Most of us have a high opinion of our driving and may not be willing to admit we occasionally engage in dangerous or bad driving habits. But, statistics show that the more often we partake in these habits, the greater our chance of having an accident and paying more for car insurance.
Even worse, you may be guilty of several bad habits and don’t realize it. Once you’ve had them long enough, they become part of your everyday routine behind the wheel.
Automobile accidents are caused by any number of factors, including careless and reckless behavior, driving drunk or under the influence of drugs, as well as having a total disregard for traffic rules and posted signs. Of course, there are more questionable habits that can put you and other drivers at risk of being involved in a wreck.
Below are some of the most common:
Some people feel speed limits are for the other guy and don’t apply to them. No matter where they go – they speed. Granted, most of us tend to stretch the speed limit somewhat, but those who insist on always surpassing the posted speed limits by 15 or more mph not only put themselves at risk, but also other drivers.
There is no good reason or excuse to ever drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Doing so greatly increases your chances of injuring or killing yourself – not to mention an innocent driver or pedestrian. If you’re lucky enough to get pulled over before you harm yourself or someone else, you’re facing the loss of your driver’s license, getting dropped by your auto insurance company, which will lead to you having a hard time finding new coverage, and end up costing a lot more in fines, lawyers, and court fees.
Though not as risky as speeding, driving too slowly can also be dangerous. If you prefer to drive below the speed limit, stay in the far right lane. Driving 10 or more mph under the speed limit increases your chances of being rear ended by a vehicle traveling much faster than you.
In recent years, using your cellphone to call or text has resulted in an ever-increasing number of serious or fatal traffic crashes. The consequences can be tragic for the driver, his or her passengers, innocent drivers, and pedestrians. Taking your eyes off the road for only a few seconds to receive a text or send one could end badly for everyone.
Failure to Signal When Turning or Changing Lanes
More and more drivers fail to signal when turning or changing lanes, which makes them a dangerous hazard on the road. Don’t assume the guy in front of you is going straight or isn’t about to cut you off, simply because he didn’t signal. With diminishing courtesy on the road these days, you have to be ready for anything. Be alert and be careful.
Weaving in and out of Traffic
Regardless of whether you signal or not, weaving in and out of traffic can come with a heavy price. Zig-zagging between cars at high speed puts all drivers sharing the road with you at risk. If you encounter a careless driver who doesn’t signal any more than you do, you could end up exchanging paint or cause a more serious accident involving several cars.
Just because you have a need for speed and the guy ahead of you is driving the posted speed limit doesn’t give you the right to play bully by tailgating him until he gets out of your way. After all, you could just pass him without imposing your sense of road justice. Remember – he could slam on the brakes to shake you loose, resulting in you rear-ending him or you losing control and crashing.
Should any of these bad and dangerous habits sound familiar, it may be time to make a change. The less you engage in risky behavior while behind the wheel, the safer you, your family, and other motorists will be in the long run. It can also keep your auto insurance rates from blowing up before your eyes.