If youre still weighing New Years resolutions, consider altering your behavior behind the wheel. Making a few small changes to your driving habits can go a long way toward securing your safety on the roads, and the safety of those traveling around you. If you knew that altering your patterns could lower your chances of being involved in an auto accident, wouldnt you do it to stay safe?
Here are just five driving resolutions for any day of the year:
Put down the smartphone.
Lets face it, smartphones are one of the top dangers to drivers today. The kind of distraction that these handheld gadgets cause is deadly. You can promise yourself that you wont glance at the text that just came in, answer that pressing email, or take that phone call, but if your phone is right there buzzing or ringing, the temptation may be too great. Make an effort to put your phone in the glove box or even in the trunk so that there is absolutely no chance of being distracted while driving. You cant rely on your own willpower out of sight is out of mind.
Dont drink and drive.
You say you would never drive while intoxicated. Then you go to that dinner party and have a glass or two of wine. But that was an hour ago, and you mostly feel fine now. Dont talk yourself into getting behind the wheel because you didnt drink too much. When youve had any amount to drink and choose to drive, you are driving drunk. Pledge to yourself that you will instead find a safe ride home.
Talk to your kids.
Teens are impressionable. While this age group may not seem like theyre listening to your advice, and that theyre not paying attention to your actions, they are. Its up to you as a parent of a teen driver to stress the importance of driving safely, putting the smartphone away, not driving under the influence, and not getting in a car with a driver who is intoxicated. Make rules. Repeat them. Enforce them. Teens as an age group often feel infallible. Remind them that they are absolutely not.
Wear your seatbelt.
It should go without saying that when you get in the car you automatically buckle up, as should any of your passengers. However, plenty of people still choose to drive without wearing a seatbelt. Car accidents can happen at any moment, in any way, to anyone. Simply enough, wearing a safety belt helps protect you. From the front seat to the back seat, click yourself into place so that, should you be impacted from the front, rear, or side, you will be safer than any unbuckled passengers.
Dont drive drowsy.
Working adults and busy parents and overtired teens we are all tired. Yet we push on, doing everything we can to get ourselves where we need to go, even if that means getting behind the wheel when youre exhausted. Whether its a lack of sleep or a new medication or some other condition that has you nodding off behind the wheel or feeling exceptionally tired while driving, pull over immediately. Better yet, dont get in the car at all if youre super tired and save yourself and others from disaster.
David Christensen is anauto accident attorneyat Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He represents the victims ofdistracted drivingaccidents, getting them the compensation they need from insurance companies and at-fault drivers.