Driving safely is an important way to protect yourself, your family, and others on the road, as well as to save on repair and insurance costs. However, if you’re new to the road or haven’t driven in a while, it’s not always easy to know what makes a safe driver. In this article, we lay out our best safe driver tips to help you on the road. Remember, if you’re unsure how to be a safe driver it’s best to take some practical lessons so you can approach driving with confidence.
1. Drive within the speed limit and slow down if you need to
Our top safe driver tip is to drive within the speed limit, and slow down in difficult situations such as sharp turns, crowded areas, and near schools. Speeding is a lead cause of crashes in Australia, and is easy to avoid by keeping an eye on your speedometer, and adapting sensibly to your surroundings.
2. Drive to visibility and weather conditions
Wet weather can increase your stopping distance considerably, and poor visibility can turn ordinary turns into blind corners. Slowing down in poor conditions is a key part of how to be a safe driver. You should also avoid hard braking or accelerating.
3. Know the road rules
What do you do at a busy intersection, roundabout or when merging lanes? An important part of how to be a safe driver is driving in a predictable and easy to understand manner, so other cars on the road can respond to you appropriately. Knowing and following the road rules will mean you act in a way that cars expect, avoiding accidental collisions. It will also help you avoid a hefty fine.
4. Avoid distractions
It’s easy to find yourself distracted when driving, whether by your mobile phone, music, or your passengers. However, distraction increases your risk of crashing considerably. Don’t be afraid to turn down the music in difficult areas, or tell your passengers that you need a moment to concentrate.
5. Take active steps to check what is going on around you
Safe driving is more than simply avoiding distractions – you should also make an active effort to be aware of your surroundings. Check your mirrors and adjust them if necessary every time you drive so you can see what is happening around you. Actively check your blind spots when changing lanes or pulling out, and take care near pedestrians who may behave in an unpredictable way.
6. Keep a safe distance from the car in front of you
If you need to stop suddenly, it is essential you have enough distance to avoid running into the car in front of you. As you increase your speed, you’ll need to increase this distance. You should also leave more room in wet conditions, when towing, or if you’re driving at night.
7. Share the road safely with others
Safe driver tips go beyond the road rules, to sharing the road safely by being considerate of others around you. When you’re changing lanes or turning, avoid cutting in, and use your indicators to provide plenty of warning. You should also help the flow of traffic by allowing others to overtake and avoiding slow driving in the right-hand lane.
8. Take breaks when needed and don’t drive if you’re too tired
Driving when you’re too tired will significantly increase your chances of being in a crash. In fact, fatigue plays a role in more than 20% of road accidents in Victoria. If you begin to feel tired when you’re driving, pull over and take a break until you feel refreshed. Make sure you’re well rested before long journeys and feel alert.
9. Check medication before driving
Some medications can make you sleepy, which can be dangerous on the road. If you take any medication, check the label carefully and look for any warnings related to driving.
10. Keep your car in good condition
No matter how safely you drive, you can still endanger others if you do not keep your car in good condition. Make sure your lights and wipers are in working order and your tyres are correctly inflated. If you notice any strange sounds or movements in your car when driving, consider visiting a licensed mechanic.