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Confessions of a Former Speed Demon: 5 Tips for Turning in Your Bad Driver Badge

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Filed under Automotive, Automotive Help, Editorial

Do you have a reputation as a chronic tailgater, fearless speed demon, and active protestor of turn-signal use. If so, it may be time to come to terms with your reckless driver title. While exceeding speed limits and cruising through stop signs may appear harmless, aggressive or distracted driving can lead to devastating crashes accompanied by potentially life-altering injuries. 

Costly fines, demerits to your license, license suspension, and even jail time is a risk you run when charging through red lights and shrugging off school zones. And that’s if you’re lucky enough not to injure yourself or find yourself entangled in a four-car pileup. 

Besides striking fear into the hearts of fellow drivers, your reckless driving, should it lead to a car accident, can have significant emotional repercussions for the dare-devil driver in question.  Anxiety, shock, fear, depression, and embarrassment can stem from a multi-car crunch-up. In other cases, road-rage-ridden drivers may suffer whiplash, lacerations, burns, loss of limbs, or a traumatic brain injury. On top of all your medical bills, you will also have to deal with raised insurance prices and the cost of repairs (or a new vehicle entirely). 

So what can you do to prevent these horrible outcomes? 

Take a defensive driving course

There are many benefits to taking a defensive driving course. For one, drivers can strike points off their license, translating to a lower insurance rate. Aside from keeping your wallet in tip-top shape, defensive driving courses allow road ragers to become better drivers and gain greater awareness of how their questionable driving habits may put fellow commuters in harm’s way. Reckless drivers seeking to reform their recklessness should look into a course sponsored by DriveSafe Online.

Get rid of distractions

Your phone, the radio, food, and drink are all distractions that peel a driver’s eyes from the road ahead, spiking the risk of fatal collisions. To eliminate these life-threatening distractions behind the wheel, keep your hands at 10 and 2 (and off your cell phone’s touch screen.) To curb temptations, store your phone in the back seat or trunk. Additionally, leave food for when you’re at the table, not on the road. Remember, quick email responses and mid-day snacks aren’t worth a car crash.

Begin driving with safety in mind

Before you turn the key in the ignition, verify that all the mirrors are in the correct position. Ensure that you have good visibility (especially during the winter when frost or snow can obscure your vision). Finally, plan your travel with time to spare. That way, you won’t have to drive recklessly or exceed the speed limit to get to your destination on time. 

Follow the law

While this advice may sound like low-hanging fruit, it’s nonetheless essential. Make sure to obey the speed limit and any road signs you encounter. Always use your turn signal, and pay attention to the flow of traffic. After putting your ego aside, you’ll realize that the law is there to keep you safe

Don’t be angry on the road

Presume positive intention from other drivers— as it’s likely that any mid-commute mistakes don’t have malicious intent and likely aren’t directed towards you. That said, avoid tailgating or break-checking. Give people plenty of space (and plenty of time) to predict your next maneuver.

Before you hit the road 

With these tips, you’ll be a reformed reckless driver in no time. Your life, safety, and health are more important than any text you receive, any station change on the radio, or any moment of passing anger towards another driver. Drive safe out there.

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