Best Driving Practices
- Seatbelts save lives. Illinois law requires restraints for front and back seat occupants. Fasten children under eight in approved car seats. Stay buckled throughout the trip.
- Follow the rules of the road and embrace defensive driving habits. Observe posted speed limits; use turn signals; acknowledge road sign warnings. Maintain adequate space between vehicles. Constantly scan the road. React and adjust without emotion to unexpected situations. Avoid tailgating, making sudden stops, or changing lanes abruptly. Anticipate actions of motorists around you.
- Allow adequate time to reach your destination. Road conditions, traffic, construction, or unforeseen weather may impact arrival time. Leave a few minutes early to give yourself a cushion.
- Build periodic breaks into long trips. Studies show that driving while drowsy impairs judgment, slows reaction time, and reduces visual awareness. Stop periodically to stretch, eat, and use the cell phone.
- Be alert for motorcycles and bicycles when you pull onto the roadway, change lanes, turn, and park. Keep an eye out for those exercising or walking pets along the street. They may be unaware of approaching traffic.
- Observe the 'Move Over' law. Drivers must change lanes when an emergency vehicle is stopped along the roadway, a highway maintenance vehicle is operating with flashing lights, or another vehicle is stopped with hazard lights. Reduce speed when traffic prevents changing lanes.
- Thoroughly check the area for an unexpected child or object before putting the car in gear. Backup cameras and mirrors have blind zones.
- Never leave a child alone inside a car. Vehicles heat up quickly. A child's body temperature rises faster than an adult's does.
- Distractions cause drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel, shift eyes from the road, or attention away from the task at hand. They contribute to thousands of crashes each year.
- Mobile devices are just one of numerous driving distractions. Adjusting the radio, eating, drinking, reading the map or GPS device, reaching for an object, viewing scenery, applying make-up, and talking with passengers are all examples of routine activities that cause drivers to lose focus.
- Take steps to minimize distractions. Avoid using the cell phone in the driver's seat. Turn off the cell phone ringer or set the phone to send incoming calls to voice mail. Even hands-free devices are distracting. Texting while driving is against the law, as is using cell phones in school an construction zones. Pull off the road to comfort a needy child or have a serious conversation.
- Make a deliberate decision to focus on driving every time you get behind the steering wheel.