Every time we get behind the wheel, you are operating a very heavy piece of machinery at high speeds. No matter what level of driver we think we are, there is always room for improvements to be made. Taking the correct precautions like driver's ed courses, practicing, asking help from a friend, and even just plain old research can help save you money, keep you safe, and most importantly keep others safe while driving on the road. Who knows? You may even discover a new passion you didn't think you had.
1. Practice parallel parking like a boss.
Parallel parking is one of the driving skills that simply takes practice. At first, it can be difficult and honestly quite scary. Like most things in our life, it doesn't work perfectly the first time through. Take 10-15 minutes out of your day to look up a simple guide on "How to Parallel Park Like a Pro" on Google.
You'd be surprised at how much content is out their written and designed for the purpose of improving our driving. Ask a friend or family member to come along for help and company. After a few practice runs, you will be parking like a boss in no time.
2. Take a defensive driving course and apply the concepts.
Remember those days when we sat in driver's education class and listened to the teacher? No? Well, I don't either. But that is exactly my point. The law and roadways have changed since we were 15-and-a-half taking our driving courses. Retouching the subject wouldn't be such a bad idea if you were looking to improve your driving.
There are many options when it comes to taking a defensive driving course online or offline. They are relatively cheap and are packed with valuable information. Some examples of online driving schools are:
For as low as $5, you can take a course in safe driving from the comfort of your home.
3. Don't drive sleep-deprived AKA drowsy driving.
If you thought people who sleep walk are dangerous, wait until you witness someone sleep driving for yourself. If we are not supposed to ever awaken a sleepwalker, what do we do if that person is behind the wheel? Take proactive actions towards preventing that situation. Whenever your brain waves are being inhibited due to alcohol, medications, no sleep, a medical condition, or just having a terrible flu—it's the perfect time to stay off the road and perhaps order an Uber or Lyft for this outing.
Earlier this year, AAA did a study that claims drowsy driving was responsible for 9.5 percent of car accidents after studying 700 dashboard videos involved in a crash. Some symptoms of drowsy driving include anything from swerving across the lanes and not remembering the last few miles driven. There can only be one antidote to this issue. Sleep.
4. Don't practice distracted driving. It can wait.
April is known as the Distracted Driving Awareness month in the United States. The fact that we now have an entire month to raise awareness should be telling enough. Driving distracted, however, is more than just texting and driving. It can be anything from moving objects, smoking, eating, drinking, other occupants, and even being "lost in thought." Any action that involves the driver removing focus from the road to anything else is distracting.
This interactive map shows the 3,450 recorded deaths caused by distracted driving across America and it has all forms of distraction mentioned above. Driving during rush hour (3 PM to 4 PM) is the most likely time to get into an accident due to somebody not giving their 100 percent attention. Even when traffic is bumper to bumper, it only takes a split second to drive into the rear bumper of your adversary.
If you absolutely need to do anything else other than drive while behind the wheel of a car—don't. Pull over, handle it before or after, or just accept that fact you can't distract yourself while driving. It only takes a couple seconds to change your entire life.
5. Is 65 MPH not fast enough for you!? Too bad.
We all know that moment when we are driving at the speed limit (maybe you are a little over, like 5-10 miles per hour) and someone sees this as an opportunity to pass a "slow" driver. This is a common form of road rage that only eggs you on to drive even faster. Of course, we can't let this person pass us, right?
You never know what kind of day that person is having and you also don't know what that person will do if you do react. In the greater scheme of things, it is just not worth it. If it gets to the point that you are feeling endangered, pull off the road and calmly let them pass. Don't let them rain on your parade.
6. Practice over preaching. Hit the roads.
Getting behind the wheel is the best form of practice one could get. However, it is not the only form. Playing video games can even boost your driving reaction time and even your understanding of driving physics. Like mentioned above, re-enrolling in driving school can help or just practice driving defensively. If you drive like everyone on the road wants to kill you, you build a stronger intuition and ability to read the behavior of opponent drivers.
Bottom line. If other people are in constant danger when you get behind the wheel, consider looking into some driving schools. Practice driving and learn to drive like you actually have a license and above all else... remember to have fun while doing it.