4 Driving Habits That Are More Dangerous Than You Think
We all have a list of bad habits we know might get us in trouble one way or another but which we keep doing anyway. Too often, this extends to our driving habits, and we don’t always follow the best defensive driving practices even though we know we should. However, while some bad driving habits might just annoy other people, or they might be as obviously dangerous as going way over the speed limit, a few driving habits may carry a higher risk than you’d expect.
“Multitasking while driving” is a nicer way of saying “distracted driving,” and distracted driving killed 3,179 people and injured 431,000 more in 2014. Everyone likes to blame texting and using a mobile phone while driving, which is unarguably a bad idea, but distracted driving is much more than that. Other common distractions include eating, applying makeup, shaving, fiddling with the navigation system, and dealing with rowdy kids in the backseat.
Driving requires too much attention to safely multitask, no matter how good you think you are at it, so if you have to do any of these things in your car, you should always pull over and stop your vehicle first.
Driving While Medicated
“Driving under the influence” doesn’t refer to alcohol specifically because alcohol isn’t the only drug out there that can impair your ability to stay focused on the road. Most prescription painkillers and a variety of other drugs carry warnings to avoid operating a vehicle or other heavy machinery while you’re experiencing their effects. Drug companies don’t add these warnings lightly, and you should treat them at least as seriously as you treat the warning, “Don’t drink and drive.”
Ignoring the Weather
Speed limits are exactly that: limits. You’re free to go slower than what the sign says (although there are minimum speeds on the highway), and when the weather gets rough, that’s exactly what you ought to do. Driving for the weather means slowing down when visibility drops to a few hundred feet and when the pavement gets slippery, and by doing so you can get better traction and you can see other slow-moving vehicles in time to avoid a collision. Remember, even the best-made vehicles still have trouble on ice and snow.
Tailgating is all too common despite the fact that riding the bumper of the car in front of you doesn’t get you to your destination faster and it only rarely makes the other driver speed up. Admittedly, the chance that something will happen is low, but if it does you’re guaranteeing that you’ll get in an accident, too, while if you’d kept a safe distance you might have been able to avoid it.
Bad habits at home are one thing, but bad driving habits have a way of rewarding you with damaged vehicles, higher insurance rates, injuries, and even death. The risk of something happening each time may be low, but don’t forget how many of those risks you take every day when you climb into your car.