Even the most skilled, experienced drivers can cause accidents on the road. But a driver with bad habits? That can turn deadly in seconds. Avoid these bad driving habits by keeping focus and patience top of mind every time you’re behind the wheel.

Bad Driving Habits to Avoid

1. Speeding

For over two decades, driving too fast has contributed to approximately one-third of all fatal crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Even if you’re running late, don’t speed; it’s not worth risking a ticket, let alone your life.

2. Allowing Distractions

Distractions include using a navigation device or app, having intense conversations, grooming, watching a video or adjusting the radio. Distractions are a particularly common issue among teen drivers, who are often tempted by social media, games and music apps. Find ways to avoid driving distractions, like using driving apps to help you stay focused on the road.

3. Texting While Driving

Did you know that at 55 mph, the average text takes your eyes off the road long enough to cover the length of a football field? That’s a dangerous amount of time. In most cases, the text can wait — plus, most states have banned texting while driving. If you must read or respond to a text, pull over first.

4. Ignoring Weather Conditions 

In many places, weather conditions can change quickly — whether it’s snow and ice or a flash flood — which makes adapting behind the wheel and slowing down crucial. Poor driving conditions can lead to accidents, so adjust your driving accordingly or avoid driving altogether if weather conditions warrant it.

5. Driving While Intoxicated

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 29% of all driving fatalities in 2018 involved an alcohol-impaired driver — accounting for over 10,000 deaths.1 If you drive while intoxicated, not only are you putting your insurance premium at risk, but you’re putting your life and the lives of others in danger. If you’ve been drinking, your best bet is to hitch a ride from someone sober or use a ride-sharing app.

6. Failing to Check Your Blind Spot

Weaving in and out of lanes without checking your blind spot could result in a serious crash. Practice safe driving by checking your rear-view mirrors and looking over your shoulder every time you switch lanes.

7. Not Wearing a Seat Belt

Wearing a seat belt is one of the smartest and most important things you can do behind the wheel as it can save your life. If you need motivation, most states have laws or fines associated with seat belt use. But more importantly, if you’re in a serious crash without a seat belt, it can cost you your life.

8. Fatigue or Extreme Tiredness

Extreme tiredness is another contributing factor to most crash-related injuries. Drowsy driving can be just as fatal as drunk driving — your awareness, reaction time and judgment are compromised when you’re in need of sleep.

9. Following Too Closely

Tailgating is when you follow too closely behind the car ahead of you, which can result in an accident. Practice safe driving by allowing more than two car lengths’ distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you.

10. Disobeying Signs and Signals

Ever sped through a red light or rolled through a stop sign? These bad habits are not only dangerous — they’re against the law. When you’re driving, be alert of traffic signals and keep your eyes on the road. Don’t risk causing a fatal accident by ignoring signs and signals.

Drive Safely 

When you enroll in Driveology, you’ll be practicing the science of safe driving, using technology that helps you better understand your daily driving habits. Over time, safe driving could help you qualify for discounts on your auto premium. Win-win! Connect with a Farm Bureau agent today to learn more.

1 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts, 2018 Data