Good driving habits, bad driving habits; in the best-case scenario, we want to preserve one and forget the other. But many of us do not know which driving habits are good and which ones are bad. Because of this, we have decided to produce this guide.
We will go through twenty different driving habits on either end of the spectrum. Ten of them will be acceptable while the rest of them will be wrong.
The Top 10 Bad Driving Habits
- Hard braking
- Overloading your vehicle
- Accelerating at yellow lights
- Shifting from drive to reverse without stopping
- Speeding through potholes
- Ignoring your check engine light
- Using your cell phone while driving
- Cutting people off
- Not checking blind spots
All of these driving habits will either increase wear on your car or annoy other people. We also
Hard braking causes your car to have to lurch to a stop suddenly. It is especially troubling when rolling downhill.
When coming to a stop, you need to be able to press your brakes gently. By doing this, you will provide your brakes with a bit more longevity.
If you choose to continue with hard braking, your brakes will eventually go out. This habit will cause you to collide with the people in front of you potentially.
This video has some additional tips for hard braking:
Overloading Your Vehicle
While this is less likely to happen, overloading your vehicle is still something you can potentially do. Pay attention to any weight limit of your car, even if you have an incredibly large truck.
Continuing to overload your vehicle despite warnings will result in a strained suspension. You may have to replace it, which is very expensive.
Accelerating At Yellow Lights
If you have this habit, you are more likely to cause collisions. Squeaking through at the last minute may feel pretty good at the time, but the car to your right may feel the same need.
If both of you are impatient, you can cause T-boned collisions, which will stop the flow of traffic completely. If you see a yellow light, prepare to hit the brakes gently.
Going From Drive To Reverse Without Stopping
While having to stop before going from forward to reverse can seem tedious for some, it is a necessary step. Deciding to flip from D to R without stopping in-between is rough on your transmission.
While automatic transmissions are very efficient, none of them are fast enough to switch direction like that suddenly. The same can be said if you force gears in a manual transmission. Expect an expensive repair.
Speeding Through Potholes
If you see a pothole in the road, you are best served by altogether avoiding it. If you think it won’t be a big deal on your car, that lurch that you feel your suspension have to take on will eventually come back to haunt you.
If the pothole is deep enough, you may end up getting stuck. It will cause potential damage to your tires and suspension. You may also end up having to use your insurance to get out, which will potentially increase your rates.
Ignoring Your Check Engine Light
One of the worst things you can do to your car is to ignore the check engine light. The check engine light can be anything from a destroyed catalytic converter to a bad spark plug.
While the degrees of issues may be heavily different, it is best to take care of any unknown factors quickly. Failure to follow through with this could result in repairs that vary from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand.
You can apply that logic to anything strange going on with your car. If you hear unusual noise or it feels more rough than usual, it is better to be safe.
Using Your Cell Phone While Driving
In 2018, cell phone usage while driving resulted in almost 3 thousand deaths. To avoid becoming a statistic, do not use your cell phone while driving your car.
Many people think that this is just limited to texting and driving. However, it would be best if you also avoided it in any given circumstances. This limitation includes hands-free communication, which is often a safe alternative according to some people’s opinions.
While it is better than handling your phone, it is still a significant distraction.
Cutting People Off
Among bad driving habits, cutting people off is probably one of the worst. For others, it is a willful disregard of safety being exchange for speed. Many people hope that they can get the edge while driving; most people end up dead.
It is better to be late than to force your schedule on another person. If you end up missing your turn because it is unsafe, you are doing the right thing. If you are late for work, a good boss will always prefer you late over dead.
Tailgating is what happens with the guy behind you is a bit too close for comfort. It mainly concerns when you are on the highway, where demands on your reaction time increase dramatically.
Those who tailgate often demand that the person in front of them pick up speed, even when unsafe. At this point, I would not blame you for passive-aggressive driving. Maintain a safe speed limit regardless of who is right behind you.
Not Checking Blind Spots
Blind spots are areas in the car that your mirror is unable to reach. You more commonly run into these in larger vehicles.
If you have a larger vehicle, turn your head around towards potential blind spots to see if you can find a car there. Be sure to signal well before you plan on merging into another lane to notify others.
While some may take this as a challenge to not be behind your vehicle, most sensible people will allow you to merge. On the opposite end of this spectrum, be aware that larger vehicles have blind spots. Do not linger in them for any period.
10 Good Driving Habits You Need To Stay Safe
- Appreciate your check engine light and tire pressure light
- Check your mirrors always
- Practice defensive driving
- Use your turn signals
- Change your route
- Realize when you are too tired
- Drive sober
- Remove any loose trash from your car
- Drive at a consistent speed
- Go easy on your brakes
If you are looking for some driving tips before you start driving, check out the vehicle below:
Look At Your Dash Lights – Check Engine And Tire Pressure
The first thing you should notice as you start your car is the lights on your dash. Check to see that they are all functioning and wait to see if your tire pressure or check engine light turns on.
If they do, you must find out what’s going on with your vehicle. Allowing the unknown to persist can be pretty irresponsible. Once you find out, you will thank yourself.
If your tire pressure gauge is going off, it may be due to extreme temperatures. You may wait a day for the temp to normalize, but you still want to top off the air in your tires.
Always Check Your Mirrors (And Blind Spots)
Anytime you drive, you have a duty to your fellow road goers to check your mirrors before you merge over. In larger vehicles, you can also add checking your blind spots to that as well.
It would help if you did this well before you activate your turn signal. It makes you aware of the availability of merging and gives people in the other lane ample opportunity to provide you with space.
Practice Defensive Driving
When you are behind the wheel, you can never assume that everyone is just as reasonable as you. Because of this, it is always better to believe that the people on opposing lanes are going to do something stupid.
Taking this mindset, you are ready and willing to respond to any of this disregard for safety. This is the definition of defensive driving. By following this, you reduce your chances of being in an accident heavily.
Be careful not to take this too far, as being too defensive can result in overcorrection.
Besides, you must pay special attention to the deadliest holidays to drive. We can refer to this very useful article from autoinsurance.org.
Use Your Turn Signals
Regardless of how obvious it might be that you are about to make a turn, always use your signals. Without using your turn signals, the person in front of you on the other end of the intersection could assume you are running into them.
Without informing other drivers on what you are going to do, they will assume for you. Those assumptions can lead to significant accidents.
Change Your Daily Route
When driving along our regular route, it is incredibly easy to reach autopilot. At this point, your brain is going to shut off, and you will become a passive driver.
Passive driving is a dangerous activity. Unlike defensive driving, passive driving has you go on autopilot for the entirety of a trip. If a subtle change in another person’s habit affects you, you won’t have the reaction time needed to respond to someone else’s erratic behavior.
You may think that’s their problem, but they aren’t leaving the scene of an accident when someone there has a broken back. When you change your route, you don’t allow your brain to go on autopilot.
Surrounding yourself with new sights will force your brain to wake up again—no more passive driving when you don’t know where you are.
Realize When You Are Too Sleepy To Drive
There will always be times where we are up far too late or too early. In either case, it may not be entirely safe for you to drive at this point.
If possible, try and avoid driving while you are sleeping. You can also pass the wheel to someone who has a bit more rest.
If that is not possible, try and wake yourself up by going out for a jog or drinking some coffee. Sleepy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.
Some younger drivers are still under the understanding that one or two beers will not affect their driving ability. A breathalyzer will disagree with them.
If you plan on drinking, be sure to assign someone to be a designated driver. If they tell you that they are good to drive after a few beers, that is typically a sign that they are not ready to go.
Don’t try and test your limit. It isn’t a test you want to fail.
Remove Loose Trash From Your Car
While it may not seem like a hazard, having trash in your car can lead to another potentially dangerous situation.
Imagine this: you have a can harmlessly rolling in your passenger side seat. You make a hard turn, causing the can to roll over to your side of the car.
With a series of unique movements, the soda can put itself under your breaks. You can’t stop as your car goes barreling at full speed towards the car in front of you.
Replace that can with a piece of paper flying in your face, and you get the idea. Uncleaned cars can cause potentially dangerous situations.
Drive At A Consistent Speed
Traffic has a flow that you must follow. The flow typically follows the speed limit of the surrounding area, ensuring that everyone driving that day remains safe.
There are always one or two people in that flow that want to break through the traffic. They are going to be the dangerous ones today. You are not.
By driving at a consistent speed, the sound drivers can stay under the same expectations. With this, everyone can get to their destinations without forcing others forward in traffic.
Also, suddenly stopping and starting fast all the time with put a tremendous strain on your transmission. Keep your driving at consistent speeds that build up slowly while you accelerate.
Go Easy On Your Brakes
Abusing your brakes link heavily with driving at a consistent speed. Those with erratic driving behavior will ride their brakes a lot, causing them to wear out much faster than they would have.
Avoid speeding and always try and lightly press your brakes if possible. There will be a chance that you may end up needing to press on your brakes with more significant pressure. Only do this in emergencies.
Also, avoid riding your brakes when traveling down mountains. In these situations, it is best to let the hill naturally pick up the pace for you, as you end up using a lot of brakes regardless of your intent.
With the list above, you have a comprehensive awareness of good and bad driving habits. While this is not an all-inclusive list, this is an extensive list covering a lot of bases.
At this point, I suggest you take this down on you’re a good driving checklist. Try and be consciously aware of all of the right driving habits you do and all of the practices you need to improve. There is no shame in having bad habits. Everyone needs to work on them.
Whether you talk on your cell phone while you drive or forget to use your turn signals, all of these can go away with enough effort.