Safe Driving Tips
Five Keys to Crash Prevention
- Buckle Up! Make sure you and your passengers are properly restrained.
- Never Drive Impaired. Avoid alcohol and drugs if driving. Assign a designated driver.
- Drive Attentively. Avoid the three most common distractions: cell phones, CDs and coffee.
- Drive Defensively. Aggressive drivers take unnecessary risks and often cause crashes.
- Share the Road. Look out for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and commercial truck drivers.
Wear Your Seatbelt
According to studies, wearing a seatbelt reduces your chance of being killed in a car crash by 60-percent.
- Never operate your car or truck until everyone is buckled up!
- Set a good example for your children. Use your seat belt every time you travel.
- Seat belts are your best defense against a drunk driver.
- Always use the seat belt properly – using only the lap belt does not protect you as well in a crash.
- In Indiana, you can get pulled over and given a ticket for not having your seat belt fastened.
Never Drive Impaired
In the U.S., an impaired driver kills someone every 30 seconds. Following these safety tips can help keep you from becoming a statistic:
- Don't risk it - If you plan to drive, don't drink.
- Choose a sober designated driver before partying.
- Take mass transit, a taxicab or ask a friend to drive you home.
- Spend the night where the activity is being held.
- Immediately report impaired drivers to law enforcement.
- Always wear your seat belt – it’s the best defense against an impaired driver.
Drive Defensively, Not Aggressively
Aggressive drivers are not thinking clearly behind the wheel, and their dangerous actions often cause crashes.
- First and foremost, make every attempt to safely get out of their way.
- Put your pride in the back seat. Do not challenge them by speeding up or attempting to hold your own.
- Avoid eye contact and ignore gestures.
- Report aggressive drivers to the appropriate authorities.
Driving while distracted or drowsy can have deadly consequences. Follow these steps to stay alert on the highway:
- Get enough rest to avoid fatigue.
- Avoid long drives at night. The glare of lights can make you sleepy.
- Keep the temperature cool in your vehicle.
- Do not use cruise control; keep your body involved with the driving.
- Watch your posture. Drive with your head up and your shoulders back.
- Take frequent breaks. Avoid the primary causes of distracted driving: cell phones, CDs (or radio) and coffee (or other beverages and food).
Share the Road
Motorcycles, pedestrians, bicyclists and commercial trucks all need special consideration on the roadway.
- Stay out of the "No Zone," the blind spot on the passenger side of the truck
- Don’t brake suddenly in front of trucks; they take much longer to stop than a smaller vehicle.
- Give trucks plenty of room to turn; they have a wide turning radius.
- Watch aggressively for motorcycles, they can be easily hidden in traffic.
- Anticipate hazards that may confront motorcycles and predict how the motorcyclist may react.
- Follow at least two-seconds behind a motorcycle.
- Watch out when turning left. Most crashes between motorcycles and other vehicles involve turning left at an intersection.
Pedestrians and Bicycles:
- Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections
- Slow down, pay attention and obey the posted speed limit.
- Leave at least three feet of passing space between the right side of your vehicle and a bicyclist.
- Reduce your speed when passing a cyclist, especially if the roadway is narrow.
- Children on bicycles are often unpredictable in their actions. Expect the unexpected.
Highway Crashes are No Accident
Each year, more than 800 people lose their lives on Hoosier roadways. Most of those crashes were caused by driver errors such as impaired driving, speeding, aggressive driving or distracted driving. The good news is that as a driver, you hold the key to crash prevention. The following safety tips will help you avoid the most common fatal errors drivers make, and help you drive defensively to protect yourself against other driver’s mistakes.
Information provided by:
INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Crashes are No Accident: You Hold the Key
100 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2249