Quick Tip: Keep Your Distance
To keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you, consider using the “three-second rule.” Look for a fixed object on the road: a sign, a tree or an overpass. When the car in front of you goes by that object, count “one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three.” If you reach the object before you finish counting, you’re most likely too close to the vehicle.
These three seconds could give you time to process what’s happening ahead of you and adjust to help avoid a crash. Put even more space between your car and the vehicle in front of you if road conditions are not good or someone is tailgating you. To help prevent being hit from behind, don’t brake too suddenly. Slow down gradually or merge into another lane.
Cut Down on Distractions
Anything that takes your eyes, hands or mind off the road increases your risk for an accident. Texting while driving might be the biggest offender. In 2013, research shows that texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to have a wreck.
Many states now ban texting and talking on your cell phone while driving.
To help you keep driving distractions to a minimum, here are some reminders:
- If you must dial or text, pull over or have a passenger to manage phone calls.
- For easy, one-touch dialing in emergencies, program your most frequently called numbers and your local emergency number into the speed-dial feature of your phone. When available, use auto answer or voice-activated dialing.
- Keep phone conversations in the car short. If a long discussion is needed, if the topic is stressful or emotional, or if driving becomes dangerous, stop the conversation until you are off the road.
- Avoid eating and drinking while driving. Spills can very easily cause an accident.
- Set aside time to shave, put on makeup or comb your hair before you get in the car.