This fact is why car manufacturers and companies like Google are investing heavily in autonomous vehicles. Just think, in just a few years, many car companies will be selling fully driverless cars. Driverless cars will be immune to a driver's human error, so problems like poor driving conditions, worn-out tires, and the most dangerous error of all, distracted driving, will someday be a thing of the past. Until then, every driver should make a pledge to avoid doing all of the things in this list below to make our roads safer.
- Distracted driving
One of the biggest causes of car crashes is distracted driving. In fact, one out of every four accidents is caused by distracted driving. The brain cannot multi-task, and things happen too quickly for a driver to respond if texting or talking on the phone. Avoid distractions by checking your phone before you leave and waiting to check it again until you have pulled over. Here are some tips about how to trick yourself into breaking the distracted driving habit.
- Focusing on directions instead of the road
So you're lost? Pull over and figure out where you're going before you start out again. Cell phones can help us get oriented, but seriously hurt when we are trying to use navigation software en route. Drivers who are lost and switching between their phones and the road can end up swerving into other lanes of traffic, or rear-ending someone. It's easy to avoid. Just pull over.
- Underinflated or bald/balding tires
This is another easy thing to avoid with a little forethought. Make a practice to check tire pressure manually each month. Low tire pressure costs you money at the pump, and it can make it harder to control your vehicle in emergency situations, or something (like a pothole) that would become an emergency simply because you haven't maintained your tires well. Bald tires can turn deadly quickly, too, so check your tread regularly, and make sure to rotate your tires. Who wouldn't want to save money and lives at the same time?
- Driving too fast for the weather conditions
When it rains, slow down. Wet roads can become deadly fast. Cars hydroplane, and visibility is reduced. Posted speed limits are based on good driving conditions, not rainy ones. Especially in the first ten minutes of a rainfall, roads are dangerous. This is because precipitation loosens up the oil layered on top of the roads, making them very slick.
- You may change your mind, but wait to change your direction
You've seen this, I'm sure: use your turn signal as you prepare to turn, then at the last second, realize you don't want to turn after all. Don't jerk back into your lane, just make the turn and course correct later. You can't tell what the driver behind you is doing, but there's a high chance he or she is following too closely, or driving distracted.
- Proper seat adjustment prevents personal injuries
You should adjust your seat to fit your body, and cars come with many options for doing so. The next time you get behind the wheel, check to see if you are eight to ten inches from the steering wheel. That's the space you need for your airbag to properly deploy. How is your seatbelt? If should cross over the middle of your shoulers and chest. Your headrest should measure at the level of the top of your head. Whiplash is a common injury in even minor car accidents, and your headrest can help prevent this injury. If you travel with kids, check current car seat safety guidelines, and make sure all kids 4'11" and under are in the right child safety seat for their weight and height.
- Keep your car well maintained
It not only saves you money, it can save your life. Change your oil and rotate your tires on the recommended schedule. In general, follow manufacturer maintenance schedules for optimum performance and avoid maintenance problems - and the headaches they'll cause you in a personal injury case - that can cause a car crash.