Driving may be a gamble, but you can always manipulate the odds.
Road hazards lead to thousands of accidents every year. Yet drivers play their part in these accidents, too. With some simple changes to your habits, you could avoid becoming a statistic.
Here are five defensive driving tips for navigating bad roads and road hazards.
When driving on dangerous roads, assume nothing.
Don’t assume the road conditions match your expectations. Don’t assume other drivers can be trusted. Don’t assume your vehicle won’t let you down, particularly if the roads are bad due to weather conditions.
Instead, assess the situation constantly. Look for what is there, not what you think or hope is there.
Maintain a Sensible Speed
There’s no way around it: speed remains one of the primary factors in accidents.
We aren’t only talking about exceeding the speed limit, either. On dangerous roads, the legal speed limit and a safe driving speed aren’t the same thing. You should stick to a speed that allows you ample time to respond to hazards.
Your speed has an incredible effect on your ability to react to dangers—most prominently in the form of your increased braking and stopping distance.
Take Signs Seriously
One common thread among risk-taking drivers is that they don’t treat road signs with due weight. Instead, they assume that signs are more polite suggestions instead of important advisories.
So don’t be that driver, especially on dangerous roads. Signs can give you essential information to prepare you for the road ahead.
Watch out for programmable signs particularly, as these will convey situation-specific information, like weather warnings or road condition updates. They may also warn you of accidents on the road ahead.
In hazardous conditions, signaling can be the difference between a safe journey and disaster.
Allow plenty of time for signaling before you change lanes or make a turn, whether you’re in a car or on your motorcycle. This achieves two things: it makes it more likely that people will spot your signal in the first place, and it will allow them time to react.
There’s nothing worse than having to brake for a sudden lane-changer in icy conditions, so don’t be that driver.
Consider Not Driving at All
No, it’s not always an option. Yet the safest response to dangerous road conditions is to not drive in them.
After all, the only ironclad way to ensure you don’t get into an accident on a dangerous road is to avoid it altogether. It’s often better to wait out adverse weather than to risk the quality of the roads (and other drivers). In many cases, that delay of a few days is preferable to the possibility of injury, death, or a car wreck.
If you do have to travel, you could also consider traveling by safer modes of transport, such as by train.
Avoid Road Hazards with Safe Driving Tips
These five tips will help you avoid road hazards when driving, and they’re easy to implement, too. Consider adopting these habits the next time you face dangerous conditions to ensure a safer journey.
Are you looking for more driving tips? Make sure to check our Automobile section often.