Safe Driving - the only kind to practice
The only kind of driving for me is safe driving. We all like to say "drive safe," but what does that mean? I'm going to show you.
But first, let's explain how driving safely is part of frugal living. It should be clear that we can damage our vehicle, but we can also damage ourselves and our reputation.
This leads to unnecessary costs in repair, medical attention and ultimately we become a "higher risk" to ourselves and others, and that costs even more.
Our additional costs can be found in elevated insurance premiums, traffic tickets and perhaps even the high costs associated with getting through our criminal justice system.
Besides, spending time in the hospital or jail isn't exactly my idea of a productive day. And, even if my insurance program gives me a payment for accidents, it still costs me in terms of pain, inconvenience, time off of work, and out-of-pocket expenses because of my insurance deductible.
In the absence of safe driving, you become your own worst enemy. If we practice safe driving, we're our own best friend. And, we're good friends and caretakers of those who travel with us and around us.
Let's look at the various topics I intend to address here as part of my focus on safe driving.
First and foremost, we should examine ourselves as drivers. Who we are and how our personality comes out on the road have a big influence on our ability to practice safe and courteous driving. Are we a two-foot driver who inadvertently becomes a "touch brake" behind the wheel? Do we signal to let others know of our intentions? Are we a loud mouth with our horn?
Sometimes we have the best intentions, but become a nuisance on the road nonetheless. Hanging out in the passing lane or entering the freeway at low speeds is annoying and can be dangerous. Passing vehicles using cruise control is a pain for others who are serious about safe driving and know how to pass. Using cruise control effectively and properly is one way we can be courteous, practice safe driving and be fuel efficient all at the same time.
Next, I'd like to acquaint you with other drivers and their habits. Since it usually takes you and someone else to have an accident, our safety relies heavily on knowing something about how other people drive. There are those fast drivers, and ones who enjoy tailgating, those who keep pace, pass and coast, cruise only, play race car driver, crawl along, and otherwise drive as if they are the only one on the road.
I don't think I'd get any argument from folks if I claimed that there are a lot of bad drivers out there. With about 40,000 deaths a year attributable to accidents on our roads, there isn't any doubt in my mind that many of us should be banned from getting behind the wheel.
As if accidents weren't enough, some of us engage in dangerous driving for fun. Here is a quick look at reckless driving, some of it as a means of having fun (which I don't recommend), and some of it attributable to drivers who just can't drive.
The other reason we need to look at other drivers is simply because they are part of the equation when it comes to avoiding accidents. Everyone is "the other driver" at one point in time, so we should be leading by good example of what "the other guy" should be. In urban areas, you encounter dense traffic and multiple interactions with "the other driver," whereas long distance driving involves fewer interactions, but prolonged periods with those "other drivers."
With so many distracted drivers on the road, it's in our best interest to be the best driver that we know how to be. Safe drivers recognize "drive your drive" as good advice indeed. And, we like to be ready for anything.
Good drivers also well understand road striping, warning signs, road condition advisories, road markers and other aids to navigation found on our streets, highways and expressways.
In addition to driver types, we need to look at other road hazards such as: surface conditions like a washboard road; natural road hazards; and man made road hazards like speed bumps, traffic calming islands and blind curves. Is there oil on the road because it's freshly paved, or is there oil on the road because the area gets so little rain?
Whether it's drivers or road conditions, enhanced operator awareness is a good investment in your health and safety, and can serve as a great way to protect your assets. Safe driving requires good operator awareness. It's a key to your ability to adjust and respond to what you encounter on the road, and it can help you reduce vehicle maintenance costs as well.
Foul weather also affects our ability to drive safely, so we need to be mindful of driving in deep snow, making a turn on ice and snow, driving on snow and ice, driving on ice, the presence of "black ice" and driving in the rain, fog, and high winds.
It's difficult to know just how much traction you have on a particular road surface under certain weather conditions, but you can test for when traction is poorest, and then adjust your speed accordingly. If you don't have antilock brakes, or the ones you have fail, do you know how to create "do it yourself antilock brakes" in a pinch? It can be a useful skill to have.
Does a car stuck in snow give you fits, or do you know how to get it out without shoveling? Are you aware that spinning your wheels reduces traction in snow and on ice? Let's talk about winter traction and why colder weather is better.
For some of us, driving at night poses a series of challenges, especially when combined with rain or in areas where there is no illumination.
Remember to "drive your drive" and ignore the foolishness of others. There are plenty of "cop catchers" out there, and many others who are looking for a suitable place to have their accident. Leave them alone and "drive your drive."
Since getting behind the wheel is almost a daily activity for many of us, and it affects our health and wealth, we should be focused on safe driving all the time.
Done with Safe Driving, take me Home