Use these 9 Steps to help you avoid a collision and remain safe on the road.

Driving a vehicle can be as safe, or as dangerous, as you decide. Most collisions are caused by drivers not paying adequate attention to the road, or not using the proper techniques taught to them in their drivers' education courses.

Today, with the proliferation of the mobile device, it is increasingly important to remember basic driving etiquette; to keep you safe, as well as the person next to you.

Practice makes perfect, right? The more you practice these next 9 steps, the easier it will be to get from Point A to Point B - safely.

1.) Confirm your directions. Taking a look at your route will keep you from making turns, changing lanes, or stopping unexpectedly.

2.) Pay attention. You should always be anticipating cars braking and people crossing the road. Ideally, you should be aware of what's going on up to 15 to 20 seconds ahead of you so you can respond accordingly and safely.

3.) Avoid distractions. If you are afraid you may be tempted, put your phone away. Consider a Bluetooth device for hands-free accessibility. Don't be distracted by children, either. If they become unruly, pull the car over and deal with them when it is safe.

4.) Don't drive too closely to other vehicles. You should be able to see the back tires of the car in front of you touching the road.

5.) Accommodate for bad weather. Drive slowly, brake sooner, and increase the distance between you and the driver in front.

6.) Don't succumb to road rage. It is safer to just let obnoxious drivers pass on by. Getting aggravated will only lead to the likelihood of a car accident.

7.) Check your blind-spot. When taking a corner or changing lanes, don't rely on your mirrors alone. When it is safe, look over your shoulder and confirm that it is clear before you make your move.

8.) Check your mirrors. Glance into your rear-view and side-view mirrors every 5-8 seconds, and especially when slowing down, so that you're aware of what is going on around you. And always use your signals so that other drivers can accommodate you.

9.) Maintain your vehicle on a regular basis. Check your tire pressure, wipers, wiper fluid, lights, and brakes often, but especially before heading out on long journeys. Always keep your inspections up to date, and keep a roadside kit in your vehicle at all times in case you need it.

10.) Above all else, STAY OFF YOUR CELL PHONE. All it takes is a single glance away from the road to put yourself, and others in danger. It simply isn't worth it. Put your cell phone in the glove box and keep it there until you've reached your destination.


As you drive down the road today, take a look around you; no, not at the distracted drivers to your left and right on their cell phones. Take a look at the vehicles around you. What do you notice? If age comes to mind, then you’re a keen observer. According to the research company Polk, the average age of cars on the road has increased by about 2 years since 2007; today, the average vehicle is 11.4 years old.

In our economy, the need to push a vehicle farther and farther has become a necessity for most of us. Those who would have already traded in and traded up are post-poning; those who would have junked their cars long ago are googling “check engine light,” trying to extend the life of their automobiles as long as they can.

Those striving to get the most for their money may be at risk, and may not even realize it. Driving an older vehicle is just fine and dandy – as long as it’s been serviced and can operate appropriately. However, those putting off purchasing a newer vehicle in order to save money are often the ones putting off necessary service for the same reasons. According to the Consumer Report survey of U.S. drivers who have responsibility for vehicle repair decisions, 40% of respondents are currently postponing car maintenance or repairs on their primary vehicle.

This can be dangerous not only for the driver, but for other drivers on the road as well. When vehicles malfunction, accidents happen. Worn brake pads reduce stopping power. Tires with no tread slide into other cars, or property. Overlooking multiple oil changes translates into permanent damage to your car’s engine.

When we expect our cars to operate in even the harshest of conditions (oh, these Chicago winters), we need to enable them to do so. Regular maintenance and service protects your investment, and ensures dependability. Remember, saving a buck is never worth risking a life.

And when it comes time to scrap the old to make room for the new, don’t be tempted to wait… your safety depends on it.

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