By Mark Conner, Drive Safely

Smart Tips on How to Become a Safer, Better Driver

​​​Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep can impair you just as much as alcohol.  From 2009 to 2013,
21 percent of crashes in which a person was killed involved a drowsy driver,
according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Believe it or not,
37 percent of drivers say they have nodded off for at least a moment
or fallen asleep) while driving. If you are sleepy, stay off the road
whenever possible. Some medications can also cause drowsiness.
Carefully read the labels before taking medications.

Take Care of Your Car

Tire blowouts are scary — and sometimes deadly. Check your tire pressure
every other month. Adhere to scheduled maintenance on your vehicle to make
sure it is in good driving condition. Keep a spare tire, first aid kit, flashlight,
gas can, jumper cables, and other necessities in the trunk of your vehicle

for emergencies.

Ditch the Distractions

Texting while driving is dangerous and illegal in 48 states. However, your cell phone is not the only distraction in your car. You should not apply makeup, eat food, scold kids, or take phone calls while driving your vehicle. Only use your phone in an emergency, and even then, you should pull off to the side of the road if at all possible. Although hands-free devices are convenient to use while driving, their use can cause you to miss audio cues needed to avoid an accident.

Keep a Safe Distance

Following too closely behind the car in front of you is a dangerous habit. Keep a safe distance by using the three-second rule. After the vehicle in front of you passes by an object, such as a road sign or mile marker, your car should pass the same object at least three seconds later. Also, remember to look ahead when driving so you can be aware of what you are approaching, rather than just focusing your eyes on the road directly in front of you.

Consider a Defensive Driving Course

For a quick refresher on safe driving, take a defensive driving course. These courses are typically inexpensive, and taking one can often save you money on your car insurance or even cut points from your driving record.

Don't Speed

In 2017, speeding accounted for more than 26 percent of all traffic deaths. Even speeding slightly can result in an increased risk of being involved in a serious automobile accident. Be aware of the speed limit, and stay at or slightly below it. Also, keep in mind that when the weather is poor, you may need to reduce your speed even further.

Never Drink and Drive

We all know the dangers of drinking and driving. Even low blood-alcohol levels can hinder your concentration, coordination, and reaction time, leading to vehicle accidents. If you are planning to drink alcohol at all, plan ahead how you are getting home. Go with a designated driver, download the Uber or Lyft app, or have the local cab company's number saved to your phone.

Keep Your Insurance Up to Date

Check your auto insurance policy to be sure it provides sufficient coverage for your needs. You need to be protected in case of an accident. Before renewing, comparison shop and get quotes from different companies. Don’t let your policy auto-renew without doing your due diligence.  The only way to make sure you have the best price is to get quotes from multiple companies.

Although driving is a lot of fun, it also comes with a lot of responsibilities. So, make sure you, your passengers, and everyone on the road remain safe by practicing good driving habits.