The Riskiest Driving Habits You Don’t Even Know You Have

Written by a Guest Blogger

Services like are constantly reviewing some of the worst driving habits in order to assess the risk we’re putting ourselves in by getting behind the wheel. We all like to think we are good drivers and have habits that are conducive to avoiding accidents and staying healthy, but often our riskiest behaviors are the ones we do without even thinking about them. Here are 10 driving habits that put your life in danger and that you may not even know you have.

1. Talking on the phone

We all know this one – answering or making a cellular call while driving. You can become immersed in a conversation and, if your mouth is engaged, your brain is not. As much as is written about this, it remains a primary cause of many accidents.

2. Texting

Okay, this one should be 1A, but it is even more insidious than talking on your phone while driving. If you are tapping out a text on your phone, where are your eyes fixed? How many hands do you have on the steering wheel? Your eyes definitely aren’t on the road and you cannot possibly have more than one hand on the steering wheel. This one activity has proven to be as dangerous as drinking and driving.

3. Gesturing

We are all people, and it never fails: some of us have bad days occasionally – that’s life. Just because the driver in front of or behind you is using suggestive hand gestures to let you know about it, don’t reciprocate. Road rage is very real and even an innocent can get involved in an escalating situation you cannot control or win.

4. Rolling through stops

Stop signs don’t mean stop-then-go as rapidly as possible. Take a look around on all sides – even look up and down. The car you think is going to stop as he approaches a 4-way stop sign is the one that collides with yours.

5. Rushing at green

Green does mean go – but it doesn’t mean you light the liquid fuel rockets. It means “proceed with caution.” Take a look both ways and make sure someone isn’t in a rush, and running the red light going the opposite direction. Pause for a second before entering the intersection – even on green. Just because you are paying attention doesn’t mean the other guy is.

6. Following to closely

This is akin to the rule of maintaining at least one car length of distance from the car in front of you for each 10 miles-per-hour of speed. Why not make it one-and-one-half car lengths? This safety measure is even simpler – if you can read the license plate – you are too close. Maintaining distance allows you to be able to take control of 2 tons of steel and react, stop, and avoid conditions that can cause harm.

7. Panic braking

You know who you are – the ones that brake for ants crossing the road. This is never a good idea, especially with people’s tendency to multitask while driving. Give yourself lots of room to brake steadily and slowly. This preventative step in accident avoidance is for the “other guy” that likes reading license plates.

8. Taking medications

Know the drugs you are taking and ALL of the side effects. Virtually every medication you can take may affect your performance behind the wheel – this even includes aspirin. The best cure for this is not to take any medications while driving. When this isn’t possible, ask your doctor and pharmacist if there are any concerns about driving while taking that OTC allergy medication that calls itself a non-drowsy formula.

9. Forgoing your seatbelt

Most states have very good laws that make seat belt use mandatory. Don’t buckle-up because you will get a ticket if you don’t. Do it because it can save your life if you are in an accident.

10. Paying attention to passengers

Pay extra attention when you are the driver with one or more passengers in the car. Having a deeply engrossing conversation about the fiber content of the chicken fried rice you just had for lunch is better discussed once you get to your destination. Distractions in any form can be deadly.

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Auto Upkeep 4th Edition

Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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