Do you think you have good or bad driving habits? If you’ve been on the road for a number of years and your driving test is a dim and distant memory. Then you should be a pretty experienced and competent driver. You will have a wealth of experience and a good understanding of the road. You might even consider yourself to be a pretty good driver. But, the longer you’ve been driving the more likely it is that you will have developed some bad habits over your time on the road. I would put good money on the fact you no longer drive with your arms firmly at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel for starters!
Good Driving Habits
When I was learning to drive, let’s just say that this was some time ago because I don’t want to show my age, I got into the habit of checking my rear view mirror every few minutes. I did this by playing a game with myself. If the car behind me changed and I didn’t notice then I lost the game. This has stuck with me and now I habitually check my rear view mirror. That’s not to say I don’t have my share of bad driving habits too. Here are some of the best driving habits you can get into and a few hints and tips to help them stick.
Checking your blind spot
Whenever you change lane or reverse around a corner you should always check your blind spot. But the problem is it’s not easy to remember to do it. Getting into the habit of checking your blind spot is a really good thing to try and do and could ultimately improve the safety for you and other road users. A tip to help you to remember to check your blind spot is to think of your mirror checks as a 3 step dance. Look ‘up’ to the rear view mirror, ‘Look down’ to the wing mirror and then ‘look around’ for your blind spot. Look up, look down, look around. Give it a funky beat and sing it to yourself.
Did you know:
On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behaviour becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. So keep up the routine and develop these good habits to be a better driver in just 2 months!
Tucking in your wing mirrors when parked
This isn’t so much a safety issue but it can prevent your wing mirrors from damage while parked. A cracked or damaged wing mirror while parked is one of the most common ‘hit and run’ incidents. This is when someone hits your wing mirror while you are parked and they just drive off. This is one of my major peeves and I’m sure you’ll all agree. Getting into the habit of tucking them in will help to prevent this. Most newer model of car have automatic windscreen recliners at the touch of a button. So it’s simply a case of pushing this button as you open the door to get out of the car.
Leaving your car in gear
Another good driving habit is to always leave your car in gear. Especially if you are parked up a hill. If the brake on your car fails the engine being in gear will prevent the car from moving. You should try to make this part of your routine when you park your car. Along with the above tip about wing mirrors. Does anyone else remember the ‘Where’s my wallet/phone/keys’ guy from Britain’s Got Talent fame? He had a song to remind him to check his pockets for his essentials before he left the house. To remind me of the steps I must take before leaving my car I have performed an internal radio edit of this song. Brake on, in gear, wing mirrors in, valuables out of sight and away I go!
This leads me on nicely to the next good driving habit……
Checking if your car is not in gear before starting the engine
Starting the engine when your car is in gear results in you and your passengers lurching forward as the car jumps with some fairly significant force. If this happens before your morning coffee you’ll certainly have a bit of a wake-up call as a result. So when you get into your car you should get into the habit of putting your foot down on the clutch as you start the engine. Simultaneously you should wiggle the gear stick to ensure it is not in gear.
Bad Driving Habits
I started off the article about one of my proud good driving habits. But I’m about to ruin it with the confessions of these bad driving habits which will make the good one pale into insignificance. The first bad driving habit I have is coasting around corners in third (or sometimes fourth. This means the car performance is lesser and it takes a little while to regain momentum when you come out of the corner. Another is the steering wheel positions. We all know we should keep our hands at ten and two on the steering wheel but for me these days you’d be lucky to even see me with two hands on the wheel, let alone in a fixed position.
I know it’s annoying when you’re on a motorway and there’s someone sat merrily under the speed limit in the middle lane. As tempting as it is to sweep around into the left-hand lane and accelerate past them this is dangerous. If the road user in the middle lane has a change of heart and decides to move over they might not be expecting a car to be undertaking them and they could collide into you. Therefore undertaking is a dangerous bad habit.
I see drivers all the time who forget or can’t be bothered to indicate. There’s certainly some repeat offenders around my area. Whether you are turning off into a side road or going around a roundabout other road users need to know where you are going. Humans haven’t developed mind reading as a common skill yet so the only way to show them is by indicating. If you regularly forget to indicate then give it a few days of conscious practice and you’ll soon see it becomes second nature.
Last minute braking
Last minute braking can be very frustrating for road users behind you who are relying on your brake lights as signals for them to brake. The reality is if you constantly brake at the last minute then you will eventually cause an accident. Get into the good habit of reducing your speed slowly towards an obstruction.
The driving habits on this list are certainly not exhaustive. In fact, there are many typical bad habits that people do behind the wheel. This includes smoking, picking their nose (yes we can see you) and even talking loudly on the phone!