The 50right Ultimate Safe Driving Guide Article from 50right.com I have driven well over a million miles in my lifetime and have never had a car accident that was my fault. I have never had a speeding ticket. I think those two facts of very successful car driving makes me qualified, perhaps uniquely qualified, to write advice for the ultimate safe driving guide. In 2015, there were over 38,000 traffic fatalities and over 4 million seriously injured by traffic accidents in the United States. I would like to see that dramatically reduced. I believe that everyone, especially new drivers such as teenagers, can learn and benefit enormously from the following information. This guide is not intended to be a classroom driving lesson 101 course. You can study that anywhere. It is presumed here that you already know the basics such as traffic signs, car maintenance, etc. Driving lessons are needed and it is important to understand all that basic information. However, this guide is intended for what may not be fully emphasized in driving class. Our guide information is important the first time you sit behind the steering wheel and put your foot on the gas pedal. Experienced driver adults can also learn from this guide to break bad habits and begin good habits. This guide contains all vital points, any one of which can save your life or the life of someone you care about. Please note: Check back now and then as new points and ideas could be added. 1. Keep your eyes on the road at all times This is so fundamentally important. But this basic principle of driving gets abused by even experienced drivers who sometimes get lackadaisical while driving because they have been driving for many years. That lack of concentration just for a second or two could get you injured or killed. You must get into a safe driving mind frame each and every time that you get into your car. The car while driving is not for entertainment, it is not for texting or other bad habits. While driving it should not be for anything else other than to transport you, the passengers, and any items, safely from one destination to the next destination. That should be the sole purpose for you while driving the car. Anything else, any other thought process while driving, and you're placing your body and life at extreme risk. 2. Drive defensively Yes, that means do not drive offensively. Never assume what the other driver is going to do. Presume that the other driver will possibly make the wrong choice, and then you drive accordingly. For example, when wanting to pull out, on to a two lane road and the other driver is coming in the left lane. Don't assume that the driver will stay in the left lane, then you thinking it's okay for you to pull out into the right lane. Presume that driver might suddenly pull into the right lane. Therefore, you must allow traffic to totally clear in both lanes, before pulling out into the right lane. When at a yield and there is a car in front of you, everyone has a tendency to look left first to see what traffic is coming. If you look left and see that traffic is perfectly clear, not a car in sight or whatever, never assume that the car in front of you has gone ahead. Presume that the car in front of you has not gone yet because sometimes they stay there for whatever inexplicable reason. This will avoid you hitting their rear end. Nasty whiplash injuries can occur to you with this type of accident, because you are moving your neck from left to right when impacting their car, placing your neck muscles in a vulnerable position even with a low impact rear end collision such as this. 3. Intersection safety at 2:00 am Having enjoyed being out late on weekend nights on a regular basis as a teenager, I began to notice some horrific accidents happening at intersections while coming home very late at night. So I came to a conclusion, that when I come home late at night, where feasible, that even though I had a green light, that I would use my peripheral vision and look left and right before proceeding at a slower speed thru a green light at intersections. It was I guess around 20 years later, and I just got in the good habit of doing this without giving it much thought. So it must have been around 2:00 am, almost no traffic on the road, I was coming home on a two lane highway, 45 mph speed limit coming up to a green light that I was very familiar with, about 2 miles from my home. So I'm perhaps 50 yards from the light, I do my thing of slowing down to around 40 mph or less while coming up to the light on this 45 mph road, I look left and right, and I see on the right side on the other road perpendicular to me, this car barreling like a rocket for this type of road, had to be going near 100 miles per hour, heading towards the intersection with no intentions of stopping. Which no doubt in my mind would have resulted in a horrific accident with me likely being crunched. I quickly looked in my rear view mirror, there were no cars in back of me or even to the side of me. I literally stopped my car at the green light. While this utterly careless driver drove right thru the red light they had. I sat there and watched this rocket go by, as if they had a green light and I was stopped at a red light. Nothing like this has happened to me since then. However to this day, I will always abide by this life saving technique, just in case there happens to be another crazy fool on the road, with no intention of stopping at a red light, heading straight towards me. 4. Never speed Never go over the posted speed limit. There is never any reason to speed. You might say what about if my wife is pregnant and expecting, and needs to be rushed to the hospital? Well, what if your speeding gets you and your wife in an accident? Then you have a pregnant wife who is stuck at a car accident scene. Hopefully an arriving police officer can deliver the baby or an ambulance can arrive to assist. Hopefully nobody, including the baby, gets injured in the car accident. Don't buy into the nonsense about making good time on a long journey or even a short journey. Leave early if time is of the essence for getting there. Don't try to make up that time by speeding. You create a greater risk of an accident. Your car uses more gas per mile, costing you money at the gas pump. There is more wear and tear on your car, costing you money in maintenance and repairs. You could get a speeding ticket, costing you money for the fine, and the possibility of losing your driver's license. 5. Don't drink and drive, and don't do drugs and drive You already know this and if you violate this common sense principle, you may get away with it for awhile, possibly even for years. However you would always be increasing the odds of tragic circumstances. Sooner or later those odds do tend to catch up with you, and can strike in a very bad way. Also, don't drive when sleepy. If you feel the need to turn the radio volume up high or roll the windows down to blow cold air on yourself, or other means to try to keep yourself awake, then that is a problem. The "problem" is best relieved by pulling over to a safe spot on the side of the road or in a parking lot, turn off the engine and grab a cat nap. Usually after around a half hour, you wake up, maybe a little groggy, sit there for about 5 minutes or get out of the car and walk around in order to refresh yourself. Then you will be in a much better situation to get to your destination safely. So what, if it's a half hour or so later, it's well worth it to avoid a greater possibility of getting in a bad accident. 6. Animals on the road This may sound harsh, but unless you are 100% sure of your surroundings, if there is any chance whatsoever that you could get hurt, and a squirrel or other small animal runs in front of your car, do not swerve, do not stop, just sadly run over the animal. Saving its life is not worth risking your life. Even a deer, if you are not 100% sure of other cars around you, just hit the thing rather than endangering your life. With a deer you will probably incur some front end damage to your car, but that is infinitely better than other harmful or deadly possibilities to yourself. Don't worry too much about this as far as the animals. There are plenty of other squirrels, deer, etc, out there. Their species isn't going extinct because you couldn't avoid running over one of them. 7. Never tailgate To this day, I cannot understand the mentality of those who tailgate. It truly is foolish beyond belief. Always keep a safe, comfortable distance between you and the car in front of you. Inclement weather conditions makes this all the more important to increase your distance between yourself and the other cars. Remember, you now know not to hit the brakes for animals, but the driver in front of you may not know that. Presume that driver is capable of hitting the brakes at any time, and keep your safe distance in back so as to avoid a nasty collision. Also if this situation happens, there could be cars behind you so try to time it so that you don't hit your brakes too hard, and then a car hits you from behind. You should already be traveling a safe distance behind the car in front of you, so if they slam on their brakes, you don't need to slam on yours, just pump the brakes accordingly to slow down and not hit that car's rear end, whereby the car in back of you will hopefully see your brake lights and you slowing down so they can slow down accordingly and avoid hitting you. 8. Road rage Never start it and never respond to it. Road rage is futile and useless except for the possibility that it could lead to more trouble. Nobody needs more trouble in their lives. If the other driver gives you the finger, ignore it, and remember the task at hand which is getting to your destination safely. If you engage in road rage in any way, shape or form, even ever so briefly, you are taking your eye off the road, and you are not focused on driving, and that could cause an accident. 9. Never feel pressured to hasten a decision Just because someone is in back of you honking their horn, do not let that affect your decision. You do what you need to do, for example to safely pull out into an intersection. Never mind how much they honk, or the faces you see them making in the rear view mirror. Don't even look in the rear view mirror. Focus on the task at hand, not on those dummies who think honking their horn at you is going to get them someplace quicker. If you hasten your decision and the result is a traffic accident, they are going to drive by you thinking what a dummy you were for pulling out on to that road too soon. Not feeling pressured to hasten a decision also includes not listening to those in the car with you if they want you to speed things up. You need to drive in a safe manner in which you are comfortable. Your life and their lives depend on it. 10. Don't be a waver A number of accidents happen close to home. If you hear a horn beep and you think it could be someone in another car waving to say hi to you. Ignore it, and keep your eyes on the road. That split second of waving or taking your eye off the road could mean disaster for you. Perhaps a child runs in front of your car and you don't react appropriately because you were busy instead waving to your neighbor. After you get home safely, and park the car, you can get out of the car and wave all you want. Same goes for rubber-necking. There is nothing there to look at which is worth taking your eye off the road and increasing the possibility of getting in a bad accident. 11. Never get out of your car on the street with the engine running If you must stop on the side of the street and get out of the car for a good reason, then turn off the engine. This includes those living in urban areas who must park their car on the street. Even in your own driveway, if you are in the car with the engine running and you forgot to get something in the house, turn off the engine, get out of the car, go into the house, and then come back out and restart the engine. 12. On a four lane divided highway, always drive in the right lane Of course when you need to make a left turn, you must proceed at a safe distance to get in the left lane to make the turn. But other than that or circumstances such as plowed snow or massive water puddles in the right lane, under normal conditions you should always drive in the right lane. They call the left lane on highways the “fast lane.” Fast to what? So a driver can get to their destination a little bit quicker? It's not even close to being worth it. Let the truck drivers and also those destined to get speeding tickets use the left lane. For the best safety, always drive in the right lane. Once while driving on a highway which is a four lane highway divided with a median strip, I experienced a tire blowout which had never happened to me before. It was a very busy traffic day around 6:00 pm driving home from work. Fortunately, I was in the right lane. So I kept calm, and over the course of around thirty seconds, I gradually steered the car off to the right side of the road. No additional problem at all. I changed the blown-out tire with the doughnut spare tire, and then went on my way home. I shudder to think what may have happened if I was in the left lane at the time of that blowout. Then under heavy traffic conditions, attempting to steer the car over to the right lane where there was heavy oncoming traffic, to finally get to the right side of the road. There was basically little room next to the median strip to pull a car over to the left side of the road. So steering the car off to the left side of the road was not an option. And during that time of the day on this highway, it can be difficult enough to change from the left lane to the right lane with four good tires, let alone just having three tires. Thankfully it all ended well. When driving in the right lane and encountering other types of negative situations, it is so much safer to know that you can simply steer the car off to the right and be safe. Rather than be caught in the left lane and then if you can't fully control the car, especially on a divided highway without a median strip, you don't have to worry about your car possibly veering to the left and getting into a head-on collision with oncoming traffic from the opposite direction. Don't forget, a car coming from the opposite direction could encounter a problem and then veer into your driving direction. The extra reaction time to this alarming situation accorded to you by being in the right lane versus the left lane, could very well save your life. 13. Never make a traffic maneuver unless you have totally clear vision of your surroundings. See the below news story about the two college baseball players.