Driver’s education teaches you the basics. What you learn over time creates your habits—both good and bad. I’m not going to lecture you on safe driving skills, but some drivers’ bad habits are dangerous.
Are you a pain to your fellow motorists? Ask yourself if this is you! Do you have any of the following bad habits?
1. Forgetting to use your turn signals. Your turn signals are the only method to communicate with other drivers. Being lazy or absent-minded about your turn signal can cause a rear-end collision, or cause someone to attempt to pass you at the worst possible time. It’s equally important on expressways when changing lanes. Remember, that person in your blind spot can’t read your mind.
Bottom line: Remember to always use your turn signals—make it a habit.
2. Hogging the left lane. The fact is, the left lane is supposed to be the passing lane. Slower drivers in the left lane can actually be cited for obstructing traffic. Those who stake out permanent positions in the left lane tend to provoke other cars who are driving faster, often giving them no other choice but the dangerous strategy of passing on the right.
Bottom line: Moving over isn’t a matter of courtesy; it’s a matter of safety. Keep traffic flow smoothly.
3. Getting distracted. Many drivers multi-task while driving. This can be very dangerous. Any time you become preoccupied or distracted, you’re letting down your defenses. Minimize your eating, drinking, loud music choices, and cell phone conversations while driving. Save these for when you’re stopped in a safe place. If you must talk and drive, use a hands-free device—they are worth every penny, and in many states they are required by law.
Bottom line: Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
If you feel you or someone else you know requires more help with bad driving habits, consider enrolling in a defensive driving course. Depending on your state, many insurance companies can offer a premium reduction for approved courses.