Top 5 driving mistakes to avoid in the New Year

It’s almost time to ring in the New Year.  This is a great time to think about ditching the old bad habits and bringing in some great new ones.

Here’s hoping that drivers everywhere will think about avoiding these 5 driving mistakes this year so we can all enjoy a smoother drive in 2011. Sometimes it’s the little changes that will make our lives a whole lot easier.  This is a list of mistakes I promise you can actually avoid with just a little effort.

1. Communicate Well & Signal.  As much as we sometimes wish that people could read our minds, they can’t.  Signalling too late or not signalling at all is the #1 bad habit I wish every driver would ditch. Turning on your signal gives the drivers all around your vehicle the heads up about what you are planning to do.  This small communication will make a big difference in keeping you and your passengers safe this year. Embrace it.  Signalling is a good thing!

2. Don’t follow too closely.  It is important to leave space.  Want to know what the safest following distance is?  This video says it all:

3.  Don’t take the right- of- way if it isn’t yours.  At an intersection with stop signs at all corners, the right-of-way goes to the first vehicle to come to a complete stop.    This means full stops at the stop sign and respecting who really has the right-of- way.  If you get there the same time as another vehicle, the vehicle on the left should yield to the vehicle on the right.  No more “I’m in a hurry so I’ll just go before the car that’s already there. They won’t mind.”  Guess what?  They probably do mind.  This leads me to my next mistake to avoid.

4. It’s a new year.  Relax and don’t be in such a hurry. I know we all have very busy lives but trying to will rush hour traffic to go faster when you’re stuck there doesn’t work.  Save yourself the grief and frustration.  Plan your route and give yourself enough time before heading out on the road.

5. Ditch the distractions. This year make a resolution to REALLY ditch this bad habit for good.  Put the cell phones away.  The makeup can actually wait until you have stopped and avoid looking down to change the music.  The consequences of taking your eyes off the road are not worth it no matter how you slice it.

Think of this 2011 as an open road.  You choose the direction you want to go.  Hope you have a happy and safe  year ahead of you.

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