Everyone knows to use their blinker, check their side view mirrors and obey the speed limit when they’re still sitting in a car seat.
Everyone knows these pillars of safe driving reduce the amount of accidents and their associated damages.
But not everyone knows the finer, almost esoteric, ways to be a true champion of driving.
So, buckle up and use these tips the next time you start your car.
Using windshield wipers when it’s raining is a given. Wearing shades while using your windshield wipers isn’t.
Believe it or not, putting on a pair of sunglasses with polarized lenses helps you see better during a downpour – or when it’s snowing or foggy for that matter.
Polarized sunglasses counteract the effects of scattered or reflected light experienced from the prism of moisture in the air. Put simply: They help focus light.
Speaking of light…
If you’re the proud owner of a semi-modern car that’s equipped with Daytime Running Lights (DRL), then you’re more or less covered – although it should be noted that by turning on your headlights, you’re also turning on your taillights, which reduces the likelihood of being rear-ended.
But for those with a more “old-fashioned” car, make turning on your headlights as much a part of your driving routine as putting your car into drive.
Countries with 24-hour headlight rules like Canada, Norway, and Sweden, have shown a 5 to 10% decrease in the number of collisions by enacting this bit of driving safety into law.
Of all the things that can happen when you’re driving, experiencing a tire blowout is easily one that induces the most panic.
Your first instinct, fueled by adrenaline, is going to scream: “STOP!”
Instead of pumping the brakes, pump the gas.
With a blown tire, you’re working with 25% less momentum as you were milliseconds before. To maintain your pace, you need to accelerate, which is a little more difficult to do when your foot is pressing the wrong pedal.
Bonus tip: You can avoid the likelihood of getting a blowout by ensuring your tires are properly inflated – and get better traction, too.
Fun fact: When your car hydroplanes, there’s so much water built up in your tires, they lose contact with the road or ground, giving a sense of momentary flight. Hence the name.
Not so fun fact: 1.5 million car crashes happen every year when there’s water on the road – more than ice or snow.
While the safest thing any driver can do is to stay off the road when driving conditions aren’t ideal, that’s simply not a reality.
So, if you need to drive in the middle of a downpour and find your car hydroplaning, here’s the first thing you need to do: Nothing at all for as long as your tires aren’t touching the ground.
While this split-second of inactivity might feel like the longest of your life, wait for the skid to stop. And while your heart is racing, do the opposite with your foot on the gas pedal: Ease it off.
But what about your eyes and hands? What should they be doing?
The same thing as they should do with a skid in rain, ice or snow: Coordinate their movement. Keep looking at where you want your car to go and steer towards that point gently.
This is true regardless of whether it’s the front, back or all wheels doing the skidding.
“10 and 2.”
Those are the numbers that have been drilled into every driver’s head informing where hands belong on a steering wheel.
But things have changed.
Thanks to airbags, the recommendation has been updated to “9 and 3.”
The reasons are twofold: It makes hand-over-hand steering maneuvers easier and reduces the likelihood of wrist and arm fractures stemming from these body parts hitting the A-pillars (the part of your car that holds the windshield in place) and rearview mirrors when airbags are deployed.
You’re a relatively good driver. Or, at least you’re trying to be.
How do we know? You’re reading this blog.
But here’s the thing: not everyone places quite the priority on safety as you do. A lot of drivers are impatient. Impulsive.
Need more proof?
Consider that 165,000 accidents happen every year when people run red lights. Another 700,000 occur from people who blow through stop signs. That’s nearly a million accidents every year – or 2,369 every day.
That’s a lot of (frightening) statistics. So, what should you do in light of them?
If you’re the first car at a red light, look both ways before crossing the intersection when the light turns green.
If you’re at a stop sign, scan both ways before resuming your drive, just to be safe.
Will you annoy the driver that’s behind you every now and then? Yes.
Will you get honked at more than before? Indeed.
But there will come a time when your safety-first approach will avoid an accident for you – and the driver behind you.
There you have it: Some not-so-commonly used ways to make you statistically less likely to get into an accident.
And safety pays, literally, in the form of reduced premiums.
Madison Mutual offers other simple ways for you to save on your auto insurance.
Find an agent nearest you to discuss all our affordable coverage options.
And most importantly, stay safe out there on the road.