrest are adjusted correctly in your vehicle to give you the optimum support. Your legs shouldn’t be overstretched to reach the pedals. You should also be able to glance up and out at your mirrors with ease.
- Check the tire pressure on all five tires, including the spare. The recommended tire pressure can found in that handy owner’s manual you’ve resolved to read and on a sticker conveniently located on the driver’s side door jamb.
- Steer clear — Stay calm and never respond to drivers who cut you off, tailgate, or try to intimidate you. Concentrate instead on the safety of you, your passengers and your vehicle. Stay cool, get out of the way and let other drivers deal with their own issues. Make FIDO your mantra: Forget It; Drive On.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 81 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members.