Break These Bad Driving Habits in 2019

Tampa Bay is a car-dependent region. And while great strides are being made to make our cities more pedestrian, bike, and public transit-friendly, most of us still get behind the wheel multiple times a day. With the new year approaching, there is no better time to commit to breaking some common bad driving habits. Let’s make 2019 our safest year yet on the road.

Speeding

We all have places to go and things that fill our to-do list to the max. But, speeding around town and zigzagging through traffic is not courteous to other drivers on the road and is dangerous. Speeding increases your chances of crashing since it takes longer to stop or slow down. In fact, speeding accounts for 27% of all crash fatalities every year. This year, pledge to abide by the speed limit – or change your routine to allow more time to get to your destination.

Using Your Phone

This is a big one and probably the most common bad habit. While most states have made talking on your cell phone illegal, talking hands-free is still allowed which is still distracting. We know that it may be difficult to ignore the ping of a new text message or the ringtone of an incoming call, but it safer to resist the urge to answer. Distracted driving puts you and others at risk. So, download a safe driving app that will block texts and calls while you’re driving or put your phone in airplane mode when you get behind the wheel. Your messages can wait until you’ve arrived safely at your destination.

Aggressive Driving

Most people consider themselves good drivers, but daily life means that traffic delays, time crunches, rude drivers, and stress can turn even the most courteous driver into an aggressive one. Aggressive driving is a deadly contributor to 5 million car accidents each year. Most people don’t even realize that certain driving habits are aggressive driving markers: rolling stops, speeding through yellow lights, not yielding the right of way, preventing a merge, honking the horn, failing to signal, tailgating or weaving through traffic are all aggressive driving practices. This year be mindful of your attitude and behavior behind the wheel. Be aware of the behaviors you exhibit that are aggressive and try and be more patient with other drivers. It might make your commute brighter – and besides, it’s cheaper than therapy!

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving accidents are the cause of most accidents on our roadways today. When you are multitasking, your mind has at least two things going on at once, so your ability to pay attention decreases. Therefore, having two or more things going on in your mind means your brain is processing information in a different manner than when you are focused solely on one task. When this happens, you may miss obvious hazards on the road, putting yourself, your passengers, and other drivers at risk. To avoid this danger, always keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Avoid talking on your cell phone or texting, eating, applying makeup or combing your hair, reaching for items in the backseat, or fumbling with the radio. The human brain functions at its best when it is 100% focused on the task at hand. Before you drive away, decide on which music you want to listen to, finish your lunch, snack, or coffee, silence your phone, and limit your passengers (when possible.) Driving is dangerous enough as it is. Please give it your full attention.

January is a great month to make changes to improve your driving habits and increase safety on the road.  A calmer and safer commute is one more reason to #LoveYourDrive.

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