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How do I Become a Responsible Driver?

Driving a motor vehicle is a huge responsibility. It requires your full attention, and there is always something you can be learning and doing better. 

There’s really no finish line to being a safe driver. It’s a constant responsibility that you will need to stay on top of as you gain more experience behind the wheel. 

The 10 simple tips below will help you be a safer, more responsible driver every time you get behind the wheel. 

1. Be in the Right Mindset to Drive

Driving when you’re angry, stressed, tired, or distracted by something else going on in your life can take your attention off the road. 

Learn how to recognize and manage your emotions before you get behind the wheel. 

If you need to, pull over until you’re ready to give your full attention to the task of driving again.

2. Never Drink or Use Drugs When You Drive

Drinking alcohol or taking drugs (illegal, prescription, over-the-counter) can seriously diminish your ability to drive. 

The risks are simply not worth it, and the chances of ruining your own life and the lives of others is extremely high. 

If you know you’re going to be drinking, find an alternative way how. Some good options include:

  • A designated driver.
  • A taxi or ride sharing service.
  • Staying the night. 

Learn more about drinking and driving and the consequences here. 

3. Be Prepared & Don’t be in a Rush

Before you get in the car, you should know where you’ll be going. This prevents you from feeling the need to look through maps of mess with your GPS while you drive. 

Also, give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination on time. If you’re rushing while you drive, you’ll be at a greater risk of causing a collision. 

Leave earlier and arrive safely. 

4. Don’t Drive Distracted

Distracted driving is a huge problem. In order to be a responsible driver, your full attention needs to be on the task of driving. 

Put away your phone, don’t mess with CDs, avoid doing your make-up or grooming, and make sure your passengers aren’t distracting you while you drive. 

Learn more about distracted driving here. 

5. Always Wear Your Seat Belt

Seat belts save lives, and they greatly reduce your risk of dying or being seriously injured if you’re involved in a collision. 

Before you start driving, make sure you and your passengers are buckled up. 

Whether you’re driving 5 minutes to the store or 5 hours on a road trip, always wear your seat belt. 

Learn more about seat belt laws and fines for failing to buckle up here.

6. Scan Your Surroundings

A responsible driver knows what’s going on around them and potential hazards down the road. 

Avoid fixating on a single thing when you drive.

Instead, scan down the road, check your mirrors, and be aware of things happening around your vehicle. 

This will help you to better avoid and react to emergencies. 

7. Keep a Space Around Your Vehicle

A space cushion around your vehicle allows you to avoid hazards as they occur. Without space to move, your chances of not being able to avoid a crash are much higher. 

This means avoiding driving in the blind spots of other drivers, avoiding following too closely, and allowing others to pass.

8. Drive at a Safe Speed

Avoid driving faster than the posted speed limits. Always drive at the speed appropriate for the current conditions. 

Sometimes the posted speed limit is actually much faster than the safe speed. This could be due to traffic, road conditions, construction, or weather. 

9. Signal and Communicate

Signal your intentions so other drivers know what you’re doing. Use your turn signals and lights at the appropriate time to help other drivers see and react to your movements. 

10 . Keep Your Vehicle Well Maintained

Keeping up with your vehicle’s maintenance is another part of being a safe driver. 

A vehicle with mechanical problems is a greater risk to other drivers on the road and is at a greater risk of causing a crash. 

Keep up with the recommended factory maintenance schedule, change your oil, replace your fluids, check your lights, and check your tires and tire pressure regularly. 

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