Defensive Driving Tips #2

It’s better to be safe than sorry – isn’t that’s what your mom or a teacher used to tell you?  They were right, whether choosing the right insurance for your car or actually hitting the road, safety first is indeed a mantra to live by.  In today’s ADD/ADHD and generally unfocused, distracted world we live in, paying attention to one thing at a time with all of your mental ability is quickly becoming a lost art.

Maintain Your Focus

Keeping your eyes and your thoughts firmly focused on the road and on your driving as you flow down it is more and more of challenge as time ticks on. Now we have ipods, cell phones, in-car televisions and other modern “conveniences” to go on top of all the old usual distractions of family, food, other drivers, accidents, radio, weather, curves, falling asleep at the wheel, construction crews, and road closures. A driver in 2010 must be diligent if they want to survive this modern world we live in. Because it’s not just us that are more distracted, it’s everyone else on the roads and highways – not the least of which is the millions of new young drivers taking the road each year, for whom multi-tasking is part of their everyday existence that they don’t even think about. So it is absolutely crucial that we teach our kids to put modern life aside when they step behind the wheel of a car and put theirs and others’ lives at risk. Turn off the cell phone, don’t have TV’s in the car with in eye or earshot of the driver, don’t eat behind the wheel and certainly never talk on your phone or text when you are driving. You must set the example for them to follow and then when they get to start driving you must ensure they follow the example you have set, rather than imitating what their friends do out there multitaskers that they are.

Style Your Ride, but don’t Endanger Others

By all means, trick out your car as wild as you want, but don’t endanger your life, that of your family or innocent bystanders on the road. Follow all laws for your city and state when it comes to tint, visibility and other general safety concerns. I don’t agree with all of the rules in the world, but when it comes to possibly endangering others, I think we are all obligated to follow some basic rules to keep everyone safe. That means no flat screen in the steering wheel and giving yourself more than a slit in a metal or fiberglass sheet to see out of the front and side windshields – maximize the driver’s vista and the functionality of all the controls said driver needs access to in order to safely operate the vehicle.  So a tiny chain steering wheel is great for a show car that you don’t drive. But if you plan to race for pinks or cruise at all on the roads, go for something that you can actually turn on a dime should you encounter a hairy situation amidst all the bottled up swervers out there.

Mike Machina has written for 944 Magazine/944.com, Comcast, The Onion and Westword and has been a car enthusiast since he was first able to get behind the wheel of a truck on his friend’s farm in elementary school. He specializes in blogging about classic cars, everyday driving tips, maintenance, insurance and car humor.

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