Sure, it’s been a few years (or decades) since you took your driver’s license test. But, that doesn’t mean you should forget all the rules and driving tips! Actually, quite the opposite.

While at the time it may have seemed like the obstacle in the way of your freedom, the driver’s test prepares you for the road. Here are a few things you should always remember from your driver’s test that will help you stay safe on the road.

Safe Driving Tips You Shouldn’t Forget

They range from remembering signals, to proper following distances and the classic “put the phone down.” But, all of these tips for driving safely help you (and those around you) arrive to your destinations accident-free.

Tip #1 – Follow Proper Spacing Rules

It’s time to stop tailgating. Not only will it not get you there faster, but it also makes everyone around you angry, and it inhibits your ability to stop in time.

So what’s a reasonable distance? Follow the three-second rule. You should be (at the minimum) three seconds behind the vehicle in front of you when passing stagnant objects (light telephone poles or road signs). And remember, this doesn’t change when your speed does. The faster you’re going, the more space you should leave.

However, this is a rule-of-thumb and does not fit for every car and situation. Consider leaving more space if:

  • you are towing anything
  • are a heavy load
  • if it is raining, hailing or snowing making the pavement slick
  • behind a larger vehicle that blocks your view
  • behind a car that makes frequent stops like a school bus or vehicles required to stop at railroad crossings

Tip #2 – Use the Left Lane Only to Pass

It’s common courtesy, but it’s also safer.

Drivers on the highway are most likely to get into an accident when changing lanes. This gets exacerbated when people also maneuver around slow-moving cars in the left lanes as well as the right lanes, causing a zig-zag motion of traffic. At some point, you don’t know what direction they are coming from!

Also, have you ever been in a situation on the highway when a speeding car comes up behind a slower car and slams on their brakes? Next thing you know, everyone is touching their brakes, effectively slowing down traffic across the entire highway. And now, you have a traffic jam. By staying out of the left, fast-moving lane (even if you’re going the speed limit) alleviates the need for cars to put on their brakes.

Tip #3 – Using Your Blinkers

You know, those things that tell everyone where you are going. Let them do their job.

It’s the simplest thing you can do to prevent collisions. By letting everyone know which direction you are heading, it gives them time to react without immediacy. Bonus points if you put it on a few seconds before you start switching lanes.

Tip #4 – Stop Passing in No-Passing Zones

They are there for a reason. Maybe there is a sudden curve ahead. Or a bridge. Or a blind spot. For whatever reason, it’s not a safe passing zone.

And the reason may not even be for your direction of traffic. It could be the first chance the opposite lane has had to pass for a few miles which means lots of impatient drivers taking advantage of the straight-away.

And same goes for the carpool lanes. While it may be tempting to zoom over and around traffic, when it’s a no-passing area don’t. Driver’s are less prepared and not anticipating people entering their lane. It could also be a dangerous area to enter; perhaps it’s already full of cars exiting and entering.

Mind the double lanes.

Tip #5 – Put Your Phone Out of Reach

Avoid all temptation by putting your phone out of reach. This way, if you hear the ding, you won’t reach and look out of habit.

If you are using your phone to navigate place it in a holder at eye-level. Just like texting, looking down to navigate takes your eyes away from the road and traffic.

Think you’re a fast reader and can get away with it? Wrong. When traveling 55 mph, by the time it takes to read a short message you’ve already driven an entire football field.

It’s one of the biggest safe driving tips we have — put down the phone!

Tip #6 – Keep Your Car In Shape

You’re right, keeping your car shiny and clean (while less distracting) doesn’t help safe driving.

What does is taking care of your car’s engine, tires, and electrical components.

Keeping your car in shape reduces the chance you end up on the side of the road, a situation that isn’t just bad for you, but for everyone around you. Also, things like bad brakes and bald tires can easily cause accidents when road conditions are less than ideal or in congested traffic.

Make sure you get to your destination safely! Remembering this safe driving tips can help not only you, but the driver’s around you, have less harrowing driving experiences. Think something in your car needs repairing or tuned-up to be road safe? Contact Northwest Auto Center of Houston today.