Safer Driving Skills 101
Back To The Basics
Today's drivers are more distracted than ever. From text messaging on cell phones, to driving with their knees while eating, to surfing the web on in-dash screens while doing 70mph on the highway, it seems drivers are overwhelmed with more important things to do other than keeping their eyes on the road.
As drivers become more comfortable behind the wheel, and as cars are fitted and jammed-packed with tons of safety features, drivers begin to ignore the responsibilities that they possess when behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.
When I was 15, I took a drivers-ed course over the summer. Our instructor drilled the acronym AGKLM into our heads before we even got behind the wheel. "All Good Kids Love Milk," is how we remembered it. Applying it to my everyday driving helped me stay accident-free over the years. Whether it is avoiding causing an accident or avoiding being the victim of one, it seems important to me that everyone should know and apply these long lost and forgotten keys to the art of driving.
Attention To The Details
- A: Aim high in steering.
- G: Get the big picture.
- K: Keep your eyes moving.
- L: Leave yourself an out.
- M: Make sure they see you.
Aim high in steering.
Try looking forward far ahead and reading the traffic on the road. This keeps you centered in your lane and gives you an ability to predict changes in the traffic ahead of you. Looking down at the road or staring directly at the vehicle in front of you can result in being to close to the edge of the road, too close to the center line, or not give you enough time to react or adapt to rapidly changing traffic and/or road conditions.
Get the big picture.
Look for and avoid potentially dangerous situations on the road ahead way before they become an issue. Identifying and understanding your surroundings on the road will provide time for reacting safely to what you see. Getting the big picture helps us to see opportunities we would miss if we were not paying attention.
Keep your eyes moving.
By watching what is ahead, next to, and behind you, you have more control of your surroundings in your vehicle. This gives you time to prepare for vehicles that are passing, getting ready to possibly move into your path, or just being aware of who is around you on the road.
Leave yourself an out.
This is a defensive driving technique of always trying to maintain an acceptable speed and distance from other vehicles as an escape tactic if an unexpected accident occurs. In driving, usually, the only space you can be sure of being able to use is that on your right and that directly in front of you. By ensuring that you're at least one car length away from the cars around you, or at least two seconds behind the car ahead of you, you have a safety zone and room to maneuver.
Make sure they see you.
Making eye contact, and using your signals and any other form of communication to make other drivers aware that you are here. It is very rare that someone will pull out in front of you and cut you off if they see you on the road. Most drivers are courteous and will acknowledge your presence on the road. Using your signal lights, headlights, horn and even making eye contact are a few ways to make driving safer and easier.
Safe driving has been and always will be about paying attention. Set your mirrors so you can see into the lanes next to you. Save phone conversations till after you have stopped. Never tailgate other cars.
A few of these rules should help you and that person who will be driving very soon. Applying the skills necessary to become a safe driver is easier said than done. Nevertheless, paying attention to details on the road can save you money, save your car, and save your life.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.