Being a safe driver is not just about memorizing traffic laws.
It goes beyond what you can and can’t do on the road.
Safe driving revolves around having that proper driving attitude and mindset.
In this post, we’ll dive deeper into what it means to be a safe driver that has a proper driving attitude.
We’ll look at:
- What a proper driving attitude looks like
- Benefits of a proper driving attitude
- Things to know about safe driving
- And more!
So if you’re getting your license or already have one, we recommend taking a few minutes to take to heart the things we’ll talk about here.
What is the Proper Driving Attitude?
As we said in the beginning, a proper driving attitude goes beyond what you can and cannot do.
Instead, it talks more about how you should perceive driving.
Ever heard of the saying “Driving is a privilege?”
It really is.
And as another famous saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility”.
Okay, enough of those cheesy quotes.
What is the proper driving attitude anyway?
There are key elements to this attitude:
- Mutual respect
Let’s talk about them one by one.
Every driver is responsible for the safety of their passengers and other people on the road. Yes, including those inside other vehicles.
In other words, you are accountable for road safety.
And when you know you are responsible, that will give you a proper driving attitude.
But of course, it’s not enough to be just responsible — you need to know HOW to be responsible.
This is the reason why drivers go through knowledge tests and skills tests. These tests ensure that drivers are knowledgeable on road rules, sharing the road, traffic signs, and laws of their state.
One of the reasons why people get into accidents is because they become aggressive drivers.
Because they’re in a hurry or they think that they have to be the first to get out of traffic, drivers end up making reckless decisions.
As a driver, you have to exercise patience.
Adjust the time that you have to leave your home.
Allow taking turns with other vehicles.
And if people or animals are crossing, do not rev your engine and honk at them. Let them pass, patiently.
When you have patience, courtesy immediately follows.
Courtesy is being polite to people and motorists on the road.
A sign of courtesy is yielding when there are people crossing…
Or when you give way to other cars to enter the flow of traffic.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to be a pushover and just let people go ahead of you all the time.
Rather, it’s about taking turns and letting other people pass for the sake of safety and fairness.
When you become more courteous on the road, other drivers can follow suit because they don’t have to deal with an aggressive driver.
Respect for the rights of people to use public roads is a must.
This is more evident when you’re driving alongside bicyclists, motorcyclists, or even pedestrians.
These people have the same rights as you when accessing and using public roads.
So if a bicyclist is using a lane, don’t force them to go near the curb.
Lastly, you have awareness.
Roads are one of the busiest places to be. There are traffic, signals, people, construction, and repair sites.
You have to be constantly aware of the potential hazards around you.
By being aware, you are able to adjust your driving so that you don’t get in harm’s way. In turn, you don’t pose a hazard to other motorists.
Benefits of Having A Proper Driving Attitude
Having a proper driving attitude has a lot of benefits.
Let’s just look at a few…
- Enhanced safety. This is obvious. If you aren’t reckless or forcing your way through, then the chances of getting in an accident become much lower.
Besides, if you just follow the traffic rules and laws, other drivers won’t have to react to aggressive and improper driving.
- Less stressful driving. Being calm and courteous saves you a lot of stress. There’s less road rage and aggression coming from you. Who knows, maybe you can influence other drivers to replicate how kind and patient you treated them.
- Lower risk of getting penalized. Nobody wants to get their license suspended or be fined $100. It’s in your best interest to have a proper driving attitude, follow the laws, and become a safe and responsible driver.
- Better traffic flow. Taking turns, staying in your lane, and matching the speed of traffic makes driving more efficient. Yes, if you have the proper driving attitude, there are fewer chances of congestion and delays.
14 Things Every Driver Has to Know About Safe Driving
The rules of the road are mostly common knowledge.
But for the sake of our new drivers, here are 14 important things you need to know (and do) to be a safe driver (besides having a proper driving attitude).
- Avoid driving when you’re fatigued or sleepy.
Feeling sleepy or tired?
Take a nap first.
Don’t force yourself to drive during these situations because you might fall asleep on the road.
If you can take public transportation, the better.
If you’re on a road trip, stop at the nearest gas station or lodging to rest.
- Leave your house on time.
One of the reasons why drivers become aggressive is because they’re in a hurry. If you plan ahead and account for traffic, you don’t have to drive so fast to get to where you need to go.
Apps like Google Maps and Waze can help you estimate how long it takes to get to your destination. With this, you can adjust what time to leave.
- Check the weather.
Before leaving the house, always check the weather.
Is it raining?
If it’s snowing, you should change your tires to one with more grip so that you risk your chances of skidding.
Knowing the weather will also help you know which roads might get flooded when there’s heavy rain.
- Familiarize yourself with your state’s laws and regulations.
Not knowing what to do can cause stress and anxiety.
As a new driver, the laws and rules of the road should still be fresh in your memory. And if it’s not, always brush up on the traffic laws of your state.
By knowing the law, you save yourself from being pulled over and getting penalties.
- Know what each traffic sign means.
Traffic signs communicate different things. If yellow, they’re warnings of a potential hazard ahead.
If it’s black and white, then it’s a regulatory sign.
Each state will have its own set of traffic signs. So before you hit the road, familiarize yourself with the road signs.
- Avoid distractions.
A distraction is anything that keeps your mind and eyes off the road and keeps your hands off the steering wheel.
The most common form of distraction is the use of cellular phones while driving. In a lot of states, cell phone use is prohibited unless you’re parked, on hands-free mode, or reporting an emergency.
Of course, other distractions apply, too — putting on makeup, eating, having a heated argument, dealing with rowdy children or pets.
- Do not drink and drive!
Drunk driving is a leading cause of accidents on the road. Despite having laws against this, there are still drivers who drive while intoxicated.
If you’re planning to drink, designate someone to take you home so that you don’t need to drive. If no one’s available, you can take a cab or rideshare.
- Do your best to stay calm.
Whether you’re in a stressful situation or you’ve run into an accident, always try to stay calm. Panicking won’t help.
Try to assess the situation first.
Take stock of your and your passenger’s condition.
Report the incident to the police.
If you’re the one who caused the accident, exchange contact details with the other driver.
- Keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles.
In other words, no tailgating! This applies to all situations when you’re on the road.
Tailgating doesn’t allow enough space for you and the car in front to maneuver in case there are hazards on the road.
- Know when to yield.
In general, vehicles are required to yield to pedestrians even when they’re not on the crosswalk. This is because pedestrians have the least safety when they’re on the road.
Likewise, vehicles approaching an intersection without traffic lights should yield to the vehicle that arrived at the intersection first.
- Slow down in non-ideal road conditions.
Slowing down has a lot of benefits. It will help you react faster when there are hazards on the road. It also reduces skidding and hydroplaning when driving on wet roads.
Take note, however, that if you slow down, do so gradually. Braking abruptly can make you lose control of your vehicle.
- Use your turn signals.
Turn signals help other vehicles to know where you’re going. This is very important in intersections.
If you’re using a bicycle or a motorcycle, make sure that the car behind understands your signals or has seen your hand signals.
- Be mindful of blind spots.
All vehicles have blind spots –- yes, even regular sedans.
Larger vehicles have larger blind spots. So if you’re driving alongside a truck, make sure that you are seen on the side mirrors. If you’re not, then the truck driver might hit you when they make turns or lane changes.
- Make sure that your vehicle is in proper working condition.
In most states, a vehicle inspection is required annually to make sure that all vehicles are safe to use.
But even if you’ve done the inspection, make it a habit to regularly check your tires, brakes, and engine. Do this especially when the wet or winter season is approaching.
What is Defensive Driving?
A proper driving attitude always promotes defensive driving.
But what is it?
Well, defensive driving is a type of driving technique where you are always prepared to react to hazards and other people’s actions on the road.
A key part of defensive driving is awareness — awareness of the unexpected.
Since you’re conscious of what may go wrong, you are always proactive to avoid collisions and accidents.
Being a defensive driver means that you follow traffic signs, speed limits, and warnings. Following the tips above can be a great help in reducing accidents on the road.
To be a safe driver, you need to have a proper driving attitude. This includes:
- Mutual respect
All this will produce so many benefits.
But besides that, you also need to follow the road rules.
So we hope that you take these things to heart and have the proper driving attitude and be the safest driver out there.
Always remember to drive safely!