Whether you’re just going to the store or driving cross-country, safety behind the wheel is paramount. Avoid becoming a statistic by following these safe-driving tips:
- Stop signs. To ensure you come to a full stop and avoid an accident (or a ticket), spell the word S-T-O-P to yourself and feel the car rock backward before stepping on the gas again. Remember to look left, right, and straight ahead before proceeding.
- Stopping time. Always make sure you’ve got enough time to stop your car if the vehicle ahead of you slams on the brakes unexpectedly. To be safe, start counting when the car in front passes a stationary object. If you pass the object before reaching a count of four, you’re too close. Slow down. At night, or when the weather is hazardous, increase the count to give yourself enough room.
- Parked cars. In the city, be careful when driving past a line of parked cars. Stay toward the center of the road in case someone opens a door without warning.
- Armrests. Don’t use the armrest while driving. Your arms need to be free and ready to turn the wheel in case of an emergency.
- Lights. Check regularly to make sure they’re clean and clear so oncoming drivers and pedestrians can see you in low visibility. If your car has a center-mounted brake light in the rear window, be sure that’s clear when wiping off snow, ice, or mud. Switch your headlights on any time visibility may be even slightly impaired.
- Steering wheel. Keep your hands at the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions while driving, or the 9 and 3 positions. This gives you maximum control over your steering
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