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Winter Driving

19 Safe Driving Tips for a Hassle-Free Ride

Nancy Dunham

Pop quiz: Do you know more about driving and safe driving tips than Indy race car driver Johnny Unser of the Unser Racing Family?

It’s a safe bet that most drivers don’t have Unser’s knowledge or skill but still drive in ways he wouldn’t consider.

“One of the biggest problems people have is how to control their cars and how to manage their distractions,” says Unser, who is now a technical advisor for Cooper Tire and race director for Pro Mazda. “Obviously the more focused you are, the better your driving. When you’re driving, you have no idea what the other guy is going to do.”

When Unser climbed behind the wheel of his race car, his entire focus became the car and his driving. He takes the same stance in personal vehicles.

Even if you’re an experienced driver, consider these safe driving tips from Unser and other driving professionals.

1. Make Sure Your Car Is Road-Ready

Many drivers don’t regularly check their cars’ fluid levels, windshield wipers, lights and other elements. Yes, a professional should regularly service your car, especially before a long trip. You need to spot check it, too, though.

“I’m extra careful about checking the fluids, the windshield wipers, the washer fluid and the tire pressure,” says Unser. “A lot of people also forget to check their tires’ pressure.”

Incorrect tire pressure can cause a blow out or flat. It also reduces fuel efficiency and causes uneven wear of the tires.

Some drivers don’t realize the tire pressure increases in heat and decreases in cold. Drivers should check the stickers on the door jams of the drivers’ side doors to determine the correct pressure.

Check Tire Pressure

2. Familiarize Yourself With the Vehicle

Do you know everything about your car? Your relative’s car? Or the rental vehicles you drive on vacations?

It’s vital to familiarize yourself with the car before you drive.

You never know if you’ll need to decipher a signal or locate a switch – think of the hazard lights – that you don’t regularly use.

If there is not an owner’s manual in the car, request one or look online.

“Make sure it’s set up properly before you leave,” says Unser. “You need to sit there until you’re totally comfortable in the car. We don’t drive a car onto the track until we’re completely comfortable. It should be the same in a personal car.”

3. Check Your Car Insurance

Review your car insurance before your trip. You need to know what coverage you have if a mishap occurs. Having towing insurance, for example, could be extremely helpful if you’re in an accident. It also helps to know ahead of time whether your insurance will cover a rental car. If it doesn’t, you can make adjustments to your policy before your trip, just in case the unexpected occurs.

4. Rest Before and During Your Trip

Some people push themselves to drive long distances. After all, they drive all the time, right? Former police officer Jeff Westover, an owner and instructor at 911 Driving Schools in Tacoma and Lakewood, Washington, noted most people regularly drive very short distances such as from home to work. Road trips are different.

“How many times do you hear about someone getting up at 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. and driving all night?” he says. “I was a cop for 18 years, and I’m now a driving instructor. I would never do that.”

When you’re tired, your reaction time slows so you’re in more danger. And those with less-than-perfect eyesight may also have difficulty seeing well in the dark.

It’s also essential to add time for plenty of breaks from driving into your trip. And if you grow tired while driving you should switch drivers or find lodging.

“You see so many people driving for 12 straight hours just so they can lay by a pool for a few days,” says Westover. “Don’t be in such a rush.”

5. Watch for Those Driving Under the Influence

When drivers see another car weave in traffic, they often think the driver is talking or texting on a cell phone. Many times, though, the driver may be under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, says Westover.

“Most DUIs happen between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., but they can happen at anytime,” he says. “Never drive next to those who may be impaired. Also, don’t try to drive around them. Stay behind them and put as much distance as possible between your car and theirs.”

6. Don’t Drive While Impaired

Even if you don’t drink alcohol or use narcotics, you might still be an impaired driver. Those that are tired or not fully concentrating on the drive are guilty of cognitive impaired driving, says Westover.

“Sometimes you look at a driver in the next car, and they have their hands at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock,” says Westover of the recommended stance to keep control of the car and keep them out of the way of a deployed airbag. “You think ‘Boy, they are really concentrating.’ But sometimes those people are thinking of everything else except driving.”

Practice Unser’s advice and pay strict attention to your driving and your car.

7. Give Yourself Room to Escape

You know you shouldn’t tailgate or stop too close to the car in front of you.

Westover recommends the four-second rule – watch the car in front of you, look at a fixed object (such as a street light or mile marker sign) and then count. If you pass the object in less than four seconds, you’re too close.

When you stop your car in traffic, check that you can see the rear tires in the car in front of you.

Those habits can prevent an accident or even a chain reaction if the car in front of you stops or slows suddenly.

8. Rethink How You Drive on Country Roads

When you drive on deserted, rural roads, consider driving more toward the center of those roads, says driving expert Wyatt Knox, special projects director for Team O’Neil Rally School in Dalton, New Hampshire. That way, if a moose, deer or other danger does appear, you’ll have an opportunity to quickly pull to either side of the road to avoid a crash.

Safe Driving Tips for Country Roads

9. Prepare for All Weather Conditions

The different climates in the U.S. mean drivers can quickly go from snow to dust storms to 80-degree weather in a short time. Check the weather forecast before you leave and make sure you have packed appropriate gear. If ice and snow are in your future include a snow brush, a snow shovel and sand or kitty litter (to improve traction on ice), suggests safety and security expert Alyse Ainsworth of of Salt Lake City. Regardless of whether you are driving in wintry conditions, or sporadic summer weather, make sure to have these essential supplies on hand:

  • A blanket
  • Bottled water
  • An extra cell phone charger
  • Flares
  • A jack that you can actually operate

“We know from auto crash statistics that summer is actually the most dangerous time to drive, yet a May 2017 Michelin survey found that two-thirds of Americans felt safer on summer roads citing better road conditions and warmer weather,” says Ron Margadonna, Senior Technical Marketing Manager, Michelin. “But the truth is that foul weather, in this case rain and wet roads, can originate quickly, be abundant and can be over a prolonged time period.

10. Understand Emergency Driving Techniques

Everyone who spoke for this article underscored the importance of proper tires. But drivers also need to know how to react when they can’t control a car that slides on wet pavement, known as hydroplaning.

“There is a common misconception that the best thing to do when hydroplaning is to take your foot completely off the gas pedal and let the car coast until you regain traction,” Margadonna says. “But during a hydroplaning situation, rapid deceleration, acceleration or steering can apply additional forces to the tire that could further reduce grip and possible loss of control. The proper response is to keep light pressure on the accelerator pedal and steer straight forward until tires regain traction.”

11. Pack Supplies

Pack water and snacks, no matter the season, says Burrese. And if you travel with a pet, make sure you can care for them.

“Look at people that get stuck, whether it’s a traffic jam or an accident. You might have to wait for hours before the road gets cleared,” he says. “You want to make sure that you have some liquids and have something to eat to help keep everybody in the vehicle hydrated and health. That’s especially important on a super hot summer day.”

12. Print Out Vital Numbers

If you belong to a roadside assistance service, make sure you have your membership card and the contact number with you when you travel, suggests Kriston. You can save the details on your phone, but you should also write them down on a piece of paper that you keep in your glove box, just in case your phone runs low on battery power. You don’t want to waste your phone’s energy searching for information when you need to make the call for help.

13. Carry a Paper Map and Directions

It’s easy to rely on your GPS, but it’s not infallible. What if you haven’t updated it recently? What if it can’t find a signal? Or, what if it simply breaks down? Pack maps and written directions, advises Kriston.

14. Store Valuables in the Trunk

Many drivers leave luggage, cameras, purses and other valuables in plain view when they go into a restroom or store for “just a minute.” You may feel carefree on vacation, but thieves are still working. Store your luggage and valuables in the trunk, even if your drive isn’t long, says Kriston.

Winter holidays may be a time for good will towards men, but that doesn’t mean would-be thieves aren’t still on the prowl. Store your presents in your trunk, even if your drive isn’t particularly long. Don’t let yourself become the victim of a holiday Grinch.

15. Don’t Overload Your Vehicle

If you pack your vehicle to the brink, you are asking for trouble, says RV industry expert Mark Koep, founder of Look at the vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine how much weight you can carry safely. Overloading your car can cause many safety issues including tire ruptures, he says. Furthermore, carrying an extra 100 pounds in your car reduces fuel economy by one percent.

16. Check the Tires of Your Trailer

It’s common to see cars towing boats and trailers or recreational equipment pulled to the side of the road. Many times, that’s because the driver didn’t check the tires of the trailer or pack a spare, says Westover. Check that the tires are in good condition and properly inflated. And don’t forget the spare!

17. Insist Everyone Buckle Up

Yes, that means everyone—including the family pet. Not only are pets distracting, but in an accident, unrestrained animals can seriously injure or even kill other auto occupants and can easily themselves be injured or killed. A report by AAA and Kurgo Pet Safety notes: “An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of force, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert approximately 2,400 pounds of force.”

Spend the extra time and energy to properly secure your dog, cat, gerbil or other animals in the back seat of your car. Your car’s Lower Anchor and Tether for Children (LATCH) system, secures infant and child car seats, can be used for pet carriers as well. If you are not familiar with the system, check the car’s owner’s manual for where to find and how to use them.

18. Take Extra Care Around Tractor Trailer Trucks

Professional truck driver Billy Manas of New Paltz, New York, says many drivers of cars or RVs pass tractor trailers and then quickly cut in front of them.

“A semi needs 500 feet to stop at highway speeds,” he says. “If, God forbid, you blow a tire or a deer jets out from the brush or just about anything happens where a car driver needs to make a sudden stop, they will never survive with a truck so close to them. Give trucks space.”

And don’t pull out in front of trucks unless you have plenty of space. Again, trucks can’t stop quickly, and when they do, it is perilous.

Safe Driving Near Semi Trucks

19. Keep an Eye on Your Temperature Gauge

Your gauge should always be somewhere between “C” and “H” when your car is running, says Josh Hostetler, Course Content Supervisor, Aceable.

“If you notice that your gauge is completely to the right on ‘H,’ pull over and let your car cool down,” he says. “If it’s not safe to pull over right away, turn off your air conditioner and turn your heat on full blast instead. This action will pull hot air off the engine and push it into the car, helping to cool the engine until you’re able to pull over.

It’s easy for everyone, especially long-time drivers, to assume they know how to drive safely in any situation. But everyone’s skills change and knowledge fades. Drivers that refresh and update their driving and vehicle know-how boost the odds of staying accident- and incident-free.

We hope you found these safe driving tips helpful. Is there anything else you’d add? Let our readers know in the comments.

97 Responses to "19 Safe Driving Tips for a Hassle-Free Ride"
    • James a Jackson | January 15, 2023 at 7:07 pm

      This information very helpful

    • Bob Warshal | January 10, 2023 at 5:19 pm

      Good review, still remember so many from High School driver ed.
      Key item is don’t assume every one else is a safe driver, many are not.
      Since Covid and now after a couple years, people seem even more careless, more aggressive, pulling out in front from the side, parking lot or road entrance, not even close to careful. Red light violations, more than ever, amazing to see and how people think if you speed up running a red light you have a better chance to make it, no, you have a better chance of a more serious collision.

    • Jim Haas | January 9, 2023 at 4:35 pm

      Have taught 3 of my Grandkids how to drive, be safe, Drive carefully, anticipate problems,
      and to be courtious. I gathered them together and a couple of other ones getting ready to go to Grandpa Driving School. We read through the “19 Safe Driving Tips”.
      It was encouraging to hear their comments an Lots of “You taught us that Grandpa” comments.
      Driving trucks and motorcycles for many years makes you a little more aware of what goes on
      out on the highways and roadways. Thanks for the Tips.

      • Extra Mile Staff | January 10, 2023 at 8:44 am

        That’s great to hear, Jim! Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • William W. Keen | January 4, 2023 at 2:17 pm

      Best tip? “No Tailgating”!!!!

    • Martha Baynor | January 1, 2023 at 9:44 pm

      This information was very helpful to me. I appreciate your service.

    • Barbara Tavernaro | December 21, 2022 at 9:43 am

      I found this information vey relative to my needs in todays driving situations.

      • Extra Mile Staff | December 22, 2022 at 11:02 am

        That’s great to hear, Barbara. Thank you for sharing.

      • George Kenney | December 27, 2022 at 4:02 am

        This was very useful information.

        Thank you.

    • Elnora | December 14, 2022 at 2:03 am

      I appreciate these safety comments, it gives me helpful advice, and more confident on today’s roads.
      Thank You!

    • gwen | December 12, 2022 at 1:28 pm

      very informative and helpful, thank you for a refresher course.

    • Larry Jackson | December 9, 2022 at 5:40 am

      I been bus driver for 22 years for school in Northern Arizona, it’s true about 19 Safety Driving Tips and Hassle-Free Ride. I remember what my boss used said, you are Carrie pressures cargos that can not replace.

    • LONNIE | December 6, 2022 at 10:49 pm


    • Adrienne Cole | December 6, 2022 at 1:46 pm

      This was very helpful & well presented to assist me as a senior citizen to operate my vehicle in the safest manner possible.
      Thank you so very much.

    • Sandra Levesque | December 6, 2022 at 12:15 am

      All very informative and I feel good that I always follow these safety tips.

    • gwen & milt Schaffer & Mesiro | December 5, 2022 at 4:31 pm

      good tips

    • avaharrell | December 5, 2022 at 11:26 am

      This is very useful information
      Thank you for sharing this always Good to learn something new…

    • Francis Kleeman | December 4, 2022 at 9:46 pm

      Thank you for the tips.
      When coming out of a driveway or side road and making a right turn, you normally look to the left for oncoming traffic. Be sure to look also to your right to see where your car will go to avoid pedestrians or bikers on the sidewalk.

    • Flora Mcclanahan | December 4, 2022 at 5:44 pm

      Helpful comments for safety.

    • Donald Berger | December 4, 2022 at 2:53 pm

      These 19 points were an excellent reminder of critical information of important safety factors. Amazing reading these, a person is reminded or learns something that they have forgotten or become lazy about.
      Driving these days with all of ‘the features’, has definitely become way more complicated!

    • Samuel Vinch | December 4, 2022 at 9:51 am

      I wish you would talk about the proper way to merge onto highways and how to use the acceleration and deacceleration lanes properly… Thank you

    • Steve Livingston | December 4, 2022 at 7:13 am

      I think all of these are important. I drive to see my friend 650 miles one way. I make sure my vehicle is in tip top shape. I even take care of a little door ding when I get one. I try to be as safe as I can.

    • Brian Kemp | December 3, 2022 at 6:47 pm

      All very good information. Having lived in many of the different climates around the world I have driven in pretty much everything you can find. From deserts in Australia to the Arctic in Alaska. Knowing what your vehicle will do in the worst case scenario is always useful. But knowing what you can do to avoid that could be vital. This list includes a lot of great information. Some of which has taken me a life time to learn. Some of it teaching others the lessons I had learned. And we are always learning.

    • William L Houk | December 3, 2022 at 6:20 pm

      Hartford, Thanks for the driving tips. They are good reminders to check before, during and after driving.
      I live in California where we do not get rain for months on end. When the first rain comes in the Fall the roads become very slick because there is a build up of oil and grease on the roads. I’m a retired Firefighter and I’ve seen way too many of the accidents I just described.

    • George Bajszar | December 3, 2022 at 5:54 pm

      Extremely useful tips. Use it as a checklist – TODAY!
      Thank you!

    • Mary Carolyn Johannes | December 3, 2022 at 5:43 pm

      Very good information.

    • Rex Fox | December 3, 2022 at 5:25 pm

      These are all great guidelines, except for #8. While the suggestion to leave space for animals make sense, I believe you should never drive on the wrong side of the road. On low traffic country roads, people get lazy as it is. I’ve almost been hit many times by drivers (mostly local in big pickups) hovering over the white line, so I know the threat is real. If you are concerned about animals, slow down a bit and/or pay closer attention. I agree with Nancy Prescott, this item should be removed from the list. You could recommend using your high beams on deserted roads, as you will often see the light reflected in animal’s eyes before you can even see the critter.

    • Janet Westbrook | December 3, 2022 at 5:19 pm

      Speeding in the St. Louis area is rampant on highways and in subdivisions. Considerable construction in my neighborhood makes even running errands treacherous.

      Thanks for all these good reminders.

    • John Madigan | December 3, 2022 at 5:14 pm

      Very good rules to follow. I live in Portland, Oregon. In this City Bicycle riders and people walking the streets anywhere have the right of way. As a car driver you really have to be aware and wide awake at all times.

    • Chuck | December 3, 2022 at 5:03 pm

      No mention of looking as far ahead as possible to be prepared for any potential incident? Don’t stare 10 feet in front of you – many do.

    • Tom Byerly | December 3, 2022 at 4:31 pm

      Thanks; I have all the above except I have not located how to find and use the jack in the new car.

      I often find that I am the only driver on my trips – long or short distances – that follows a safe distance behind vehicles.

      Another tip: the prevalence of dashboard screens for all kinds of information is good, BUT could you please send out the distance traveled in second(s) with your eyes looking at the dash screen

    • Susan | December 3, 2022 at 3:42 pm

      These are great reminders. The details are amazing stats that we don’t want to ever need.
      AARP is my relay on information, not only for us seniors. 65 is fast enough for anyone even in good weather. I have been hit by a MAJOR drunk with 30 tickets on meds and a wife divorcing him, he old the officer. With our 15 month old in the car! Passing for fun is not safe for your family or mine.
      remember children walk along county roads to the neighbors or the school bus or walking their dog. Protect both. My 10 yr. sons life was saved by his wonderful dog Bruno, when a young man was late for work…. Bruno saved my son’s life…..but Bruno gave his life at 4 years old.
      Diabetic drivers may not be aware they are low on blood sugar that puts them in danger, a guardian angel was watching over my son on a freezing winter night going to practice. His medic alert was in his pocket, not readily found…..

    • Mike Cody | December 3, 2022 at 1:44 pm

      Check your brakes before going down a long or steep hill. It is better to find out they don’t feel right at the top than at the bottom.

    • Josh Schmidt | December 3, 2022 at 1:30 pm

      Don’t forget ABS! Too many people of my generation still think to “pump the brakes” in a panic situation. ABS IS A LEFESAVER.

    • Sharon Zach | December 3, 2022 at 12:55 pm

      Thank you for sending out these driving tips. They are a greater reminder to all of us.

    • Harvey Wine | December 3, 2022 at 12:23 pm

      Enjoyed reading this article as it made learning something new ( car overheating, turn on heat) even for an “old dog.”

    • Patricia Smith | December 3, 2022 at 12:21 pm

      Good comments from everyone!

    • Rev. Jack Shriver | December 3, 2022 at 12:16 pm

      Very good and helpful advice. Many thanks.

    • Alfred Schrader | December 3, 2022 at 12:15 pm

      Also be sure to top-off your gas tank with the correct octane fuel to prevent getting stuck on the side of the road.
      If you car does happen to over-heat or develop a problem on the road, don’t pull to the side of the road or highway. Engage your emergency flashers and carefully leave the road at the next available exit then safely pull into a parking lot nearby. Never stop on the side of the freeway. Statistics show many people are injured or killed while dealing with their vehicle on the side of the highway. If your vehicle just plain quits coast it as safely as you can away from the road, then get out through the passenger side & away from your vehicle, then walk to the next safest place to call the authorities.

    • monica price | December 3, 2022 at 11:48 am

      Some good tips. Done were very helpful.

    • James Jurich | December 3, 2022 at 11:39 am

      All of your suggestions seem to be a check list for all travelers however, most people are so preoccupied with packing and anticipating a great get-a-way. Having worked in the travel industry for more than thirty years, airline, it’s amazing that the communication between spouses and significant others evades reason. Traveling to foreign destinations although one or the other forgot to bring passports. Your tips should be absorbed by all who travel. If this is to be a four day travel by car trip, begin with addressing your vehicle a week prior to departure. Anticipate home security requirements at the same time and provide family/friends with you itinerary, numbers for contact and destination stay. I.E., I have a great neighbor however, without fail, I’m contacted to address many of his oversights. This entails watering plants, addressing the location of security cameras and even texting him his bank routing numbers and account numbers. Too often people secure their flight and hotel accommodsations then pack their brains. Kudos to the Hartford. Great tips.

    • Michael Romani | December 3, 2022 at 11:38 am

      I was taught the Smith system professional Driving course as a professional driver
      1.   Aim High 
The first rule for this method is “Aim high in steering”. Staying alert of the dangers and traffic ahead not only avoids rear-end collisions, but it also alerts other drivers behind your vehicle to slow down. The driver should steer and focus their attention high, so as to view the road as whole and not just a few feet ahead.
2.  Get The Big Picture
“Be aware of your surroundings at all times” may seem obvious to say, but distracted drivers are just as dangerous as intoxicated ones. Erratic and angry drivers take up a large portion of the traffic we see daily, so avoid major accidents by noticing how other drivers behave on the road. Having the whole picture means that you are doing your part to keep your vehicle as safe as possible while moving 1000ft a second. There are a variety of hazards between your own vehicle and other drivers, and a keen awareness of these dangers will reduce these risks.
3.   Keep Your Eyes Moving
The third standard of the Smith System asks drivers to remain alert. Energy drinks can only do so much before they cause the body to crash, and any repetitive motion sends us into a trance. Consistent eye movement prevents your body from entering the trance state, keeping you alert to every driving condition ahead of you.
      4.   Leave Yourself an Out
The fourth principle of the Smith System states to leave yourself a way out. This means ensure that other drivers do not box you in while selecting their lanes. Do not follow other vehicles too closely, and always anticipate what choices other drivers make.
5.   Make Sure They See You 
The worst thing a driver can do is assume. Assume other drivers can see them, assume other drivers are not dangerous, or even assume that they will just get to their destination safely. The final rule for the Smith System is “Make Sure You Are Seen”. This rule prevents accidents by removing assumptions made behind the wheel. As a driver, make sure that other drivers can see you and anticipate your move. If you feel you are coming into another driver’s blind spot, use the horn to get their attention.
      Filed Under: Safety Tips
      6. Space and time are your friend

    • Sue Kimble | December 3, 2022 at 11:26 am

      From someone who has worked in a hospital for 35 years I have a lot of experience driving in snowy/icy roads. I had to get to work. My commute was 30 miles each way. The roads where I live are not plowed early on weekend mornings or holidays. I always used really good snow tires on my SUV even though I had 4 wheel drive. Having the snow tires made all the difference in the world. Many times I passed cars and SUV’s that skidded off the road. I can almost guarantee they did not have snow tires on. Spend the money if you can to get snow tires. It just might be the difference between life and death.

    • Barbara Lawhon | December 3, 2022 at 10:40 am

      Wonderful TIPS!! Comments show how drivers are aware of road safety! Since the “HELP” phone number was provided I added it to my “contact” on my cell phone. THANKS!!!

    • LD Honeycutt | December 3, 2022 at 10:18 am

      Good advice I try following all good advice

    • Harold Jackson | January 22, 2021 at 5:40 pm

      Place a written or typed note inside of your glove box of your car with these critical bits of information:
      1. Your name and address
      2. Your phone number
      3. The name or names of contact person(s) in the event of an emergency. You might also include their address, city and state.

      4. Always carry a flashlight in good working order in the front of your vehicle. It is a good idea to carry a first aid kit, if not in the vehicle, at least have one in the trunk.
      5. It is a good idea to carry at least one light blanket in your vehicle trunk.
      6. Use glare guards over your visors to shield against the sun and ice reflections.

    • Sherman Jones | January 21, 2021 at 5:49 pm

      Always, always allow pedestrians the right of way even if they’re crossing against the light. A pedestrian could be under the influence or otherwise mentally impaired. Always, always use those turn signals. Pedestrians need to know your intentions as well as other drivers. Make using your turn signals a habit every single time you turn. When backing out in a parking lot or just your driveway. Using your turn signals is safety communication. Cars have changed however the drivers still have the same reaction time.

    • Harold Dwaine Jackson, Jr. | January 4, 2021 at 9:22 am

      On mornings after a rain or cold (freezing) night, always be sure to clear both front windows, and the back glass. It is also important to make sure your side mirrors are clean of rain drops or any ice. I keep a bottle of de-icer and a small towel in my trunk to resolve any such problems.

    • Gerardo Garcia | December 23, 2020 at 9:09 pm

      Excellent tips and reminders for us skilled but distracted drivers! Thank you and Merry Christmas.

    • diana | December 23, 2020 at 12:16 pm

      Hardly anyone uses turn signals here. sometimes it is just as they are turning. I think they are very important And don’t get me started about roundabouts. Lots of people here actually stop instead of yielding. Many roundabouts here! those two drives me nuts!

    • Mary Kay Hansen | December 22, 2020 at 10:06 am

      I can’t believe how MOST people ignore the posted speed limit and follow too close! I believe this is the number one reason for wrecks and pile-ups. It helps to walk on an overpass and stand still to see just how fast the cars are coming; imagining how much time would it take for you to stop if the car in front of you crashed? I’ve heard that you should have one car length of distance in front of you per every 10 mph you drive; that’s an easy way to figure it. But, PLEASE GO THE SPEED LIMIT. It blows my mind every time I drive from Cincinnati to Lexington and back. It seems like I am the only one that pays attention to the posted speed limit. Some semi-truck drivers drive like they are in a little sports car; buzzing around cars and following too close. Also, I find that people won’t let people over; selfishly making the other driver cringe. This also causes wrecks because the driver trying to get over is slowing down to beg for someone to let them over.

    • Dwaine Jackson | December 21, 2020 at 7:10 am

      Tip no. 1 : Always carry a good working flashlight and at least a light jacket in your car.

      Tip no. 2: Always have a document in your glove compartment to identify you as the driver and and name and address / phone number information. You should also identify 2 or 3 contact names and phone numbers in the immediate area in case of an emergency.

      Tip no 3: Make sure your head lights and tail lights are in working order.

      Tip no 4: Anytime your car breaks down, always be in the outer roadside area of the car, and not on the side closest to the driving traffic.

    • Mary Hagen | December 20, 2020 at 2:34 pm

      Thank you. It is good to review driving safety tips. I have a dog and do not strap him in. After reading your safety tips, I will.

      • Nora chee | December 4, 2022 at 11:09 am

        Thank you for the article. Great information that I can apply to my driving and reminder for a safe trip. I’m grateful that an insurance company provides information to their customers for a safer driving experience.

    • Nancy A Prescott | December 20, 2020 at 2:18 pm

      Excellent information for everyone. However, I have an added comment for number 8, driving on country or rural roads. You suggested driving toward the center of the road. I’m adding that when coming to a hill or where the view of oncoming traffic is altered, drive on your own side. Too many accidents happen on rural roads because both drivers were driving in the middle.

    • John H. Loretan | December 20, 2020 at 9:59 am

      As much as we love them, keep the children in the rear seats😊🙏🏿

      • Louise Sanders | December 3, 2022 at 3:47 pm

        Many points new to us and very interesting. Thank you!

    • James A. Ostrander | December 20, 2020 at 6:22 am

      I’m always ready for safety tips.

    • William Morrow | December 19, 2020 at 3:38 pm

      Turn on your you can be seen. At Dawn and Dusk and in the rain, this is very important.

    • Marybacker | December 19, 2020 at 3:28 pm

      I found this information very helpful. Some was a refresher some new especially the hydroplaning.
      Thank you.

    • Chuck Middlekauff | December 19, 2020 at 2:33 pm

      Great information. And if the temperature outside is lower than 60 degrees (maybe even 65), don’t forget to take your jacket along in the car. If you’re stranded somewhere for awhile, you’re gonna need it, especially if the sun isn’t out.

    • jo-ann | December 19, 2020 at 12:09 pm

      Another item to have: a solar powered phone charger or small portable phone charger unit. I carry one in my purse at all times. It can give 2 full chargers to the phone.

    • Judy Callahan | December 19, 2020 at 11:57 am

      I have always been afraid to drive on snow roads.Can you give me some advice?

    • Paul Popson | December 19, 2020 at 11:28 am

      Great advise. Especially about large Trucks.
      I would add “stay to the right except to pass”.
      Too many drives believe because they are going the speed limit they have the “right” to drive there. They don’t call it the “fast lane” for nothing!
      It’s the law on FL’s Turnpike.
      Also, need to mention be alert to traffic conditions and vehicles pulled off the road and on the roadside a good distance ahead. You need to move to the middle lane or left to allow safe passage by that potential problem area.

    • Carol | December 19, 2020 at 11:17 am

      Love this info. I will make a copy for my grand daughter who will be driving in a year or so. Also, I am a female, and one time I had a male passenger with me at night on the highway and he kept telling me to pass the 2 trucks in front of me when they flashed their lights but I didn’t feel safe because I couldn’t see clearly. Even though it may have been safe I told him to shut up and I slowed down for a while. I suppose the truck drivers weren’t too happy either.

    • Carolyn Shively | December 19, 2020 at 11:10 am

      Your advice is spot on. I would only add to please “look out for the other guy”while driving. Some people seem to drive more aggressively since COVID 19.

    • Ken Boone | December 19, 2020 at 11:08 am

      Thanks for caring . . . None other of my insurance carrier of the past ever provided such tips. The reminder about other drivers being under the influence, is a good tip . . . It reminds us to ‘Drive defensively’.

    • evans winter | December 19, 2020 at 10:45 am

      Keep adding !!!

    • evans winter | December 19, 2020 at 10:42 am

      When someone passes me I check the side mirror to see what’s behind, so if #1 moves back into my lane and slows quickly to my speed (which many do) I can swap lanes in order to keep distance. DISTANCE,DISTANCE,DISTANCE— When approaching construction (or other stop) zone , stop early, check mirror behind you, and be prepared to exit to shoulder.

    • Sue Paul | December 19, 2020 at 10:37 am

      It’s always a good reminder to check tires & know how to drive if hydroplaning. Thanks!

    • Dwaine Jackson | December 19, 2020 at 10:29 am

      Always be sure to double check a driver in the right hand lane before crossing back into the right hand lane. There are many drivers riding in the “blind” zone of we drivers. Do not accept a courtesy left turn in front of a driver in the inside lane of a 4 lane road. You cannot predict what the other lane outside lane driver will do. Do not assume that the Caution lights will get all drivers to come to a stop in front of you. Many drivers are running Caution lights and sometimes Red lights. Always be careful to observe pedestrian walkways in shopping areas.

    • Nina Lilienthal - Murphy | December 18, 2020 at 4:19 pm

      I found the 20 Tips while driving, very helpful. There were a few things I was not concerned with before, like the temperature gauge, living in the San Francisco Bay Area, but the idea to turn the heat on if your engine is hot, is a great idea till I can pull over. Also, the importance of giving trucks enough room, is something I need to improve on.
      Excellent tips, I recommend everyone to read these important driving tips, Thank you,

    • ken greff | December 18, 2020 at 12:37 pm

      ALWAYS,ALWAYS Signal Turns..We can,t read your mind!!!!!

    • Bill Roberson | December 18, 2020 at 10:49 am

      Front Tire Blowout: Natural reaction to a blowout is normally to take your foot of the accelerator and apply brakes. However, experts I have read strongly advise doing just the opposite. Accelerate until you have control of the car/bus/truck/RV then slow down pull off the road and stop. This is because the blowout causes the vehicle to lunge to the side of the blowout. Applying brakes will cause the vehicle to further lunge to the side of the blowout. Accelerating causes the vehicle to move forward not sideways. Since I don’t trust myself to remember all this should a blowout occur I always drive with the cruse control on.

    • John Hammond | December 17, 2020 at 7:00 pm

      I have an old cell phone that I keep off and charged in the glove box. You can only call 911 but in an emergency that’s all you need. Check the battery every 6-9 months.

      • Extra Mile Staff | December 17, 2020 at 8:11 pm

        Great idea!

    • Paul Desjardins | December 17, 2020 at 12:58 pm

      Also, it is unsafe to pass a tractor trailer on theright.

    • Sally Scott | December 17, 2020 at 12:43 pm

      These are excellent tips and a lot of common sense is applied to them. I would like to add that although we always try to leave the recommended braking distance between ourselves and the vehicle in front, somebody ALWAYS cuts into that space! The driving standards and road courtesy in Florida leave a lot to be desired.

    • Rosemary H Miller | January 10, 2019 at 11:35 pm

      We can’t be reminded of all those safety tips too often; I believe you covered all of them.

      • Extra Mile Staff | January 11, 2019 at 11:11 pm

        Thank you, Rosemary!

    • Carl R Ewan | January 3, 2019 at 2:22 pm

      The most important thing was left out. Take your time, slow down, I am an owner operator of a semi truck and the one thing that could save your life is remembering your not Al Unser and your not in the Indianapolis 500. Automobiles of today are incredibly comfortable and easy to drive which makes them more dangerous then ever. At 80mph the average drive has no chance if anything out of the ordinary happens. It’s not how the car is equipped but a person’s reaction time that matters. Ever see the blood spot on the road where a deer had been hit and the black skid marks 20 feet beyond. Take your time!

      • Extra Mile Staff | January 3, 2019 at 4:05 pm

        Thank you for sharing this great and important advice Carl.

      • Tom | December 19, 2020 at 10:59 am

        I would like to add that it is important to move past the Semi as fast as possible because if they blow a tire that is a retread or loose the tread for any reason it could be disastrous to the car beside the truck.

    • Lynda Itson | December 19, 2018 at 1:18 pm

      I have roadside assistance on my policy but never received a card for my glove compartment with a number on it. Who do I call if I should need it.

    • Albert. Thomas | December 15, 2018 at 5:32 pm

      Very Important information thanks

    • John Thompson | December 15, 2018 at 3:44 pm

      I’m an elder person and I do believe that I apply all of these tips or rules while driving over the years of my life so I do these things consistently Also this will help you become a more courteous, safer and defensive driver as well

    • PAMELA MASTRIANNI | December 15, 2018 at 2:47 pm

      We do almost all the tips but I had not heard of number 20 and turning the heater on full blast till you are able to pull over. I am going to also tell my friends and family about that. Thank you! We live in Arizona,

      • Extra Mile Staff | December 17, 2018 at 12:52 pm

        Pamela, we are glad you found these tips helpful. Drive safely during this holiday season!

      • Chuck | December 3, 2022 at 5:16 pm

        Pamela, that only works for a short period of time – I know from personal experience. Probably is a good idea to stop if you can before you fry the engine and possibly the transmission which are both very expensive. It’s awful to have to sit and wait, but you may end up doing that anyway and figuring how you will buy a new car. 🙂

    • Alice Brzycki | November 17, 2017 at 9:30 pm

      It’s not a bad idea to carry a sealed container of sand or cat litter too, just in case your wheels start spinning.

    • Frank | November 17, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      Remember, if you have cataracts, night driving is more difficult!

    • Becky Jackson | November 17, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      Thank you for these safety tips! Very helpful. Please advertise on radio stations also as the holidays are playing their course. 🙂

      • Laura Benware | November 17, 2017 at 1:19 pm

        Hi Becky. We’re glad you’re finding these tips helpful. Enjoy your holidays.

      • Bob Tobolski | December 18, 2020 at 1:09 pm

        I found these tips to be very helpful and really made since. Its surprising the safe tips that a pro can give you. Some things you never think about. Thanks!

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