When it comes to driving, you probably have a few habits. Hopefully, you have a few good ones-like getting in the car and immediately bulking up or using your turn signal every, single, time. No? You may be among the many American drivers who have less than perfect driving habits. Some of these may not seem like a big deal, but they can lead to accidents in some cases and even tickets. But, what can you do about them? Check out the most common bad driving habits and what you can do about them.
#1: Your foot sudden gets a little heavier when the light turns yellow
Many people find themselves instinctively hitting the gas pedal when the light in front of them turns yellow. Now, we all know that light means slow down and stop, not accelerate. However, it’s hard not to try and get through that light. After all, it may get you to your destination .356 seconds sooner. The reality, though, is that you may block traffic in an intersection (which may be a driving violation) or even cause an accident by accelerating.
To stop this bad habit, you’ll need to invest in patients. Many cities have timing programs set up on main streets that allow you to get through the lights if you drive the speed limit. Plus, you’ll save money on fuel by avoiding that speed up. Let’s face it, you tend to end up getting to your destination around the same time anyway.
#2: You ride the brakes while you drive downhill
You may feel the need to gently touch the brakes as you take that steep hill. You may be going the speed limit, but you may still feel the need to keep your foot on the brakes as you go down and around that turn. The problem is, this can lead to total brake failure. By pressing the brakes, you are grinding them and wearing them down. You are also creating a situation in which they can become very hot and fail.
If you have this bad habit, you can fix it. Instead of using your brakes to slow down going down the hill, use your engine. Downshift your car into a lower gear. This reduces your miles per hour while increasing the revolutions per minute. Your car slows and is steadier, but there’s no wear on the brakes in the process.
#3: You don’t check blind spots
One of the biggest concerns with driving is merging. Moving into another lane means you and other drivers need to change speeds and alignment to ensure that everyone can share the road. If you do not check your blind spot-that area behind your right back passenger, you could be causing a significant accident in seconds.
To fix this bad habit, you’ll need to be more diligent about where you are and what you are doing. Never assume that the other driver will allow you to merge. Don’t speed up in front of a driver to get in front of him or her (that’s called cutting them off!) If you cannot seem to remember to check, invest in a car that offers a back-up warning and merging warning device.
#4: You don’t use turn signals
It happens to many people, but turn signals are a must. You are communicating to drivers all around you about your intensions. Do you struggle with this bad habit?
Get in the habit of putting your pinky on the turn signal while keeping the rest of your hand on the wheel when you begin to approach an area where you need to turn. Or, use your other hand. It’s hard to remember, but it may help you avoid a ticket.
#5: You accelerate too slowly
When you are getting on the highway or merging with traffic, do you find yourself struggling to accelerate fast enough? If your heart skips a beat because you’re worried about the other guy slowing down, you’ll need to change this habit.
To do so, have your car looked at to ensure the engine is working at is best. Then, aim to accelerate from 0 to 50 miles per hour within 20 seconds. It takes practice!
Still have a few bad driving habits around that you want to fix? A good start may be taking a traffic school course. Not only will it help you brush off on your defensive driving skills, but it may also help you dismiss a traffic ticket and avoid accumulating point on your driving record.