Becoming a better, safer driver is about more than applying common sense practices and good habits like always using your turn signal or not speeding. There are plenty of personal habits that play a role in making you a safer, more aware driver. Ultimately, safe driving is about paying careful attention whenever you get behind the wheel, and not taking safety for granted. But behavioural science also has plenty to say about improving a skill most of us use every day. The New Driver Programme Ltd. shares a few tips to consider the next time you pull into traffic.
Keep your cell phone out of reach
Talking on a cell phone while driving is dangerous enough that it’s been officially declared illegal. No matter how practised you are at it, talking on the phone while driving constitutes distracted driving, and Car Shops notes that makes it an unsafe practice. Such research has shown that conversation, rather than the mechanics of using a phone, is what takes your attention away from driving. To drive safely, your brain needs to process information uninterruptedly while driving. So lock the phone in the glove compartment or store it in your purse. If you must use your smartphone for GPS, a mount can safely hold your phone in place.
As it is in your home environment, it’s important to be in a zone that’s as stress-free as possible, and this can start with making sure your car’s interior is clean, free of clutter, and without needless distractions. You probably don’t think about meditation when it comes to safe driving practices. But according to a University of Washington study, meditation can help the brain improve at multitasking, which is what you do while driving. There’s a constant influx of information and stimuli that has to be processed, and mindfulness meditation can help your brain encompass it. Meditation can also help you take a more mindful approach to habits like speeding or driving under the influence.
Assume there’s danger
This one’s definitely in the defensive driving category, and it’s a smart way to improve your driving. This is why it’s so important to pay close attention to the cars around you at all times – you never know when an inattentive or distracted driver will force you to swerve or apply the brakes suddenly. From now on, always assume the driver approaching the intersection isn’t paying attention to the traffic light, so slow down as you approach and be prepared to stop or drive evasively.
A high-risk driver is one with an excessive number of negative items on his record, whether it’s for too many tickets and violations, convictions, or traffic accidents. If you currently carry the label of high-risk driver, you’ll likely see a spike in your insurance premiums, or your policy may be cancelled. Now is the time to re-evaluate your driving habits and do whatever is needed to obtain sufficient auto insurance coverage so that you and other drivers are protected. In some states, you can take a defensive driving course to improve your record and lower your insurance premiums. With time and improved habits, that label will be removed and you’ll help your driving record.
Spend more time practising safe driving
Training and repetition are key in mastering any complex activity, especially driving a vehicle. That is particularly true when it comes to younger and less experienced drivers. The more your brain gets accustomed to processing data, the better you’ll get at driving safely.
Practising safe driving habits not only protects you and other drivers, it helps train your brain to process information and multitask proficiently. That’s an important advantage as you strive to become a safer driver.
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From finding an instructor, right through to passing your theory and practical test, and even buying and maintaining your first car, The New Driver Programme Ltd. is here to help. Contact us today to learn more!