1. Concentrate-Avoid “Distracted Driving”:
Driving while talking on your cell phone, and driving while texting has now become the major distractions while driving. Do you need more incentive to stop texting and/or holding phones while driving? Try these numbers: 10, 75, 375…
Ten People Die every day in the U.S. : According to Distraction.gov, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website on distracted driving, there were 3,328 people who were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2012. White male drivers-ages 25 to 64-made up the highest percentage of drivers involved in these fatalities.
Can You Afford To Lose $75-$375?? Currently, Utah (one of 41 states), the District of Columbia, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have bans on texting for all drivers. 12 states ban drivers from using handheld cell phones at all. Some states only have bans on cell phones for novice drivers, while other states — such as our neighbor state Montana — currently do not have any bans regarding distracted driving.
2. Expect Driver Mistakes: “Watch Out For The Other Guy”
Never rely that the other driver will make the right move. While you are driving, keep an eye on the other guy, and leave yourself plenty of room. Anticipate the mistakes he or she might make-and be ready for them. Because, eventually they will! You have to approach driving with the idea that every other driver is a “mayhem” menace-out to get you. Remember-most collisions occur when the “other guy” does something we don’t expect (or when we do something they don’t expect!)
- Approach stop signs and red lights with care, and look both ways-even when your signal turns green (like my driving instructor told me “Does a red light or stop sign REALLY stop anybody?”).
- Watch out for cars ready to pull out into the road (expect they DON’T really see you!!)
- Expect that everyone has a blind spot—and it is your car!!
- Beware of gaps in lines of traffic-someone may be letting another vehicle (or pedestrian) cross in front of them.
3. Yield-waiting is worth the wait!
According to the National Highway Patrol Board, the #1 cause of accidents is….FAILURE TO YIELD. “Nobody ever yielded their way into a collision” makes a great point: If you are in doubt about who has the right of way, give it away. The other guy may be wrong, but do you want to be “dead right”?? If there is doubt about which vehicle should have the right of way, give the other guy the road. When it comes to driving safely, it’s not the principle, but the outcome, that counts. And, even if you know you have the right of way, see Tip #2 above….
4. Drive A Reasonable Speed:
This means sometimes driving below the speed limit. Remember the slick, icy, snowy, windy, dark, congested Utah roads-any of these conditions may make the “speed limit” much too fast for safe driving.
Driving at a higher than reasonable speed increases your risk in two ways:
- It cuts your reaction time.
- It takes farther to stop.
Are the risks really worth a few minutes?
5. Know and Use Your Vehicle Safety Devices:
- Seat Belts-need we say any more about seat belts??
- Child safety seats and restraints. State laws vary on what constitutes a legal child seat. There are different types of seats to use depending on the age, weight and size of the child. Be aware and use the correct type for your child. Buckle the seat into the center, rear seat position where there is increased protection from side impacts. A child seat should not be in the front seat, especially if there is an air bag system installed; the air bag impact can hurt or kill a child in an incorrectly installed safety seat. (see bullet point : “Air Bags“.)
- ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System) Brakes. ABS brakes prevent uncontrolled skids during hard braking. We will discuss this in our ABS video, which we will post the week of January 20, 2013.
- Air Bags. Air bags open with a certain amount of violence. They are timed so as you are thrown forward, they expand to fill the intervening space to prevent your impact on harder surfaces. You can be injured by an air bag – but the injuries will usually be minor compared to those you’d experience otherwise. Sit as far back from the steering wheel as you can while still comfortably reaching all the necessary controls, and grip the wheel correctly.
- High Beam Headlights (switch back and forth from regular to high beam-drivers, pedestrians, and animals will take notice-of you!
- Car Horn (not slamming on the horn, but tap GENTLY on the horn-they will still hear that!). Light taps of our car horn-and light horn taps more often during driving-actually do more good than harm.
6. Service Your Vehicle Regularly. Safe Driving includes proper vehicle performance, which is why good car care maintenance is important.
- Windshield wipers;
- Tires and alignments;
- Cooling and heating system checks (includes radiators, belts, hoses);
Inspecting, checking, servicing and/or replacing all of the above regularly helps prevent driving mishaps due to vehicle failure.
Take the time to inspect and care for your car or truck, so the harsh Utah winter does not impact your safety while driving. GT Automotive has ASE certified technicians for car repairs for all make and model vehicles. We can inspect your car during our Express Oil change, and help keep your vehicle operating safely in all seasons. Call us today, 801-302-0912, about auto repairs and service in Salt Lake City.