Three things any good driver should know

If you are a good driver, you shouldn't ever do this.

About to get your driver’s license? First of all, congratulations: being able to drive a vehicle doesn’t just enable you to participate more fully in North American life, it gives you the freedom to go anywhere you want, wherever you want.

However, know that you are now responsible for piloting a ¼ ton hunk of metal and fiberglass. If you are reckless in its operation, you could be putting your life and others in serious jeopardy.

Below, we’ll share a few principles you should internalize before beginning your driving career.

1) Always check your blind spots

When you first learn how to drive, your parents and driving instructors will impress upon you the need to look over your shoulder before changing lanes or merging into freeway traffic.

Not long after successfully passing your final driver’s examination, though, you may be tempted to fall into the lazy habit of just checking your mirrors.

This may seem like a ‘good enough’ solution – until the day you end up sideswiping some poor motorcyclist, an encounter that usually has a bad outcome for the biker.

True to its name, there is a pocket alongside any vehicle that your side view mirrors don’t cover. A lane change might seem safe at first glance, but a bike or small car could have slipped into this blind zone.

As annoying as it can be, stay in the habit of looking over your shoulder before moving into the next lane – you may ending saving someone’s life.

2) Don’t use smart devices while driving

This is an issue unique to the 21st century, as many auto accident attorneys in Salt Lake City will tell you.

Smartphone and tablet usage has become so pervasive that many of us spend hours per day surfing the net, checking Facebook, or texting people on them.

This urge to stay connected at all times follows many people into their cars, where they will check push notifications even as they are in motion.

Believing that they are good enough drivers to operate a smart device and pilot a vehicle at the same time, this ends up becoming an ingrained habit.

Despite their confidence, they are nonetheless distracted every time they pick up their phone from the passenger’s seat beside them, until one day, they don’t notice stopped traffic until it is too late.

When you get into your car, set your phone to silent or shut it off. If you have a hard time breaking your smart device habit, throw it inside your dash, have a loved one hold onto it for you, or if possible, just leave it at home.

The internet will still be there when you get back from grocery shopping.

3) Have a plan if your evening includes alcohol consumption

Unlike the last issue, drinking and driving have been a problem since the first Model T rolled off the assembly line.

Don’t try to convince yourself you are able to drive better after a few drinks – the science on the matter is settled, as it slows down reaction times and impairs judgment.

The stats don’t lie, either: drunk driving is a top cause of accidents, with many thousands of deaths per year caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol.

If you are taking your car out to the bar, have a designated driver stay sober and do all the transporting. If you lack a DD, call a cab and pick your car up the next morning after you have sobered up.

Doing so will prevent you from serving jail time, losing your license and/or car, or worst of all, taking an innocent life.

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