After a while, driving becomes second-nature to many people, which means many people are jumping behind the wheel and not entirely focusing on what they’re doing. This causes many people to develop bad habits that may not seem like a big deal, but could actually increase the risk of a number of consequences. On one hand, you could be given a traffic ticket more frequently if you continue, but on the other, you are more likely to be involved in a serious accident which may or may not result in injuries.
Here are five bad driving habits that you may or may not recognize and how you can shake them for good.
“It’s just for a couple minutes!” We’ve all made this excuse before when wedging our cars into a spot right beneath a no-parking sign and turning on our hazard lights. While it may seem harmless (and be harmless in most occasions) there’s a reason why these signs exist: often times they are in places where a stopped car is a serious risk to traffic flow. A car not paying attention could miss your car’s presence and collide with yours, and you may actually be held responsible for it, even though you weren’t even in the vehicle! Find a safe spot to park; it’s far better than the alternative.
Accelerating Through Yellow Lights
Everyone has put their foot down on the gas pedal to scream through the intersection just before the traffic signal changes to red. After all, it’s pretty annoying to have to slam on your brakes to come to a stop in just enough time. However, not all yellow lights stay as long as the law says they should, and you could be risking colliding with someone else in a dangerous crash if you run a red light. If you encounter a light that has been green for a while, stay alert and prepare for it to possibly change to yellow on you.
Merging Too Slowly
Human nature dictates that when we encounter a situation we need to be cautious about, we should slow down and make sure we do it right. When it comes to merging into a busy street or highway, however, doing so could actually be putting both yourself and everyone behind you at risk. Believe it or not, it’s actually easier and safer to merge when you are traveling at the speed of traffic or slightly faster since it means the cars who are already on the highway won’t have to suddenly slam on their brakes to slow to your speed and risk rear-ending you.
When you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, it’s easy to lose track of the fact that you might be right on someone’s bumper. If they were to suddenly swerve or change speeds, you don’t have enough time to react if you are driving too close. Tailgating causes many rear-end accidents and injuries every year, and in nearly every instance it’s the tailgating driver’s fault. Take a moment and slow down to keep adequate space between you and the cars in front, and you may actually find it’s easier to get around slower drivers than it is if you’re right on their tail.
Cutting Off Other Drivers
On a related note, changing lanes too quickly and cutting off another driver is also exceedingly dangerous. It may be annoying to have to try to get around a slow driver, but suddenly changing lanes without signaling or looking to your side means you may jump in front of a driver who is moving faster than you, causing them to rear-end you. In this instance, you would be held responsible, even though you were rear-ended. Be sure to check your blind spots and only change lanes when it is safe to do so after signaling.