10 safe driving tips
May 2, 2012, 8:30 a.m.
No matter what your age, you can never be too young or too old to brush up on a few helpful driving tips that'll serve to keep you -- and your auto insurance agent -- far from the headaches associated with filing an accident claim.
- Plan all of your behind-the-wheel activity to take place during daylight hours. Let's face it, even senior drivers with 20/20 vision will admit that you can see an awful lot more during the day than you can at night. And simply because you have trouble seeing everything after dusk doesn't mean you have to surrender your driver's license, especially if you're golden during daylight hours.
- Stay away from heavy traffic areas and consider alternate routes to get you where you need to go. There's nothing wrong with not wanting to deal with traffic, and the fact is that the longer you do expose yourself to it, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident.
- Get your car serviced regularly. What does this have to do with safe driving tips? Everything, actually. If you're driving on bald or worn out tires, you're going to have trouble stopping in time to avoid an accident. You also leave yourself susceptible to being stranded by the side of the road. Checking brake fluid and steering wheel fluid levels on a regular basis is also critical to ensuring your safety, as well as that of those on the road around you.
- Never get out on the road without your seatbelt fastened. Take it a step further and insist that all of your passengers follow the same rule: No seatbelt, no ride. It's not only the law to wear your seatbelt, but it's also a lifesaver that can prevent you and your passengers from experiencing serious injury, even in minor fender benders.
- Keep a safe following distance between yourself and the cars in front of you. Even if you've still got the reflexes of a cat, following too close behind someone is like asking for trouble you don't want.
- Drive with your headlights on, regardless of what time of day it is. This is one of those driving tips that more people lately are choosing to follow because it makes your car more visible to others on the road. Nothing quite says "Here I come!" than a pair of headlights on a bright and sunny afternoon.
- Keep your windshield clean and your wipers in operational order so that you have no visual obstacles to contend with when you're driving.
- Don't talk on your cell phone when you drive. Distracted driving accounts for far more accidents than you can imagine.
- If you take prescription medications, read the labels or talk to your doctor about how they might impair your ability to drive safely.
- Get health checkups regularly and talk to your doctor if you think you're having difficulties driving. They may be able to perform some simple tests than can either allay your concerns about your abilities behind the wheel, or they might suggest you hang up your keys.
If you're still thinking you could use some additional help to sharpen your skills, consider taking a refresher course on defensive driving. Talk to your car insurance agent about it, as many insurance providers offer discounts to senior drivers for taking these kinds of refresher courses.
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