Driving is a stressful thing to do, so it’s important to have good driving manners while on the road. This can help you avoid road rage and also help other drivers feel safer on the road.
Bad driving etiquette is one of the biggest reasons for accidents and traffic jams. Here are some easy tips on how to be more courteous while driving.
1. Use your turn signal
Turn signals let other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians know when you are making a turn. They are a vital part of road safety, helping to prevent crashes and keep everyone safe.
You must signal at least 100 feet (200 ft in some states) before making any maneuver, such as changing lanes or turning. This gives other drivers enough time to prepare for your turn, so that they don’t drive into it or miss it altogether.
If you’re changing lanes mid-intersection, for example, it’s illegal to do so without using your turn signal. This can cause other drivers to misinterpret your signal and drive into you, or even hit you.
Drivers can also be distracted while driving, and this may lead to them forgetting about their turn signal. This can cause a car accident and injuries.
To use your turn signal, pull down on the lever to the left side of your vehicle, indicating you want to turn right. This should give other drivers enough time to react to your signal and move into the lane on your right.
Next, push the lever down slightly until you see a flashing arrow on your instrument cluster. You’ll then hear a tick-tock sound, letting you know that the turn signal is operating properly.
Finally, return your hand to the steering wheel. It’s important that you always keep your hands on the wheel when signaling, as this will help to reduce fatigue.
Remember that not only should you use your turn signal, but it should be a habit that is ingrained in your driving. Failure to do so can result in serious accidents, including death. In addition to this, it can lead to severe injuries and costly repairs for your vehicle.
2. Stay in your lane
Staying in your lane is one of the most important driving skills that all drivers should learn. It prevents you from becoming involved in an accident while also helping to protect other road users.
Drivers can easily get confused when deciding how to remain in their lane while driving, so it’s essential to keep an eye on your position and know how to adjust it as needed. In some cases, you might need to leave your vehicle a bit more to the left or right of your actual driving line, but this isn’t something that should cause any problems with other vehicles.
Aside from ensuring that your car remains within the center of the lane, you should also keep a safe distance between your car and the ones in front of you. This allows you to react quickly if any dangers arise, such as cars braking suddenly.
Often, you may find yourself in situations where you are required to change lanes without signaling. This is a common issue that can be prevented by signaling your intention to change lanes before you make the move.
When you do decide to change lanes, keep your speed constant as you switch from one lane to the other. This will help other drivers and road users to prepare for the change and allow you to merge safely into the new lane.
As you change lanes, be sure to check your side mirror to look out for any oncoming traffic. You can also use your turn signal to let other drivers know that you are changing lanes.
As a new driver, you might find it helpful to practice your lane positioning on a small, quiet road before you hit the big road. Once you have a good feel for how far out to the sides of your car the lane lines are, it will be easier to stay in that lane on the highway.
3. Be courteous
Having good driving manners is an important part of being a safe driver on the road. It can help reduce your risk of having an accident, and it can also improve the way you are treated by other drivers.
One of the best ways to be courteous when driving is by indicating your intentions before you make a turn or manoeuvre. This will give other drivers time to plan their own movements and ensure that they can avoid any potential accidents.
It is also a good idea to be thoughtful of other road users, from pedestrians to motorbike riders. This is especially important if you’re changing lanes, as it will allow these drivers to move out of the way quickly and safely.
Another important way to be a courteous driver is by letting others merge into your lane when they signal it is safe. This can save you time and make your life easier, as it means you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic.
Finally, it is always polite to say thank you to other drivers when they’ve made your life easier. This will go a long way to making them feel appreciated and encourage them to continue being lenient in the future.
For example, if you’re merging into a highway lane and another driver is kind enough to let you in, it can be helpful to give them a quick courtesy wave of thanks. This can be done by holding your hand out or putting an arm across your chest, and you can even flash your rear indicators at them to show you’re thankful for their kindness.
Taking the time to be a courteous driver can reduce your risk of an accident, and it will make your driving experience much more pleasant. It can also help you get to where you need to be in a timely manner, which can be especially helpful for if you’re going on a long journey or driving in rush hour.
4. Don’t honk
Honking is a normal part of driving, but you need to be careful about how you honk. Some drivers use their horns to alert other drivers to road hazards or dangers, but others honk in anger, and this can be dangerous.
The best reason to honk is to warn other drivers of an accident or emergency situation that is imminent, like if you are in a lane that has been drifting into another driver’s lane, or if there is a pedestrian who is about to step off the curb and into danger. In these situations, you should give a quick blast of the horn and allow the other driver to decide whether or not they need to move out of your way.
However, if you are in a non-emergency situation where you need to give an alert but don’t have any time to get the other driver’s attention, you can simply use a “beep” instead of a horn. This is more likely to be understood by drivers as a polite reminder to take a moment to pay attention to their surroundings.
In Mumbai, for instance, police are now taking a stand against unnecessary honking, launching an awareness drive to educate people about the harmful effects it can have on people’s health. They have even plastered cars with stickers warning drivers of the consequences of unnecessary horn honking.
Honking is also a contributing factor in many road rage cases, as it can be interpreted as an expression of a person’s frustration, which can lead to other drivers being distracted and possibly rushing into the wrong lane. This can lead to accidents and injury.
5. Be mindful
Mindful driving is an effective way to improve your driving skills and increase road safety. It can also help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
You can use mindfulness exercises on a regular basis to relax your body and mind, which will make you feel calmer and more aware when you drive. There are many apps that offer meditation sessions specifically designed for drivers, such as the Calm app or Insight Timer.
The goal of mindful driving is to stay in the present moment and pay attention to everything that’s going on around you. This includes the traffic and other drivers on the road, your surroundings, your feelings and the physical sensations you’re experiencing.
Practicing mindfulness can improve your driving skills by increasing your alertness and sensitivity to hazards on the road. It also helps you react quickly and respond to any changes on the road.
Being mindful also improves your decision-making skills while you’re driving, including when to stop at a red light or how much space you need in a lane. This will help you avoid accidents, get better gas mileage and save money in the long run.
One of the most common distractions for drivers is their cell phone, which can affect their focus and decrease their driving skills. This can lead to a crash or other injuries.
It is essential to promote mindfulness in your company’s trucking fleet and encourage your drivers to be aware of their surroundings. You can help them stay focused by limiting their electronic logging devices (ELDs), cell phones and other in-cab distractions.
A recent study found that distracted driving increases the risk of crashes by more than double. To minimize this risk, you can teach your drivers to take a break from their phones and other devices every few hours. You can also remind them to put their devices away before they start driving.