If you spend a lot of time on the road, such as driving back and forth to work with a long commute, you might have gotten really comfortable in your vehicle. Although there is certainly nothing wrong with being a comfortable and confident driver, sometimes feeling too comfortable can cause you to relax a little too much, and it is important to never get too relaxed when you are behind the wheel of a vehicle; you never know when something could happen, and an accident could be disastrous in certain situations, such as if you are driving too fast or if you are driving in snow, ice or other bad weather.
Since spending more time on the road automatically puts you more at risk of getting in an accident, you have to be careful so that you can stay safe. This is especially important if you drive in bad weather on a regular basis. Therefore, you should consider following these tips so that you can know how to drive safely during bad weather and long work commutes.
Keep Your Car in Good Condition
Keeping your car in good condition is an essential for safe driving and long commutes. Taking the time to perform a bit of maintenance on your vehicle can make all the difference in the world in how safe your vehicle is to drive, and it can help you prevent yourself from getting in an accident. It is also a good way to maintain your car’s value, so make sure to follow these tips for a safe ride and a car that you can be proud of.
- Check your tires. Making sure that you have good tires with good tread on them is an essential, and you also have to make sure that they are properly inflated at all times. If you drive in the snow a lot, it is a good idea to invest in snow tires every winter season to help keep good traction on the road.
- Make sure that all of your lights are in good working order at all times. Along with making sure that your headlights and tail lights are working properly, you should also check your signal lights and running lights periodically for best results. You never know when one of your bulbs might go out, and you might not even notice it until it is too late. Taking the time to check your lights on a regular basis is well worth the effort because it can help you maintain safety, and it only takes a few minutes.
- Although you might not think that keeping your car clean is important to your safety, it is. A dirty windshield can make visibility difficult or impossible, especially if it is raining or snowing or if the sun is shining directly in your face. Keeping window wipes in your car is a good idea so that you can quickly wipe down your windshield as needed, or you can clean it when you pump gas with one of the squeegies that are typically offered as a convenience for customers at gas stations. Keeping your headlights and tail lights clean can also make them more visible to other drivers, and a car that is too dirty might blend in during bad conditions, so at least taking the time to rinse off your vehicle once a week is recommended. It is also very important to clean off any snow or ice before driving your vehicle so that it will be easier for you to see and easier for other drivers to spot you on the road.
- Along with keeping a clean windshield, make sure to invest in a good pair of windshield wipers. They are pretty affordable and quick and easy to install, and they can make a major difference in your visibility when it’s raining. Using a water repellent product is another good way to help keep your windshield relatively dry and clear during rainy conditions.
- Make sure that you get your brakes checked and changed frequently. The difference between a good and bad set of brakes can also equal the difference between being able to stop in time to avoid an accident and not, so you should take changing your brakes very seriously. Fortunately, brake pads are very affordable and don’t cost much to change, and other parts for your braking system are also typically cheaper than a lot of people think.
- Don’t ignore any problems with your vehicle. If you are having a difficult time steering your vehicle or if you experience other issues, make sure to schedule an appointment with your mechanic as soon as possible. Even seemingly small issues can make your vehicle far more dangerous to drive.
Check the Weather
Before heading out for your commute every morning, you should consider assessing the weather conditions so that you know how to handle things on your commute. If there is going to be bad weather, you should consider leaving your house a little bit earlier so that you can take your time driving. You should also know ahead of time whether or not you will need to defrost your car and clean off any snow or ice so that you can make time to do it before rushing off to work.
Use a GPS System
Using a GPS system can be beneficial in many ways. Not only can it make you more aware of the route that you need to take so that you can pay attention to the road, but some systems can even alert you to bad driving conditions ahead of you. Knowing where you are going and what you are getting yourself into can help you stay safe on the road, and you can also use your GPS system to help you get back to where you need to be in the event that you get lost. However, make sure to never fiddle with your GPS system’s features while you are driving because it can be distracting.
Stay Off of Your Cell Phone
Although you might be tempted to use your commute as a time to catch up with a friend or family member, you should avoid using your cell phone when you are driving. Countless accidents have been caused by people who weren’t paying attention when they were driving due to the fact that they were talking on their cell phones, and you don’t want to become one of these statistics. You can also get a ticket in many states for talking on the phone while driving, and many of the fines that are associated with these tickets are considerably hefty.
If you must talk on your cellular phone while your vehicle is in motion, make sure to use a hands-free device that will allow you to keep both hands on the steering wheel. Even with one of these devices, however, it is best to avoid talking on the phone at all when you are driving. If you absolutely must make a phone call, take the time to pull over; it can save your life.
Along with avoiding talking on your cell phone while driving, it is just as important to avoid sending text messages. In fact, texting while driving might be even more dangerous than talking while driving because it requires you to take your eyes off the road. There are also laws against texting and driving in many states, so along with staying safer by not doing so, you can also avoid a hefty fine.
Keep Your Hands on the Wheel
Along with staying off of your cell phone while you are driving, it is important to avoid doing other tasks that require you to take your hands off of the steering wheel and your eyes off of the road. This means that you shouldn’t use your commute as the time to finish getting ready and putting your makeup on, and you should also avoid eating while driving as well. Waking up a few minutes earlier in order to get these things done in the safety of your home can help prevent a serious accident, and you will also feel less rushed during your commute if you do so.
Although you might not be feeling your most alert early in the morning on your way to work, it is important for you to stay as alert as possible. It sometimes only takes a second for things to get out of control and for an accident to be causes, so your eyes and full attention should be on the road at all times when you are driving.
Watch Out for Other Drivers
Just because you take the time to learn about driving safety rules and to put them into practice doesn’t mean that every driver does, so you have to practice defensive driving and keep an eye on what other drivers on the road are doing at all times. Watching out for others who aren’t paying attention, who are switching lanes too quickly or who come to an abrupt halt in the middle of the road can help you react quickly and safely, which can help prevent you and other drivers from getting in an accident.
Take Your Time
One of the leading causes of accidents is speeding, so it is important to always watch your speed while you are driving. Although you might feel completely comfortable driving your car at faster speeds, it will be much more difficult for you to stop quickly and control your vehicle in the event that something happens. Therefore, it is best to leave the house in time to get to work each morning without speeding so that you can take your time while driving. Even if you are running late, it is better to call your job and let them know that you are running a few minutes behind than it is to drive too fast and potentially get in an accident. Taking your time can also save you money because it can help you avoid getting a speeding ticket.
Be Prepared for Anything
Following these tips and being as careful as possible can help you minimize the chance of getting in an accident, but there is always a chance that an accident or other problem could occur. Therefore, you should make sure that you are ready for anything.
- Keep a spare tire in your trunk at all times, along with all of the tools that you need to change your tire. It is a better idea to have a full-size tire to use instead of a “doughnut,” but one of these smaller spare tires will work in a pinch.
- Keep an emergency kit on hand while you are commuting or driving in bad weather. This kit should include battery jumper cables, a flashlight with an extra set of batteries, flares and other items that you can use if you are in trouble.
- Always carry your cell phone with you when you are on the road, and make sure that it has a full charge. Although it is imporant not to use your telephone while you are driving, it is a good thing to have on hand in case of an emergency. If you don’t get a good cell phone reception in some of the areas where you travel, consider switching cell phone providers or picking up an additional, inexpensive prepaid phone for emergencies.
- When traveling late at night or in deserted areas, consider bringing along a few snacks, such as granola bars, and bottles of water in case you get stranded. It’s also a good idea to keep a couple of warm blankets in the car, especially during the cold winter months.
By learning how to drive safely during bad weather and long work commutes, you can help cut down on the chance of getting in an accident, and you can feel much safer while you are on the road.