Just because there are fewer cars on the roadways right now doesn’t mean you can let your guard down while driving. Getting behind the wheel of your car is one of the most dangerous activities we partake in, and most of us do it almost every day. To stay safe on the road, you’ll need to drive defensively. This means constantly being hyper-vigilant of other cars and potential hazards on the road while you drive. The only thing you can control on the road is your own driving, so you might as well do it as carefully as possible to minimize risks.
Here are some tips for driving defensively in New York:
- Take care of anything important before you drive: If you need to make a call, are waiting for an important text, have to calibrate your GPS, or want to eat or put on makeup before arriving at your destination, take care of that before you get into your car.
- Remove distractions: Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed the lives of 2,841 Americans in 2018 alone—1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians, and 77 bicyclists.
- Don’t speed: Speeding another incredibly deadly mistake drivers make. NHTSA data shows 9,378 people were killed by speeding in 2018. With fewer cars on the road right now, some people view empty roads as an opportunity for reckless driving, but such a mindset can have deadly consequences.
- Follow traffic signs and signals: Obey all road signs and always slow down when approaching an intersection in case the light turns red. Running red lights is an especially dangerous habit.
- Yield when in doubt: If you don’t know who has the right of way, let the other driver go to be safe.
- Adjust driving habits in poor weather: If it’s raining slow down, if the roads are icy use chains, and if you feel unsafe driving in bad weather conditions for any reason, pull over or simply don’t get in your car.
- Keep your car in good shape: A tire blowout or other malfunction can cause a serious accident, so be sure to keep up with oil changes and other routine maintenance.
- Be wary of other drivers: Just because you are a cautious and experienced driver doesn’t mean the other motorists on the road are. Always be mindful of the other cars around you and maintain a safe distance no matter what.
Stay safe out there!