Every time you hit the road in your vehicle, you face risks as a driver. No matter how good of a driver you are, there is always a chance that an accident could happen on the road.
The best drivers stay aware of the potential for driving problems. This hazard awareness helps to increase your safety on the road. Safety is a key factor in the eyes of your auto insurance company. Safe drivers tend to pose less of a financial risk to auto insurers because they are less likely to have accidents or commit driving violations. Therefore, safe drivers often pay a lower price for their auto insurance.
Keeping aware of on-road hazards is a great way to make yourself a better driver and improve your insurability.
Safe Driving Starts Before a Trip
Hazard awareness involves a lot more than just keeping your eyes on the road. It begins before you leave your home. Take the time to prepare for a ride, and you might be surprised by the ways it improves your safety.
Always make sure that you have active auto insurance before you drive. Any lapse in coverage means that you pose a very high, often unlawful risk to yourself and others. Make sure you have minimum required levels of car insurance, and a policy that meets your needs.
When you get into your car, many different signs might point to a problem in the vehicle. A malfunctioning car increases your safety and insurance risks. Therefore, give your car a quick check before you leave your home. Doing so could help you catch hazards that may prove dangerous on the road.
- Inspect the vehicle’s tires. A flat tire, or incorrect tire pressure, make operations less than optimal. Worn treads on a tire make it harder for the vehicle to grip the road. Loose bolts and screws may dislodge a tire from its mounts. If you notice problems with your tires, it may be time to visit a mechanic, fill up your tires, or buy new tires.
- If a car’s engine doesn’t properly function, the chances of engine failures increase. Engine failure can be anything from a simple shut off, to an engine fire or explosion. If this happens while you are driving, the results could be disastrous.
- Make sure you have gas in the car. Running out of gas at the wrong time could cause complications for you as well as other traffic disruptions.
- Check around the car for signs of leaks or broken parts. Leaks may signal water, fuel, oil or engine systems problems.
- Make sure the car’s water and oil systems don’t leak or contain blockages. These systems help your engine function optimally. Failures may compromise engine safety.
- Inspect the car’s windshield wipers. In case you encounter wet weather on the road, wipers help you maintain your own visual awareness. Malfunctioning wipers may damage your windshield or impair your vision while you drive. Bad visibility poses a large risk to you and other drivers.
If your car malfunctions on the road, it poses a risk not just to your vehicle, but to other drivers on the road. Therefore, take the time before you leave home to check the vehicle for possible problems.
Staying Safe on the Road
Once you set out, you must recognize that you pose a risk to others, and they pose a risk to you. Good drivers follow proper safety precautions to keep themselves safe.
- Always have your driver’s license and insurance verification with you. Carrying your identification helps guarantee that you can lawfully drive.
- Obey all traffic laws. Don’t speed, use your lights when needed, and generally respect the rules of the road. Make sure you observe all stop requirements at lights and stop signs.
- When road conditions require you to use caution, don’t risk your safety. Slow down for construction zones, wet weather, and other travel impediments. In heavy traffic, slow down, and remain aware of your surroundings. Don’t make sudden adjustments that may put others at risk.
- Always be on the lookout for pedestrians. Most states give pedestrians right-of-way at traffic signals and crosswalks.
- Stay aware of other drivers. Do not follow other cars too closely or try to impede their travels. Avoid road-rage scenarios. If you see another driver behaving dangerously, avoid that person and contact the authorities.
- Do not drive in a distracted manner. Distraction often equals impairment, which makes your ability to operate a vehicle very questionable. Distracted and impaired driving may result from phone usage, alcohol consumption and even loud music or passengers in the car. Distracted driving can lead to accidents, injuries and even death.
If an accident occurs while you driver, remember that your safety comes first. Check yourself and passengers for injuries. If you can safely do so, move the vehicle off the road. Shut off the vehicle and exit it if you can. Make contact with other drivers, but do not argue about the blame for the accident.
In any case of accidents, call the authorities and your insurance company. Work with them to establish fault and a claim on your insurance. Proper documentation will help make the claims process much easier.