5 ways to increase driving safety With the busy lifestyles so many of us lead, proper safety precautions while driving are often foregone. Multi-tasking, aggressive driving, equipment neglect and other factors all contribute to decreased safety and increased likelihood of motor vehicle accidents. This article will examine some of the ways in which drivers can increase safety and avoid accidents while travelling the roads of the world. 1) Stop multitasking! – When driving your vehicle, the only thing you should be focused on is the operation of that vehicle and the world around you. Talking on the phone, texting, eating, dealing with your children and all other distractions are major contributors to road accidents. Any distraction that takes your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, is a distraction you cannot afford. If you are in your vehicle and you have an absolute need to do anything other than drive, pull over to the side of the road or into a designated rest area and perform that task in the safety of a still automobile. No phone call, meal or other distraction is worth the risk of injury or possible death. 2) Maintain your vehicle – The mere act of properly inflating your tires you can reduce your risk of losing control of your vehicle or suffering a blowout by a significant margin. Rotating your tires annually and monitoring the health of your tire stems can also decrease your chance of suffering a flat tire. Regularly replacing wiper blades will ensure you always have a clear view out of your windshield in an unexpected rain or snow shower. Maintaining your battery and alternator health is also a crucial element in a vehicle safety strategy. Ending up on the side of the road due to a car that has stalled or will not start is very unsafe, especially at night or in severe weather. Many accidents occur when a vehicle has been pulled to the side of the road due to equipment failure, and an oncoming driver unwittingly collides with that car. Simple maintenance can pay heavy dividends when it comes to vehicle safety. 3) Calm down – While ‘Road Rage’ is a term we are all familiar with, simple road aggression is something almost all drivers go through at one time or another. We should all do our part to maintain civility on the roads. This includes letting other drivers go ahead of us at intersections, yielding to traffic when appropriate and not becoming possessive about the lanes we are travelling in. Even a simple beep of the horn can lead to an accident if it distracts one or more vehicle operators. Vehicle horns are, by law in some states, only to be used for warning drivers of an impending impact. Beeping at a fellow driver for cutting you off or performing some other action you do not agree with is risking not only your safety, but may also risk you getting pulled over by the police and issued a substantial ticket. If you become frustrated on the road, try to take a deep breath and not let it bother you too much. Don’t put yourself and your passengers at risk because of the actions of a careless driver. 4) Use your turn signals – We have all seen drivers on the road make abrupt lane changes without the use of their turn signals, or blinkers. Using your blinkers when turning or making a lane change is incredibly important to vehicle safety, especially when travelling at high rates of speed. By using blinkers you are giving the other drivers on the road the opportunity to make timely adjustments to their speed and path. Many accidents are caused everyday due to drivers making unexpected and sudden turns are crashed into by unsuspecting motorists who had no chance to avoid them. Using blinkers when making turns is also a valuable safety practice in city driving. By indicating before you turn you will be giving motorists the chance to go around you and keep traffic moving at a steady rate. You will also be decreasing the chances of a rear-end collision because motorists behind you will know you are making a turn rather than continuing forward. Beyond the obvious safety advantages, and despite the lack of usage practiced by many motorists, using turn signals when changing lanes on the highway is required by law in every state. It is evident that if you fail to signal your turns, you will be paying in one way or another. 5) Slow down – The most obvious vehicle safety tip is also the easiest one to adhere to. Every mile you take off of your travel speed decreases your chances of an accident. Travelling at a high rate of speed greatly reduces the amount of time you have to react to the actions of other drivers, and to avoid any animals that may wander into the road in front of you. Accidents that occur at a higher rate of speed are much more devastating than their low speed counterparts and result in a much higher fatality rate. Vehicle equipment such as radiators and tires are also much more likely to fail at high speeds due to the stress the speed places on them. Finally, as with turn signals, there are strict laws governing driving speed. Exceeding these limits can earn you significant fines and the state of mind these fines place you in may contribute to further unsafe driving. These 5 steps form the basis of any comprehensive vehicle safety approach. Always remember that nothing is more important than your life and the lives of those around you. Respect yourself, your fellow drivers and the laws of the road by adhering to these safety recommendations. This article was written by Jefferson Spooner on behalf of Ken Jones Tires. He recommends you visit Ken Jones Tires for all of your lawn tires, mower tires, tire chains, tire tubes, tractor tires and trailer tires.