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Top 10 Car Safety Tips You Did Not Think Of

Steven Mitchell

Car safety is a lifelong learning process, and we have some car safety tips you may not have considered.

You’ve Got to Know These Car Safety Tips

Person driving
Person driving

Albert Einstein said, “once you stop learning, you start dying.” Although Albert wasn’t talking about car safety, we can apply his words to our driving. As a driver on US highways, we can’t ever stop learning new techniques or stop reviewing old ones. With a desire to promote our readers’ safety and well-being, we’ve put together a top 10 car safety tips list. When followed, it should help you on the highways and prevent accidents. If it saves some lives, then that’s a big bonus. Einstein would approve.

Assume Nothing

Driver putting on seatbelt
Driver putting on seatbelt

Please don’t make the mistake of assuming what other drivers are going to do or what you think they should do. And don’t assume they know what you’re doing. You probably have friends who’ve moved from other states or other countries. At least, for a while, they’ll be doing what they’ve always done in their previous location, and it may be different than what’s acceptable practice in your state. Driving is one situation where it pays to assume other people may not know what they’re doing.

Adjust Your Mirrors

Driver adjusting rearview mirror
Driver adjusting rearview mirror

While driving, you always want to use your side and rearview mirrors to cover your blind spots and see the cars on either side. But there’s one thing you don’t need to see, and that’s your car. Adjust your mirrors so that your vehicle is no longer visible in the side mirrors. When adjusted correctly, the side mirrors won’t overlap the rearview mirror, and you’ll be able to cover most of your blind spots. When safe, you’ll still want to briefly look over your shoulders before turning into another lane – just to be sure. Don’t rely only on the mirrors or your lane change assist warnings.

Protect Yourself

Traffic lanes
Traffic lanes

Keep yourself safe from corner cutters by stopping far enough back in the left turn lane that you can see the stripe. It doesn’t take much imagination to think of where those black rubber marks come from on intersection medians. Whether it’s inattention or impatience-driven running of the light, people will cut corners when they turn at an intersection. If your car’s front bumper is at the left turn lane crosswalk stripe, you may get hit. Protect yourself by stopping a little short, and you could save a large body repair bill.

It’s an Acceleration Ramp

Freeway ramp
Freeway ramp

It’s not a mosey ramp or “when I get around to it” ramp. It’s an entry ramp designed with space to get you safely up to speed so you can quickly enter with the flow of freeway traffic. Doing so will prevent drivers from braking for you and risking an accident on the freeway or causing cars to bunch up behind you, causing frustration or worse.

Be Safe Around Semi-Truck and Delivery Drivers

Semi trucks in freeway traffic
Semi trucks in freeway traffic

We see them on the highway and, honestly, may find ourselves getting annoyed with them. Eighteen-wheelers and other delivery trucks are large and often slow, but these essential vehicles and their dedicated drivers could use some much-needed patience from us.

Some things to remember when driving around trucks could save your life and the life of others.

  • Be sure to give the truck drivers extra space when you signal or change lanes around them. Make yourself easy to see. It’s easy for you to disappear from the driver’s field of view in the front and rear of the truck.
  •  Slow down to let the truck driver in front of you when their turn signal is on. A few seconds of courtesy can go a long way, and you could save yourself from being stuck under their trailer.
  • When you decide to pull in front of them with stopped traffic ahead, think twice. Tractor-trailer drivers aren’t able to stop in the same distance as a car.
Side mirrors on a semi truck
Side mirrors on a semi truck

Following these car safety tips could make the drivers day while they experience the frustration and challenge of managing a massive truck through their daily job.

Don’t Drive Angry

Driver keeping safe distance from other vehicles
Driver keeping safe distance from other vehicles

If you’re angry or sick before you get into the car, maybe it’s time to reassess your situation. We often hear the call not to drive drunk, but anything impairing your judgment should keep you from behind the wheel. If you find yourself in that position, studies have shown that even a minute of deep breathing can slow down your heart rate. Most watches such as the Apple or the Samsung Galaxy Watch have breathing apps you can use for a deep breathing exercise. These few minutes of clearing your head and slowing yourself down could save a life.

Straighten Your Wheels When Stopped

Stopped car with wheels straightened
Stopped car with wheels straightened

No one walks out of the house in the morning thinking it’s a good day to have an accident. But every time we’re at a stoplight, we have the potential of being rear-ended. If that happens while waiting for a left turn, and you’ve turned the steering wheel left in anticipation, you will get pushed into oncoming traffic. It’s always good practice to keep those wheels straight while you’re stopped, just in case. Being sent forwards into an empty intersection is much better than being turned into a head-on collision.

Use Your Parking Brake

Driver using parking brake
Driver using parking brake

More and more cars are including automatic parking brakes as standard equipment. This feature lessens stress on the transmission and prevents unintended acceleration or movement when the vehicle is parked. If your car doesn’t have it, you can still manually engage the parking brake when parked.

Plan For an Escape

Backed up traffic
Backed up traffic

More often than not, when you pull up to someone at an intersection, you get a little close to them. But what happens if the person’s car stalls? If you’re like most people, you haven’t given yourself room to maneuver around the car, and you’re stuck. When you pull up to your next vehicle, stop when you can still see their tires. This simple action will give you the space you need to get around them in the case of an emergency.

Relax

Cheerful driver
Cheerful driver

Anger or road rage can happen on any trip. Reports suggest that aggressive driving is the cause of over 60% of traffic fatalities, so it’s important to plan on what you’ll do when facing it. One way to handle aggressive driving is to let things go. It’s tough to ignore the aggressive driving or carelessness of another, but for car safety, it’s essential. Don’t let a simple mistake blow up into something that could take a person’s life. So, think twice and give up your anger to forgiveness. We all make unintentional mistakes.

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Steven Mitchell
Steven Mitchell

Steve's first car had pedals, and he's been filled with passion for four wheels ever since. He lives and breathes the car life as a technologist, futurist, and writer while keeping up with the whys, hows, and plans of the automotive industry. His automotive journey began with a fully restored Triumph TR3b that he sadly never appreciated until decades later. Ownerships of X-1/9's, BMW's, an SVT and a Dodge Ram Hemi have given way to the house of Audi Sport. You'll also find him as an endurance athlete on the bike in SoCal, but you'll know he's thinking about cars.

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