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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
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Safety on the Road: Overall

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I found an article from Cracked.com that looked at driving tips. It has what they called “6 little known tips” that saved lives. I figured it was worth spending time this past month looking at these 6 and what other ones I thought needed to be added.

Look at your mirrors. The article pointed out that there is almost no education that has gone into what should be done without mirrors. That while many people have been told to look at their mirrors and adjust them to your height before you start driving, little is said about what they should be adjusted to. The advice here is that they should be adjusted so that you see what other cars are doing vs. your own car. Check out the graphics.

Treat the road like there aren’t signs. This one is interesting because the first thought has to be “won’t everyone run stop signs?” The difference is that the suggestion is that you watch for cars. If you drove as if there were no signs and actually yielded for the cars that had the right of way, you would avoid all the accidents because you would be looking out for the party to the actual collision. It’s the car, not the sign.

Turn off the radio. The studies that the article looks at point out how music affects your body. That if you speed up or slow down internally it doesn’t help you with driving. Your reactions should be in response to the road. Your head needs to be into what is happening during the act of driving.

Drive with your headlights on. Many modern cars have made this easier. I appreciate that my car actually turns off it’s lights because I often forget and I remember being awed as a child by a local businessman who just walked away with his lights on and said “It takes care of it” when I pointed it out. The real benefit is it makes you easier to see. It is something that motorcyclists have done for years.

Use your parking brake. I had no idea about this one. Apparently, if you don’t use it with some regularity, the brake will stop working. I guess I had some odd concern that it would wear out. But, it makes sense that you should use it at times and not find out at a very bad time that it doesn’t work.

You need to steer out of and not break during a blowout. I had this happen many years ago when I had a job that involved racing all over southern Minnesota for a campaign office. The car went every which way, and I somehow knew that breaking would make things worse.

Take breaks when you need them. If you are tired, hungry, or need to answer the call of nature, it is important that you take care of those things. Each will take your attention away from the road. It is often the case that after the break, you will feel better and be safer. When you do decide to get off the road, it is important that you get completely off the roads. It is not unusual to read about cases of people who get hit out on the highway. Don’t put yourself in a dangerous spot.

Use your turn signal. I am amazed at the number of people who apparently don’t have working signals. They will change lanes, make turns, or even park without any notice whatsoever. It is probably a sign of being distracted. I have always found that the turn signal is another part of you paying attention and lets others know what you are doing.

Don’t drive to empty. I was taught as a very young driver by one of my Grandfathers to never let the tank go below a quarter. It helps you with weight on winter roads and it makes sure you don’t unexpectedly run out of gas. There is nothing worse than when I break that rule and, in a hurry, head down the road to find that I am out on the highway and nearing fumes. Simply running out of gas can add a whole number of additional safety issues.

Know where other cars are on the road. My other Grandfather used to cover up the mirror and say how many cars are behind you. If you were wrong, you had to pull over and give up the wheel. It has helped me many times to not be surprised by what was coming up the road.

Beyond my usual trio of seatbelts, no drinking/texting and driving, and slow down, my hope is that these tips will teach my readers in the same way it has taught me. Most of all, I hope it helps make the roads safer.