As covered in part 1 of our blog series, with today’s innovations that make driving easier, we can tend to get complacent on the road. But new safety features and overconfidence in our knowledge of how to handle many driving situations can actually put us at added risk. Here are 3 more questions to ask yourself to see if you are driving correctly on today’s roads.
Are you causing problems when you merge?
When most people realize they need to merge, they think they should do it right away. Thus, they may immediately hit their brakes or speed up to squeeze into the lane next to them. But suddenly slowing down can cause a back-up behind you, and abrupt lane changes mean other cars have to brake to accommodate you.Instead, you should do the one thing you probably get irritated at other drivers for doing—wait until the last minute! This creates what’s called a “zipper merge” which allows for a smoother transition from one lane to another and cuts down on backups. If you think about it, highway on-ramps were designed for the zipper merge. They allow drivers to get up to speed while scoping out traffic and finding a gap to fit in. Merging should work the same way on city streets. Unfortunately, this can only happen if other drivers let you in, so spread the word to family and friends about the correct way to merge!
Are you looking directly in front of you?
This is not a trick question. If you are looking directly at the road or the car in front of you, you may be headed for a collision. Rather, you should be looking 10 to 15 seconds ahead of your car to see potential hazards before you are on top of them. If you are driving in the city, 10 to 15 seconds is about one block. On the highway, 10 to 15 seconds is about a quarter of a mile. Looking ahead means scanning the entire road and sides. You should keep your eyes moving, not get locked into looking at one specific spot. This includes areas to the side and back of you as well. You should continually glance in your mirrors to see what is happening around you. And don’t forget about blind spots. Even if you have a system in your car to warn you when someone is in your blind spot, and even if you’ve adjusted your mirrors correctly to eliminate them as much as possible, look over your shoulder when changing lanes to prevent any surprises.
Are you driving too slowly?
We all know of the dangers of driving too fast. So many accidents are the result of someone driving beyond the speed limit—or beyond road conditions. But did you know that if you drive too slowly, you could cause an accident as well—especially if you linger in the left lane? When drivers have to pass you on the right, it can cause confusion and disorganization that can lead to accidents. And each and every time a car passes you, there is a greater risk of a collision. In any lane, if you are moving more slowly than the other cars on the road, it can cause congestion behind you and lead to the risk of your car being rear-ended. This is why there are often minimum speed limits posted on roads and highways, and if you go below them, you can be given a moving violation for blocking or impeding traffic. And sometimes the fines for those kinds of violations are even steeper than for speeding tickets.
Here at Accident & Injury Chiropractic, we’d like to help prevent you from getting one of those hefty fines or, even worse, from getting in an accident. But, if you are involved in a crash, remember, we’re here to help you with your recovery.