When you’re behind the wheel of a car – whether alone or with passengers – driving safely should always be your top concern. We’re more distracted than ever, so it’s crucial to know the basics of safe driving and practice them every time you’re on the road. Here are some safe driving tips:
Top 4 driving safety tips
1. Focus on driving
- Keep 100% of your attention on driving at all times – no multi-tasking.
- Don’t use your phone or any other electronic device while driving.
- Slow down. Speeding gives you less time to react and increases the severity of an accident.
2. Drive “defensively”
- Be aware of what other drivers around you are doing, and expect the unexpected.
- Assume other motorists will do something crazy, and always be prepared to avoid it.
- Keep a 2-second cushion between you and the car in front of you.
- Make that 4 seconds if the weather is bad.
3. Plan ahead
- Build time into your trip schedule to stop for food, rest breaks, phone calls or other business.
- Adjust your seat, mirrors and climate controls before putting the car in gear.
- Pull over to eat or drink. It takes only a few minutes.
4. Practice safety
- Secure cargo that may move around while the vehicle is in motion.
- Don’t attempt to retrieve items that fall to the floor.
- Have items needed within easy reach – such as toll fees, toll cards and garage passes.
- Always wear your seat belt and drive sober and drug-free.
More driving safety tips from Nationwide
- Don't allow children to fight or climb around in your car – they should be buckled in their seats at all times. Too much noise can easily distract you from focus on the road.
- Avoid driving when you're tired. Be aware that some medications cause drowsiness and make operating a vehicle very dangerous. Learn more about drowsy driving.
- Always use caution when changing lanes. Cutting in front of someone, changing lanes too fast or not using your signals may cause an accident or upset other drivers.
- Be extra careful while driving during deer season.
Common sense about safe driving
What to do after an accident
If you're in an accident, first make sure no one in the car is injured. Next, check on the passengers in the other vehicle, pedestrians and anyone else nearby to make sure they’re OK. Then do these five things:
- Stay at the scene. Leaving can result in legal consequences, like fines or additional violations.
- Call 911 or the local police immediately. They'll dispatch an officer and medical personnel to the scene of the accident. Once the cops arrive, wait for them to complete an accident report.
- If you're on a busy highway, stay inside the car and wait for the police or an ambulance. It's dangerous if passengers stand along a freeway or other road with lots of traffic.
- Don't get into an argument or a fight with the other driver. Simply exchange contact and insurance information. If possible, also get the name and phone numbers of witnesses.
- Call your insurance provider to report the claim. Your agent will ask you for any paperwork you receive about the accident, and will give you important information on getting your car fixed.
Find out more about what to do after an accident or a hit-and-run.
What to do when pulled over
If you notice that a police car is following you with the lights flashing, pull over to the side of the road safely and quickly. Wait inside your car for the officer to approach, and be prepared to:
- Turn on your interior light at night and keep your hands where the officer can see them, preferably on the steering wheel.
- Don't reach under your seat or into your glove box. This may cause the officer to think you're reaching for a weapon or hiding something.
- Give your license and proof of insurance to the officer if asked. If the officer asks you to step out of your car, do so without sudden or threatening movements.
- Stay calm − don't become argumentative, disorderly or abusive − and never attempt to bribe the officer.
- If a citation is issued, present your story in traffic court if you feel you’ve been unfairly treated. You may be represented by a lawyer and, if necessary, you'll be heard by a judge or magistrate.
Things to know about speeding & traffic laws
Some roadways are designated as low-speed zones. These include areas with high pedestrian traffic, such as school zones and streets lots of intersections close together. Driving over the speed limit can put you and others at risk of harm.
- Never pass a stopped bus displaying a stop sign to its left. That means children are crossing the street.
- If you hear a siren coming behind you, pull to the side if you can, stop and wait until the police car or fire truck goes by.
- Completely stop at stop signs and look for other drivers and pedestrians before you proceed.
- Obey the posted speed limit at all times. Speeding tickets are costly, and penalties for speeding can include fines, court appearances and loss or suspension of your driving privileges. Also, depending on your insurance policy, speeding tickets can raise your rates.
- When parking your vehicle, always be mindful of handicapped signs, fire hydrants, bus stop zones, parking restrictions for certain times of day, and parking spots that require permits. Just remember to heed all of the signs. Even if you have to circle the block a couple times, it sure beats getting fined or having your car towed.
All about DUI & DWI
Driving after drinking too much alcohol is known as Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Alcohol slows your reflexing, temporarily lowers your mental acuity and can thus compromise your ability to control a vehicle and drive it safely. And yes, even "buzzed driving" is still drunk driving and can be just as dangerous.
A DUI arrest can lead to expensive consequences, including spending time in jail, a suspended driver's license and fines. If you hit and/or kill someone while you are driving impaired, the consequences are even worse.
It's also illegal to have an open container of alcohol in your car. If you're transporting alcoholic beverages, they should be sealed and in the trunk.
All 50 states have now set .08% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) as the legal limit for Driving Under the Influence, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). For commercial drivers, it’s .04%. And if you’re under 21, it’s zero tolerance – any amount of alcohol is grounds for a DUI arrest.
In some cities, law enforcement officials set up sobriety checkpoints along the road to identify and deter impaired drivers. These are typically set up during holiday weekends or on dates when there might be more drinking and driving.
If you're stopped at a checkpoint, you'll be asked several questions and might be asked to perform a sobriety test (like saying the ABC's backwards, performing some physical movements or breathing into an alcohol sensor). If these tests show that you have high alcohol levels, the police may arrest you.
Winter driving tips
Winter brings all sorts of driving headaches: snow, freezing rain and slush, which all make the roads more hazardous. To handle the hassle of winter driving:
- First of all, buckle up. Basic car safety encourages the use of seat belts and car seats at all times. They're one of your best defenses in a crash. And it's the law.
- Use extra caution in areas that ice up quickly, especially intersections, shaded areas, bridges and overpasses.
- Get in the habit of regularly checking weather reports on TV or online so you can prepare for bad weather. On severe weather days, schools and workplaces might close or delay opening. Consider staying at home if you don't need to be on the road.
- Keep an emergency kit in the trunk of your car – including blankets, a first aid kit and jumper cables. Check out our full list of items for your emergency car kit.
- Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and that your car always has a full tank of gas.
Virginia Kearney 4 days agofrom United States
Elvira, if your topic is about a person with potenital, you are probably not doing a problem solution essay. You are writing a reflection essay and I have an article which gives all of the instructions you will need, including information about how to do the introduction. Here is the link to that article:https://owlcation.com/humanities/How-to-Write-a-Re...
Elvira 4 days ago
How can I start writing my essay topic is about Aperson with potential.I don't know how to start.can you please help me?
Virginia Kearney 3 weeks agofrom United States
Kanika--It is a good idea to turn your topic into a question and an answer. Here are some examples:
What is the effect of divorce on young children (or teenagers or college students)? Your answer would be your thesis. Another topic idea could be:
What is the effect of divorce on men (or women)?
What is the effect of divorce on a person's work? See my article on how to write a cause effect paper.
Kanika 3 weeks ago
Can you help me to find topic sentence on,Effect of divorce?
Virginia Kearney 4 weeks agofrom United States
Sayed Abid sadat 4 weeks ago
Hi! I need your help to select my topic on information technology to write my artical. thank you
Virginia Kearney 6 weeks agofrom United States
Hi Mr. Johnson, I have everything you might need for writing a college essay on my website. You can look on my profile page or search for my articles on: choosing a topic; writing a thesis and topic sentences; how to organize and write different kinds of essays; using commas and semicolons correctly; easy words to use as sentence starters to write better essays and much more. I have over 100 articles about writing to help you out!
Dick Johnson 6 weeks ago
Hi! I Have An Assignment I Have To Do In My College Class On Friday And I Was Looking For Some Advise! Thanks!
Richard Cranium 6 weeks ago
This website helped my child with her homework.
Virginia Kearney 7 weeks agofrom United States
I have many articles on different subjects for you to look at. Many of the ones in this article would work fine but you can also look at my articles which are specifically for high school students. A good paper idea is one that interests you and it will be easier to write if you immediately can think of your opinion on that topic and some examples you can use from your own life, something you've read, current news or an example from literature, a movie or another video.
Stupid Pickle 7 weeks ago
I have to write an essay for English is there any topics that you would recommend for a high school freshman
tommy wensyel 2 months ago
this article was very helpful and it wasn t bias my english teacher wanted us to write an essay. it was really helpful i got a lot of good ideas
Jawaher 2 months ago
How can get out bad relationship
Virginia Kearney 3 months agofrom United States
Hi Trang--I have a lot of information to help you write your paper. Look for my articles about how to write argument, problem solution and proposal papers. In order to discuss two solutions, you just need to think about two possible answers to the question that have not yet been done. For example, in the question "How can students get enough good sleep each night?" two good answers that are equal would be: making a schedule for work and sleep, and using a technology device like a cell phone or fitbit that tracks sleep patterns.
Trang Phan 3 months ago
my writing teacher asks me to choose a pro-solution topic that is practically related to student life. After that i have to draw out two solutions which are equal to each other.It means that both of them can not be currently done. it seems so difficult
sssssss 4 months ago
How can healthcare be ensured for everyone around the world?
Damtaodu 5 months ago
How do one respond to new challenges and adapting to a different environment, living without familiar amenities, interacting with new and different types of people and studying intensively among others.
Virginia Kearney 6 months agofrom United States
Hi Kashymawoh--I'm glad you've decided on a topic for your essay. You can find everything you need to know about writing it by looking at my other articles on writing problem solution essays and writing argument essays. If you don't see the link for that, search in my profile, which you can find on the top right of the page.
kashymawoh 6 months ago
hi Virginia, i am writing an essay on solving unemployment issues in Nigeria, kindly assist me.
Virginia Kearney 7 months agofrom United States
Hi Cassandra! After you choose your topic, be sure to look at my article about how to write a solution essay. I give all the instructions you should need. If you want help revising or with punctuation, you can find articles on those topic too.
Cassandra Pines 7 months ago
I need to write a 6-7 page essay about a social movement. I don't know how to start
Virginia Kearney 9 months agofrom United States
Hi, Sparsh, Your best help would be to look at my other articles about how to write problem solution essays and argument essays. You might also like to look at my articles on Toulmin, Rogerian and Classical argument strategies. These articles include specific instruction on how to organize and outline your essay as well as how to argue effectively for your solution. In addition, they provide samples with commentary on why these work. Finally, you ought to look at my articles on how to write a great thesis and topic sentences. You can find these by searching for my name on Letterpile, or by looking on my profile page. I have over 100 articles on writing to help you out.
SPARSH AGARWAL 9 months ago
I am preparing for writing section of PCAT exam. In the writing section, there are generally problem solution essays. It is my humble request if you could provide me with a source where there are more of problem solution sample essays, so that I can prepare accordingly and practice writing on the problems mentioned above.
Virginia Kearney 11 months agofrom United States
Problems with health can be related to disease or preventative measures like diet and exercise. Here are some easy health-related topics: How can a person with Celiac disease best manage their diet? How can students best exercise and eat to be healthy? What are the best strategies to avoid illness? How can people avoid heart disease? What is the best way to stay healthy if you have diabetes?
poo 11 months ago
i want a health related topic. like people should be concerned about their health. but what problem can i state?
Stevie Glenn 12 months agofrom Minneapolis
Great topics on education! Good sources for quick education articles.
Chris Velo 14 months ago
Thank you for all the topics to write on; I would read one section thinking that I couldn't write anything only to discover a few points I had to make into a quick essay.
Virginia Kearney 14 months agofrom United States
Hi Colleen--I'd suggest you look at my Non-Profit Research Paper article for help.https://hubpages.com/literature/Research-Paper-on-...
Colleen 14 months ago
I have a Critical Analysis & Research Writing paper due the assignment is A Good for A Community: A Research Based-Solution Essay I am having the most difficult time with this. Can you help?
Virginia Kearney 15 months agofrom United States
KyLie--That is an interesting idea. The departmental final exam for my students included a question about this topic. I will see if I can add some to the list.
KyLie 15 months ago
I would like some topics on the death of Harambe the gorilla....
Karla 16 months ago
Should have a topic about animal abuse or cruelty!
Bangladesh Page 2 years ago
Here is a lot of topics to write on. It really makes me think to write something on the topics. There are some topics here I never thought that an essay can be written! Thanks for sharing.
Virginia Kearney 2 years agofrom United States
Hi Zero, I don't exactly understand what you want. Perhaps you mean you want to write an essay about "How to find a good job?" or "Solving the difficult problem of finding a good job?"
Virginia Kearney 2 years agofrom United States
Hi mtariqsattar--I actually have also written articles about how to write essays of many types. You can search for this on Hubpages or just look for the links next to my topic ideas articles.
Tariq Sattar 2 years agofrom Karachi
Hi there VirginiaLynne, I don't know how to start but you nailed it and you seem to possess command over topics. You do justify what you have said in your profile.
Anyway, I enjoyed reading your hub - it is helpful to those who are seeking to teach essay at the college or university level, and those who want to writer such a genre of essay. That is problem-solution essay.
I would ask though about the tips to writing an essay quickly and accurately at the same time. How should you as an essay writer achieve both ends?
Virginia Kearney 2 years agofrom United States
Thanks for the ideas Jaime--I may think about putting some solution ideas into another article.
b.s.s 2 years ago
Wow!! What a great topics
Virginia Kearney 2 years agofrom United States
So glad Symphony Dunbar that you are using my site to get good ideas. You must be doing a good job writing those essays too!
Symphony Dunbar 2 years ago
I love this site. I come on here, get a topic, write an essay, get an A+, just like that!
sera 3 years ago
Thanks it helped so much
Maria Cuevas 3 years ago
I would really like environment issues. It is very passionate among many.
Virginia Kearney 3 years agofrom United States
Hi Justin--Glad this helped you. I have a 5th grade daughter and two daughters in 7th. I used to teach 6th grade myself and know that you are learning a lot about writing!
justin 3 years ago
I really like the questions for the problem and solution it makes me want to improve some mistakes I made.P.S. I'm a 6th grader.
Tessa 3 years ago
Awesome website! I'm definitely going to use one of these topics. Helped a lot. Thanks!!!!!
Hyder 3 years ago
How "Education is solution all our problem" I want to write essay this topic anyone help me
Ova ELai 3 years ago
I would like a topic on counselling a teenage who thinks is having a sexually transmitted disease or HIV
Virginia Kearney 3 years agofrom United States
Thanks Ashley--I will write some topics about that!
Ashley 3 years ago
Military life topics would be great!
djelke16 3 years ago
Great topics! Thank you so much.
Dottie 4 years ago
Thank you! This was so helpful!
Rachel 4 years ago
This website is perfect! Helped me a lot, thanks!
Lcarter 4 years ago
Virginia Kearney 4 years agofrom United States
So glad I helped you Kaiya! I know that getting the right topic and finding some good information can really help someone overcome that writer's block that makes starting an essay so hard!
kaiya123 4 years ago
This helped a ton! Anyone of these topics could easily be well written, being that there is so much information about each topic. I seriously couldn't have thought of any of these topics, and this definitely helped my essay. There was many topics to choose from, depending on the area you are interested in. It made me think about what I really wanted to write about! Thanks so much!!! :)
Maria Jordan 4 years agofrom Jeffersonville PA
A meaty and worthwhile list of subjects for anyone to pursue...most thought provoking and interesting topics. Excellent job.
Voted UP and UAI. Hugs, Maria
SaM 4 years ago
This HELPED a lot! Thanks!
Pamela Oglesby 4 years agofrom United States
You really thought of so many valid topic that are all worthy of discussion. Anyone of this topic could easily be written about and really there are so many problems, it is a bit overwhelming, but then we must start somewhere. This is a great idea for a hub and no one should have to have writer's block anymore. Voted up and useful.