5 key tips to make you a safer driver
There are many services available to help try and mitigate the danger of driving on the roads. By using services such as gap insurance, UK drivers can help protect themselves from the financial and emotional costs of being involved in an accident. There are many things you can do, however, to further help mitigate the risk of an accident happening in the first place.
These five key tips can help you become a much safer driver.
1. Anticipate, don't assume
Something most drivers are guilty of is making assumptions about others on the road. It may be a case of assuming that someone is going to turn off a main road, for example. These kinds of assumptions can lead you to put your vehicle in a dangerous situation when it becomes apparent your assumption was incorrect. Anticipation is a key element of safe driving, but anticipation involves understanding all of the possible actions a driver might take. If you see a car waiting at a junction, for example, anticipate that they haven't seen you and will attempt to pull out, rather than assuming they have seen you and are staying put.
2. Keep distractions at a minimum
A big part of our driving experience is defined by our entertainment choices. With improvements in connectivity in most cars, you can now have everything from your favourite album to a new book being read to you coming from the speakers. It's important to make sure that your choice of driving entertainment never compromises your ability to think clearly. Don't get so caught up in singing your favourite song or thinking about the podcast you're listening to that you compromise your concentration levels for what you're currently doing; namely driving. The same applies to chatty passengers; if they're distracting you, ask them to be quiet.
"It's important to make sure that your choice of driving entertainment never compromises your ability to think clearly."
3. Never pick up your phone
It sounds obvious, but many people are still blind to the risks of interacting with their phone while driving. If you have a vehicle with a newer entertainment system, it's likely your phone will connect automatically via Bluetooth. If necessary, you can make a call through the handsfree kit, but it should only be long enough for you to tell the person on the other end that you're driving and that you'll call them back as soon as you're able to. If you're having a long chat, you're not focusing completely on the road. The same applies to text and email notifications; they can always wait until you have reached your destination.
4. Don't take it personally
Anger is one of the biggest enemies of safe driving. One of the quickest ways to get angry behind the wheel is to presume that someone did something to you out of malice. They cut you up on purpose, they're slowing you down on purpose, they didn't indicate on purpose, etc. Thinking like this makes it personal between you and the other driver, and leads you to become angry and irrational.
Instead, try and give yourself a few moments to take a long, deep breath or two. Remember that everyone is human, everyone makes mistakes and the odds of that driver deliberately trying to annoy you are low at best. Keep hold of your temper and you'll be a safer driver.
5. Give yourself time if possible
Another enemy of safe driving is impatience, and impatience is often caused by feeling you need to get somewhere faster than the other traffic is allowing you to. The thing is, you can't do anything about slow drivers or people who aren't as confident behind the wheel as you, so your frustration with them is always going to be fruitless. What you do have control over, however, is giving yourself a few extra minutes here and there wherever possible. If you set off on your journey even just five minutes earlier than you intended to, for example, you'll give yourself that much-needed leeway to avoid feeling like you're under pressure to get where you're going on time.
Taking these tips on board
Nobody thinks they're an unsafe driver, but the reality of it is that all of us develop bad habits over time. After we pass our tests and get more comfortable driving, these bad habits snowball and ultimately compromise our safety and those around us. Taking these five simple tips on board in your day to day journeys will help make you a safer driver and will ensure you arrive at your destination relaxed and in good spirits.