Top New Year’s Resolutions for Drivers in 2017
Many people use their New Year’s Resolutions to better manage their money, lose weight, or pick up a new hobby. While these are great goals to set for yourself, it’s also important to take a step back and review something you do almost every day—drive your car—and create goals to eliminate any potentially dangerous habits.
While most drivers follow traffic laws and stay cautious when they’re behind the wheel, no one is perfect. All it takes is one small slip-up to put yourself, your passengers, and other motorists at risk of a serious accident.
Extending your New Year’s Resolutions to your daily commute can not only help you reduce your risks of being involved in a collision, it can also prolong the life of your car, keep you safe in an emergency, and even reduce the stress of a traffic jam.
- Put away your phone when you’re behind the wheel.
Smartphones are ubiquitous in 2017, and almost no one leaves home without them. Unfortunately, the downside to being connected to friends, family, and the world at large is that these devices present a serious risk when they’re used while you’re driving. Distraction while you’re behind the wheel can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk. When driving, place your cell phone in your center console or in your purse. Pull over if you need to send a text or make a call and never do so when your vehicle is in motion.
- Leave earlier to avoid traffic frustrations.
While no one likes sitting in traffic, the angst caused by gridlock is amplified when you’re running late for work or an appointment. Your daily commute and your schedule can make it difficult or even impossible to avoid traffic completely, but leaving earlier and giving yourself more time to make it to your destination can help reduce your stress levels and even make you less likely to engage in dangerous driving behaviors.
- Stay on top of preventative maintenance.
Your car needs frequent maintenance to keep its peak performance, efficiency, and reliability. If you wait too long, crucial parts of your vehicle may degrade and even break down, putting you at risk of accidents or malfunctions that can leave you stranded on the side of the road and on the hook for expensive repairs. Check your manual to find recommended maintenance and replacement intervals for things like brakes, tires, and oil changes, and make sure you follow them as closely as possible.
- Stock your vehicle with emergency items.
Although you may never leave home without your smartphone, there’s no guarantee it will be the lifeline you need if you’re ever involved in an emergency or become stranded. To stay safe in a variety of situations, keep your vehicle stocked with things like blankets, snacks, bottled water, reflective triangles and cones, roadside flares, a spare tire and jack, and a first aid kit. These items can be stowed away and kept out of sight, but they’ll give you peace of mind whether you’re driving to work on the interstate or driving cross-country through unfamiliar areas.
- Set a good example for your children.
Whether your children are on the brink of turning 16 and receiving their licenses, or their driving years are still far off in the future, it’s important to remember that the example you set behind the wheel can play a major role in their own driving behaviors. When you buckle up, use your turn signals, keep plenty of space between your car and the car in front of you, and come to a complete stop at stop signs, your children will pick up on those behaviors and be more likely to emulate them when they get the keys to their own cars.
A new year is a great time to break old habits and create new ones that positively affect your life. When you flip the calendar to 2017, use it as an opportunity to get back to the basics of safe driving that will not only better protect you and your loved ones, but will also help make roadways in your area safer for others.
After an accident, it’s important that you get experienced legal representation on your side as soon as possible. Evidence can disappear and the insurance company can begin working on ways to reduce or deny your claim. At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident attorneys can begin fighting for your rights immediately. Dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form to speak with us today.