How to Become a Safer Driver

If you’ve recently received a moving violation ticket and are accumulating points that are threatening your driver’s license, it is time to act. Indeed, as you amass points, you are one step closer to receiving additional fines, paying court costs and surcharges, perhaps even facing prison time.

One more mistake or a lapse in judgment on your part could result in you harming yourself, another driver, or a pedestrian. Obviously, this is not a position you want to find yourself in. Therefore, making a concerted effort to become a safer driver is essential. Read on and we will explore methods you can take to improve your driving skills and reduce your points, saving you money.

Safer Driver
A safer driver course can reduce points and curb insurance hikes.

Take a Safer Driver Course

A safer driver course backed by your state can help improve your driving skills while reducing the points on your license. When you successfully complete the driving school course, your state typically removes two, perhaps three points.

Keep in mind, though, that the program must be approved by your state. If you complete the program, however, you typically cannot take a point-reduction class again for up to five years. This means you will still deal with the added costs that come with amassing tickets, including higher insurance rates.

Course Highlights

Safer driver or defensive driver courses offer the same goal: to make you a better driver. If the goals seem familiar, they are: essentially, you will go over all the defensive driving tips you learned when you first got your license. The goal is, of course, to make you a safer driver.

Safety Above All

A safer driver course places the emphasis on where it belongs: safety. Indeed, you will have that word drilled into you time and again throughout the course. Understanding safety and all that follows comes naturally.

Situational Awareness

Be aware of your surroundings. Anticipate what other drivers might do. Keep an eye on pedestrians, pets, and wild animals. Assume the worst and you will be at your best behind the wheel.

Maintain Control

You are responsible for your own driving. This means you cannot depend on other drivers to make the correct choices. If in doubt, yield to other drivers when moving through an intersection or when entering a highway. Remember, yield signs are not always followed and traffic circles are a rotary of confusion for some drivers.

Leave Space Between Vehicles

On the highway, leave ample space between you and the vehicle immediately in front. Typically, this means counting three seconds between cars to allow plenty of space to maneuver if you suddenly must change lanes. If the weather conditions turn slippery, add at least one second. Or double that when your visibility is reduced or road conditions turn treacherous. Under the worst conditions, pull off the road and find a safe place to ride out a thunderstorm or wait for snowplows to come through.

Maintain Your Speed

Speed limits are there for a reason. No, they are not in place to trap you, rather to keep your speed manageable for the road and conditions at hand. We recommend setting your cruise control when traveling at speeds of 20 mph and above. Further, if your vehicle has adaptive cruise control, then set it to maintain at least three car distances between you and the vehicle in front.

Have a Reaction Plan

You cannot anticipate every scenario, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Being situationally aware goes beyond you sitting behind the wheel of your car to considering the various moves of other drivers and people as you navigate your way down the road. For instance, it can be as simple as considering that child in her front yard playing with a ball. Imagine the ball thrown into the street with the child in hot pursuit. Slow down and you will react faster. Apply this thinking to other scenarios and you’ll be a safer driver.

Manage Distractions

You may not be able to eliminate all distractions, but you can manage them. For example, do not use your cell phone while driving. If you receive a call while driving, use Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, or Android Auto to manage it through the infotainment system. Better yet, if you must take that call, pull off the road to a safe place. You’ll avoid cognitive distraction when you can give your full attention to the call.

Safer Driving Takeaways

Whether taking a safer driver course to eliminate points or to simply improve your skills, you’ll be better equipped for the road ahead. Finally, ensure that your vehicle is ready for the road, by keeping tires properly inflated and rotating them according to the manufacturer’s guidelines as outlined in the owner’s manual.

Photo Attribution

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Image by James Darlong from Pixabay.

See Also4 Safe Driving Tips For Teens, Parents

Jenny Sampson

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