Most everyone is guilty of a few minor driving miscues now and then, and the impact is hardly (if at all) noticeable. However, bad driving habits can take their toll on your car and your insurance rates, and they can also impact your safety and the safety of those who share the road with you.
As with most habits, an effective way to break them is by replacing them with another beneficial activity. Take a look at the list of bad driving habits and see if any apply to you when behind the wheel. Once you are aware of these habits, improving your driving is possible.
- Distracted Driving
As technology becomes more and more prevalent in our daily lives, distracted driving becomes more common. However, cellular devices are not the only thing keeping eyes off the road. It is rather remarkable that people can manage to do some of the things on this list and live to tell the tale.
- Applying Makeup
- Changing Clothes
- Reading a Book
- Checking and responding to emails and social media
- Disciplining children in the back seat
Not only are these behaviours dangerous, but authorities view these activities as a failure to maintain proper control of a vehicle. These infractions can also come with fines of several hundred dollars and a loss of several demerit points. The use of cellular devices comes with hefty fines and the loss of a significant number of demerits.
There is no quick fix for distracted driving. Ultimately, it comes down to having the self-control to avoid these actions whilst behind the wheel.
- Speeding to Get Through Yellow Lights
Yes, you have places to go and things to do when you get there. However, rushing through a yellow light is risky at best.
Australia’s urban traffic signals stay yellow between four and six seconds. Unless you are clearly in the midst of an intersection when the light turns yellow, the intelligent and safe thing to do is stop and wait for a green light.
- Driving too Fast Over Speed Bumps
It should go without saying that speed bumps are in place to force drivers to go slowly. Aside from obvious peril to pedestrians and nearby vehicles, this habit will take a toll on your car over time. The initial jolt is typically uncomfortable. However, if you make this a regular activity, you accelerate the wear on your car’s suspension components. No one wants to spend money replacing shock absorbers, rubber bushings and ball joints. You also damage your car’s wheel alignment.
- Driving Over the Posted Speed Limit
The idea that everyone speeds from time to time will not make the action less dangerous or less illegal. Excessive speed is the single largest cause of auto crashes in Australia. The idea that a small increase in speed causes no danger is a fallacy. Every 5 km/hr. above 60 km/hr. you drive, your chances of being involved in a car crash double.
- Frequent Hard Braking
If you often need to slam on your brake pedal, it is likely a sign that you are driving too fast, accelerating too rapidly, or not giving traffic your full attention. Aside from increasing the likelihood of an accident, hard braking regularly will increase the rate of brake deterioration as it increases the wear on all brake system components.
- Improperly Inflated Tyres
While over or under-inflated tyres are more of an oversite than a bad driving habit, they still negatively impact your safety and car’s performance. A survey of cars in the UK found that 62 per cent of vehicles on the road had incorrect tyre pressure.
When you think about the fact that your tyres are the only part of your car in contact with the pavement, it is easy to understand why correct inflation is necessary. Not only will the right level of inflation provide good contact with the road and improve safety, but it will also help to improve your car’s fuel consumption.
If you are unsure of the right amount of air for your tyres, the information can be found on the white tyre placard, which is usually on the inside of the driver’s door, on the glove box lid, or the fuel filler flap. If you are unable to locate the placard, consult your owner’s manual.
- Impaired Driving
Driving after drinking, using drugs, or taking prescription medications is the cause of over 30 per cent of fatal crashes in Australia.
Your driving while intoxicated has substantial consequences, even if you do not harm yourself or others. Depending on the specifics, you could face a $1,000 fine, disqualification of your driver’s license for three months or jail time. The severity of the results increases for offenders who have a history of drunk driving or for those who have harmed another person while driving after consuming drugs or alcohol.
Before you go out, make a plan if you have too much to drink and stick with it. You could be saving lives, including your own.
- Fatigued Driving
When your life goes at a frantic pace, it is no surprise that you could be driving while drowsy. It is common for you to feel as if you should push ahead and keep going. However, you should be aware that driving while sleepy has a similar impact on your driving as driving while you are intoxicated. Your response time is slower, your vision blurred, and your decision making is impaired.
If possible, avoid driving during times when you would usually be sleeping, try to drive with companions and take turns driving, or pull into a safe location for a nap.
If you see yourself in any of these bad driving habits, it is never too late to change. Improving your driving will help keep you and others safe. Also, a good driving record helps with loan rates and insurance costs. If you would like more information, reach out to us at Loans Unlimited. Our expert staff would be happy to provide the information you need.