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January 8, 2014

10 Safe Driving Tips

Car in FieldEven with today’s vehicles growing safer, car accidents remain a top cause of death in America. However, you can make the road a safer place by driving with safety in mind. Try the following tips to exercise caution while driving:

1.       Buckle up: Seat belts are designed to keep you in your seat during a collision. Without them, you could be thrown around the cabin of the car, out an open window or through the windshield, leading to a variety of injuries. Approximately half all accident fatalities involve individuals without seat belts.

2.       Follow the speed limit: It’s there for a reason! Speeding contributes to approximately a third of all fatal accidents, causing the loss of over 11,000 lives each year. For every mile per hour you drive, the risk of being involved in an accident increases by five percent. Stick to the limits and never drive faster than you’re comfortable going.

3.       Don’t text and drive: Fiddling with your phone while driving can reduce your reaction time by up to 20 percent, leading to a growing number of yearly accidents and resulting deaths. No text is worth risking lives; save it for later.

4.       Stay sober: Driving while drunk is one of the most dangerous behaviors you can partake in. In fact, approximately a third of all accident fatalities involve drunk drivers. Alcohol can cause reduced reaction time, blurred vision, poor coordination and other unsavory impairments. Better to appoint a designated driver or call a cab.

5.       Leave space: The car in front of you can stop or slow down suddenly, which makes it important to leave a cushion of space between drivers—about the size of another car. At night or in bad weather, double that space as an extra precaution.

6.       Get your rest: Sleep deprivation is bad for you on many accounts, including your driving abilities. Nodding off for even a few seconds can mean disaster, particularly at high speeds. Sometimes you’ll have restless nights and you need to get to work anyway; on these days, drink coffee and try a few jumping jacks before leaving to improve your alertness.

7.       Be aware: Driving safely involves being aware of your entire environment, not just the few feet in front of you. Look ahead on the road and monitor the conditions around you using your mirrors. This gives you the best chance to react accordingly if an unsafe driver threatens to crash into you.

8.       Defensive driving: Plainly stated, this means that you shouldn’t be an aggressive driver. Traffic situations are the perfect breeding grounds for aggressive behaviors such as sudden lane changes, sudden speed changes, tailgating, rude gestures, etc, which increases the risk of collision. Take a breath and remember that the road is for everyone to use safely.

9.       Bad weather: You’ll have to go to work, of course, but you should stay at home as much as possible during bouts of bad weather. Brush up on techniques for driving in heavy rain, snow and ice. Drive slowly, leaving more space between cars to exert the optimal amount of caution.

10.   Maintain your car: Staying up to date on routine maintenance keeps your car road-safe. Tires with uneven pressure, low oil, squeaky brakes, etc. can affect how your car handles on the road. 

Safe driving includes proper coverage. Call Cloverleaf Insurance at 800-530-5822 for more information on Illinois SR22 insurance.

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