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How can I improve my driving habits?

Driving is a part of everyday life for most of us. It is an extremely common mode of transportation for people who are going to work, running errands, taking kids to school and much more. In many cities, it is unavoidable -- you must be able to drive in order to accomplish many of the things you want to do.

When considering car accidents, though we all know that anyone can be the cause of a crash, we have a tendency to blame others. That "other driver" was being reckless, but not us. Experts say that we don't always take responsibility for our own driving habits, and this can be a deadly mistake.

Driving is part of living

The auto club AAA estimated that, over the 4th of July holiday in 2018, around 40 million people took a car trip of more than 50 miles. Driving is an extremely popular mode of transportation for a range of activities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that, in 2014, over 32,000 people died, and 2.3 million people received injuries in car accidents. Many people may be in denial about their role in preventing car crashes -- statistically, it is not uncommon to be part of one.

Still not convinced? One car insurance company estimates that the national average for time between auto collision claims is 10 years. That may not sound like a lot, but think of it this way. A 70-year-old motorist who has been driving for 50 years will statistically be involved in five car accidents. It stands to reason that the driver will cause at least some of those crashes.

Understanding your driving ability

Humans may be predisposed to believe that they are better drivers than most other people, but that is often not the case. There are apps that people can use to monitor their driving habits to determine whether and how they can improve. An app can track several measurements and offer feedback that is difficult to argue against.

One app offers feedback on:

  • Speed -- Law enforcement often says that speeding is a factor in many car accidents and can increase the severity of injuries when they happen. Speed inhibits a driver's reaction time, meaning they cannot properly react to a change in driving conditions.
  • Time of day -- though many people don't have a choice of when they drive somewhere, particularly if they're going to work, knowing that a certain time of day carries more risk can be useful. A driver can exercise additional caution during times that are prone to car accidents
  • Hard braking -- If you have to slow down more than eight miles per hour in one second, that is hard braking. Though some people may have to do this when another driver does something unexpected, it can also be an indicator that a driver is following too closely, distracted from the road or driving too aggressively.

 

How to be a better driver

Besides ensuring that you improve your driving habits based on the suggestions above, you can also encourage others to use more effective and safer driving practices. A course on driving could be beneficial, and some insurance companies will give you a discount for completing one. You could also ask someone you trust who has driven with you for their honest opinion on how well you drive.

All of this prevention, of course, will not affect the habits of other drivers that you encounter. The sad truth is that auto accidents will still happen, even if you take every precaution necessary. We cannot always trust that other people will be as conscientious as we will be.

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