If you ask people about their driving skills, most of them will say they are excellent drivers that know exactly how to handle a car, no matter the road conditions. And that might be true. But there’s a difference between having great driving skills and having good driving habits.
A lot of drivers, especially the ones that have extensive experience behind the wheel, fall into the trap of bad driving habits over time. They know the rules, they know how to drive, but for one reason or another they develop bad driving habits that put them and other road users at risk.
Sometimes, drivers get so accustomed to these unsafe driving behaviors that they aren’t even aware they’re doing something wrong. Repeat an action enough times and it becomes the new normal. That’s why we recommend re-evaluating your driving habits from time to time to see which bad driving habits you’re guilty of. It can help you stop these bad habits before anything regrettable happens and keep yourself and everyone else around you safe.
So, we’ve made a list with some of the most common bad habits drivers have to help you assess your driving behavior. Take a close look, be honest with yourself and if you recognize yourself in any of these situations, do the smart thing and quit right now.
Using your phone while driving
The amount of time we spend on our phones is staggering – almost five hours every day. The prevalence of smartphone use comes with both benefits and drawbacks, and it’s usually the way we choose to use these gadgets that makes all the difference. The fact that many people use their smartphones while they’re behind the wheel is one major drawback that shouldn’t be ignored.
Talking on your phone or staring into your smartphone’s screen is one of the worst habits a driver can have. When you’re out on the road, the only thing you should focus on is your driving. No message, phone conversation or social media post should distract you from that. You have enough time to use your phone while you’re not driving, so don’t risk your life for something so trivial.
Are you a racing driver taking part in a competition? If you’re not, then you have no reason to drive over the speed limit. You might be in a hurry, you might have an important matter to attend to, but so does everybody else. You still have to drive within speed limits if you want to get to your destination safe and sound.
You might think that driving a bit faster every once in a while is not such a big thing, but it is. Forget about getting a ticket, that’s the least serious thing that can happen. Speeding is one of the major contributing factors to traffic accidents and fatal crashes, so keep that in mind next time you feel a need for speed.
Parking in illegal areas
We know that parking in a busy city can be a real-life nightmare. You can spend ages driving around in circles until you find a free parking spot. After minutes of searching with no results, handicap parking spaces or any other free space where you shouldn’t park might seem terribly tempting. But that’s no excuse to park in illegal areas. You can have your car towed if you do it, which will give you a lot more trouble than looking for a free parking space.
If you live in a city with heavy traffic like Austin, you can solve this common parking woe by booking monthly parking. You can find monthly parking in Austin at great rates in different parts of the city and forget about hunting for free parking spaces.
Driving when tired
You can be a great driver most of the time, but when fatigue comes into play, it can dull your senses and your awesome driving skills won’t be as sharp as they usually are. A lot of drivers get behind the wheel when they’re extremely tired, thinking they’re going to be just fine once they get on the road, but that’s not how things work.
If you’re feeling exhausted and sleepy, the smartest thing you can do is pull over and take a nap. Then, when you’re well-rested enough, you can get back behind the wheel and continue your journey with a clear head and peace of mind.
Not wearing a seatbelt
One of the first things you should do before you hit the road is put your seatbelt on. it doesn’t matter if it’s a five minutes’ drive or a two hours’ journey. You have to wear your seatbelt at all times when you’re in the car.
It’s against the law to drive without a seatbelt, so follow the rules and buckle up before you go. In the event of a car accident, wearing a seatbelt can save your life, as they can dramatically reduce risk of death and serious injury.
Ignoring weather and road conditions
Driving on a perfectly smooth road when the weather is nice and birds are chirping is not the same as driving on a bumpy road covered in ice, while there’s a snowstorm and low visibility. Acting like weather and road conditions are of no consequence is like walking on thin ice.
The golden rule here is to adjust your driving to the weather outside and always check road conditions before you get behind the wheel. Being cautious is always better than simply hoping nothing will go wrong.
Don’t be that annoying driver that drives too closely behind another vehicle. It’s annoying for both parties involved and it’s also extremely dangerous. Tailgating is responsible for many traffic accidents, with car-crash risks being even greater in wet conditions.
If you’re guilty of tailgating, you should quit this bad habit before it gets you into trouble. While you’re out on the road, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you to make sure everyone is going to be safe.