Say cheese! With the addition of traffic cameras, law enforcement is cracking down on traffic violations across the United States. Fines are skyrocketing–up to 70% higher than only one year ago. The U.S. government anticipates billions of dollars more in traffic fines in 2018. What are you doing to protect yourself?
Ultimately, traffic fines aren’t about money. They’re made to prevent unsafe drivers from hurting you and your family on the road. It’s easy to think, “serves you right!” when we see someone pulled over. But consider how other drivers might feel about you.
If you know how to drive, learning to drive safely is easy. You can take a proactive approach. Save your money and save some lives with these eight safe driving tips.
8 Safe Driver Tips for Everyday Life
Many of these safe driver tips address the most common violations that result in a ticket. They are also the most common to cause collisions or other forms of damage. Master these tips and you will dramatically lower your chance of getting traffic fines, or something even worse.
Stay on Top of Your Speed
According to a recent study, speeding is the most common reason drivers receive traffic fines. That’s because even otherwise safe drivers can break inadvertently break this law.
Law enforcement from the study points out that as a driver, speed adds risk to everything you’re doing. Distracted drivers going 20 over are far more dangerous than those going the speed limit. For that reason, patrols make bringing down speeders a top priority.
There are easy ways to keep speed under control. With daily practice, they will become second nature.
- Relax. Driving is not a race. Don’t compete with other drivers. Simply transport yourself to your goal.
- Drive “slow.” What may seem slow to you might actually be the correct speed.
- Additionally, it’s been shown that lowering 5 MPH from your seed will not drastically decrease your travel time because of lights, traffic, and stop signs.
- Speed check habitually. Get in the habit of checking your speedometer every 5 – 10 seconds. It’s an easy way to keep track of your speed and get adjusted to driving a certain way.
- Be aware of the police. Police officers watch for speeders in the riskiest locations. You prevent traffic fines and protect yourself when you respond to the presence of an officer. Rocky Mountain Radar target police sensory equipment so you are aware when to adjust your speed. You’ll have the added advantage of avoiding their detection as well.
Eliminate Distractions, Especially Texts
In 2017, texting while driving injured or killed almost a half million people. This is a dangerous addition to an existing problem. In fact, distraction from being “lost in thought” is five times more common than cell phone use, albeit not necessarily as lethal.
In a matter of seconds, you can greatly decrease your risks of distracted driving. Establish a routine when you get into your car. Make sure there are no loose objects. Turn on a mobile app that notifies texters or callers that you’re driving. Put aside all food or drink, and ask any passengers to face forward and remain calm.
Remember, you’re not there to carry on with your life as you do on your feet. Focus on getting from point A to point B, during the time that it’s necessary.
Don’t Drive Like a Jerk
Some regular people become absolute jerks behind the wheel. And even the nicest folks have their bad days. But any one of these common “road rage” behaviors is a good way to get traffic fines:
- Improper lane changes
- Cutting someone off
- Moving without looking (perhaps while shaking one’s fist at another motorist)
Police who see that your behavior is putting drivers at risk will not hesitate to pull you over. Remember that your only concern is keeping you and your passengers safe, and getting to where you’re going.
You’re not a jerk. But there are other jerks on the road. Always be aware of what other drivers are doing. Don’t assume they will respond to you or that they won’t make poor decisions. Here are some simple tips for protecting yourself against unsafe drivers:
- Adjust your mirrors before driving
- Keep one car length between you and the driver in front of you for every 10 MPH you are driving. (If driving 60 MPH, keep six car lengths between you and the car in front of you)
- Add extra distance for inclement weather
- Use turn signals when merging or turning, even if you feel it’s not required
Don’t hesitate to stop and pull off of the road if you feel you’re in an unsafe situation. You may add seconds to your drive time, but years to your life.
Make Sure You’re Fit to Drive
Thousands of accidents occur every year because a driver is too tired, angry, or stressed.
Avoiding driving can be challenging when you have commitments to keep, but you needn’t put your life in danger in an attempt to keep them. If you have some time, rest or meditate. Have a friend or family member drive you if you’re still concerned about getting behind the wheel.
Check Your Safety Equipment
These safety measures are recommended by government officials. It is often the most neglected step towards safer driving. Here are the items to check on your vehicle before you drive:
- Check your tires for tears or bulges
- Make sure your battery is charged and have clear terminals
- Check your breaks and brake lights
- Ensure your turn signals are working properly
- Ensure any car seats or pet carriers are fastened properly
- Adjust all mirrors for your field of view
Check Your Inspection Sticker
If your state has inspection sticker policies for drivers, be sure yours is up to date. You can schedule a short, inexpensive inspection–often that day–to keep your sticker up to date and prevent you from paying unnecessary traffic fines.
Plan Your Route
Perhaps you’re driving a familiar route. Perhaps you’re blazing new trails. Either way, use a map, a GPS system, or a good memory to know where you’re going. Ensure you know where any forced lane changes might occur, or where lanes will change into turning lanes. If you don’t know what’s coming, you can quickly be forced into a dangerous situation.
If you get lost, be sure you continue to watch the road in front of you. Many accidents occur when drivers are looking out the side view window in search of a way to get back on course.
Avoiding Traffic Fines Means Staying Safe
You can avoid embarrassing traffic stops and expensive traffic fines with these safe, simple driving tips. Once you’ve put these into practice, they will become second nature. You’ll greatly reduce risk to yourself and to others. You’ll save a lot of money at the same time.
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