Safe Driving Strategies

Think before putting the car in gear. Safe drivers buckle up, adjust mirrors, fine-tune seat and sound settings, pre-plan the route and recommit to obeying traffic laws each time they slide behind the steering wheel. A sensible beginning makes an accident-free trip more likely.

Scan the roadway. Safe drivers are aware of surroundings including what is ahead, beside and behind the vehicle. Visual alertness is essential to avoiding a crash.

Adjust to changing road conditions. Safe drivers know it is not always safe to travel at the posted speed limit. Fog, rain, darkness, blinding sun, as well as traffic can lead to hazardous driving situations. Know when to reduce speed and allow additional time to stop or turn.

Maintain proper following distance. Safe drivers realize they cannot change the path of the vehicle without enough reaction time. Following too close increases the likelihood of a crash.

Check before passing. Safe drivers evaluate surroundings before pulling around a vehicle. Speed, visibility and space may prevent you from overtaking a slower vehicle - even in a passing zone.

Drive with focus. Safe drivers know cell phones (even hands-free technology), mapping devices, food, passenger conversations, daydreams, etc. shift hands, eyes and thoughts away from the task at hand. Minimize or eliminate distractions whenever possible.

Utilize turn signals, headlights, brakes and horns appropriately. Safe drivers understand the importance of being seen and giving other vehicles ample warning about direction changes. Defensive driving averts crashes.

Pay attention to vehicle maintenance. Safe drivers replace threadbare tires, service engine belts and hoses, check brake performance, replace bulbs an replenish fluids as needed. Operating a poorly maintained vehicle increases the possibility of an accident.

Avoid drowsy driving. Safe drivers know fatigue affects judgment, reduces visual awareness and slows reaction time. Strive to be well-rested behind the wheel and take periodic breaks to stay refreshed on long trips.

Verify proper auto insurance. Safe drivers know Illinois law requires liability coverage on all licensed motor vehicles. Physical damage (comprehensive and collision) is optional, but lenders insist on it.. Review auto policy coverages, limits and deductibles; confirm vehicles and household members are properly insured; place a valid insurance identification card in the vehicle glove box.