Your first year with a car will give you important information about what driving style works best. Even if you have avoided accidents, there is no reason to continue practicing bad driving habits. Check out if you’ve been in an automobile accident. This guide covers a lot of details that will keep you out of harm's way, but it never hurts to have a backup. 

Stop, Look And Listen

Being patient while driving will allow you to stick to the core fundamentals. Pay attention to your surroundings and anticipate the next move by stopping, looking and listening. This will allow you to get a full read of everything that is going on around the car. It’s simple, but doing this will give you the option to avoid the easiest accidents with driving. In a way, this also allows you to telegraph your moves to other drivers so that they respond better. There are no guessing games with this method, and it relies on common sense to avoid accidents. 

Everyone Doesn’t Stop At Red

Cars run red lights all the time, so you need to develop a system just for lights. Following the lights is more than just visual, and needs to have a bit of flow. Instead of flooring it when the light is about to turn green, count to two the moment the light turns green. This will clear you of any red light runners without inconveniencing the drivers behind your car. Intersections are dangerous when red light runners come in pairs, so watch both sides. Using patience with red lights will give a driver the rhythm they need for all lights. 

Mind The Steering Wheel

Watching any television show, movie or music video gives unrealistic depictions of driving. Characters make it looks cool, and in many instances take their eyes off of the road for seconds at a time. In real life, those few seconds can cost you your life. A hand should always be on the steering wheel, even when sitting idle. For drivers that like to multitask, this can be an inconvenience. That is one of the reasons car manufacturers integrated features like hands-free radio into their vehicles. Bluetooth is the latest hands-free technology to help with multitasking so that drivers can keep their hands on the steering wheel. 

Kids Are Unpredictable

There is no way to predict how kids will behave in the back seat. Parents are well aware of the many distractions a kid can cause while driving. This extends to the outside of the car, where kids that are at play will run in front of traffic. Even if there are no signs, drivers must be aware of kids that are playing in the area. At any time, they may run in front of your car to retrieve a toy or a pet. Avoid any accidents by being visually aware of the kids inside and outside of your car while moving. 

Maintain Your Vehicle’s Engine

Engine maintenance will keep a car in top shape and lower the chance of surprises while on the road. There is no way to predict when an engine will fail while driving. There is also the problem of it happening while in a full driving motion. It is a nightmare scenario when moving at a high speed and surrounded by other cars. To compensate for the sudden change in movement, other drivers have to be aware that your car is having problems. It only takes one unaware driver to cause a major accident due to your engine failure. 

Invest In A Backup Camera

A few modern cars come built in with a backup camera that automatically activates while in reverse. You can avoid all objects with the use of this technology. Cars that don’t come with it equipped can have it cheaply installed. The backup camera is not mandatory but is very helpful in avoiding minor and major accidents. Like all vehicle collisions, it only takes one person to make a mistake that inconvenience multiple people. You can partially see what is happening with your mirrors, or you can see it all with a backup camera. 

Tailgating Is Illegal

And even in states where it isn’t, tailgating is considered a bad driving habit. Drivers should always leave a few seconds of cushion between their car and the one in front. Driving too close to a car will make it more likely to be involved in a fender bender. Hitting another driver from the back will put you in the worst position possible if a lawsuit occurs. Other drivers get nervous when a car is too close to their bumper. Instead of inflicting anxiety on fellow drivers, gives them space so that maneuverability is not a problem. More space means more time to use defensive driving techniques when something goes wrong. 

No One Owns The Road

If you think that your truck or car is the king of the road, then think again. No one owns the road, so be respectful of other drivers. Vehicles are dangerous machines that will give you a false sense of security when traveling at high speeds. The mentality that every driver should march to the beat of your drum is false and will affect your decision making. Instead of driving like you’re the only person on the road, take the time to feel out specific situations. If someone is speeding, let them pass. If someone is going slow, don’t ride their bumper. 

Distractions Are A Killer

Distractions and driving were mentioned before. But it still needs to be shouted out again, simply for how big of a factor it is with accidents. People get into accidents at all speeds. Cars have run into parked cars, drove into ditches and ridden underneath 18 wheelers. All of this seems implausible, but it happens every day. There are even drivers that watch television or movies while going full speed down the interstate. No matter how empty the road may seem, never take your eyes off of it. If for some reason you can’t stop the distractions, then limit them so that other drivers aren’t in danger. 

Check Your Blind Spots

The backup camera will let you see in your blind spots when reversing, but it is no help when moving forwards. Modern cars have done a good job of making blind spots less of a problem, even if it is still there. Always check the features of your car to see if it has blind spot capabilities. You may not even be taking full advantage of the many new features available to vehicles. And if you have an older car, adjust your mirrors to be in the correct position.  

Can You See At Night?

Driving at night is completely different than driving in the daytime. If you require glasses to drive, then keep a spare pair in the car. Night driving is difficult even when you have perfect eyesight. There is also the problem of drunk drivers being more active at night. Along with the drunk drivers you have vehicles being operated by tired people. Night time brings out the biggest dangers while lowering the visibility of the road. Being able to see correctly at night should be your top priority to avoid problems. In some states, they may even add restrictions to your license based on eyesight. 

Impatient People Use The Fast Lane

Remember this when using the fast lane as a passing lane. There is no shortage of drivers that use the fast lane to surpass the original speed limit. When you see a car constantly switching lanes to get ahead, let them pass you. These drivers are prioritizing speed over safety, and it is better to let them get ahead of you. If that particular driver has to take extra effort to get around cars, then the risk of an accident is maximized. 

Practice Defensive Driving Maneuvers

Defensive driving prevents you from making assumptions about other drivers on the road. Get into the habit of controlling your own car before worrying about the other drivers on the road. You can’t control what other drivers do on the road, so don’t get distracted. Accidence avoidance maneuvers will save your life when a crash is about to happen. Classes are available that teach these techniques and serve as an invaluable resource to protect against other bad drivers. Even in an emergency, you still have the chance to control the outcome in a limited capacity. The only thing you can’t control is the mistakes that other drivers make while on the road.  

Never drive without insurance

Even in countries like South Africa where you are not legally required to have car insurance.

Wrap Up

Instead of waiting until the last minute to resolve bad driving, deal with it now. Bad drivers go years without having a life-changing accident. Everyone has some issues with their driving, so don’t feel like you’re surrounded by perfect drivers. Do what you can to improve driving habits in the first year and pay it forward to other fellow drivers. `