Even though you always wear your seat belt, stick close to the speed limit and keep your phone off while you drive, accidents happen. In fact, more than 7.2 million motor vehicle accidents were reported across the U.S. in 2016, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
These five safe-driving tips can help keep you — and your passengers — safe when you’re behind the wheel.
1. Put Down the Spoon
Eating behind the wheel is a form of distracted driving, and each moment you spend unwrapping a snack or reaching for a drink is a moment your focus is on something other than the road. Distracted driving caused 3,166 traffic fatalities in 2017, according to the Insurance Information Institute. If your stomach is rumbling on a road trip, skip the drive-thru and pull over for a bite instead.
2. Reduce Road Rage
The next time another driver tailgates or cuts you off in traffic, resist the urge to retaliate. The Insurance Information Institute calls aggressive driving, including road rage, a “major factor” in traffic accidents that can lead to traffic fatalities. If another driver is making dangerous moves behind the wheel, the best safe-driving tactic is to pull over and report it to the police instead of trying to get even.
3. Restrain Your Pets
No matter how much Fido likes to ride with his head out the window or curl up in the passenger seat, resist the urge to let your pet ride without proper restraints. Buckling your pet into its own special car seat or seat belt or confining it to a crate (strapped down for safety) will not only keep it safe in the event of an accident, it’ll keep it from distracting you while you drive.
4. Schedule a Checkup
Regular vehicle maintenance, such as changing the oil and checking the tire pressure, can reduce the likelihood of breaking down on the side of the road. If your mechanic finds any safety issues, address them immediately.
5. Sign Up for Driving Classes
Driver education isn’t just for teens, although it’s a very important way for them to learn safe-driving tips, too.
Adults can also benefit from classes. Sign up to learn about driving defensively, dealing with aggressive drivers and other safe-driving tips.
With Farm Bureau’s Driveology program, your safe driving can save you up to 30 percent on your premium¹.
¹ Savings based on driving behavior. Your savings may vary. Ask your Farm Bureau agent for details.