Car & Driving Resources: Safe Driving Tips

Driving presents challenges every time you get behind the wheel. Vehicle design safety improvements lessen crash chances—but only from a design point of view. Just like guns do not kill unless someone points and pulls the trigger, people crash; vehicles do not. No matter what design improvements are made to a vehicle, the bottom line is that each time you get behind the wheel of a car, you need to have the presence of mind to accept those challenges you face as you rally down the highway to your destination.

The smallest distraction can present the greatest hazard. Texting while driving, getting lost in thought, driving while sleepy, speeding, inclement weather, pulling out in front of moving vehicles and not keeping your car properly maintained all contribute to unsafe driving, crashes and fatalities. Night driving presents a whole new set of hazards: being blinded by headlight glare, overdriving your headlights, visibility, deer and other nocturnal animals crossing the road. Even something seemingly as trivial as getting dirt on your headlights can reduce what you see coming at you on the road by as much as 75 percent. Taking a rag and cleaning off the dirt takes seconds and diminishes such unacceptable risk.

Click on the links below to get purposeful information to help all drivers, including teens and other “newbies” stay safe on the road.

Car Maintenance

Byproducts of Car Maintenance: Vehicle maintenance generates pollutants. Here’s how to dispose of used motor oil, antifreeze, batteries and old tires.

Keeping Your Car in Shape: A general guide about the fuel economy benefits and equivalent gas savings of keeping your engine tuned up, your tires properly inflated and the motor oil and air filter changed.

Ways to Improve Gas Mileage: Keeping your tires inflated to manufacturer’s guidelines improves your mileage by 3.3 percent.

Interactive Car Maintenance Guide: Fill in the year, make and model of your vehicle and get its recommended maintenance schedule, any recalls or technical service bulletins.

Auto Maintenance Tips: Find a mechanic, measure the risks of do-it-yourself car maintenance, and take an interactive look at your car system-by-system.

Categorized Car Maintenance Tips: See what all those warning lights mean on your dashboard.

Maintenance Portal: Don’t run your car until your gas tank is empty, estimating repair costs and videos.

Car Maintenance Checklist: The how-to basics of checking your oil, coolant, transmission fluid, battery, wipers and tires. Includes a print maintenance reminder.

Car Safety

Safer Cars: Which cars garnered the coveted 5-Star Safety Ratings? Find recalls, report child car seat defects and find a child seat inspection site.

Sharing the Road Safely: How to watch for blind spots and inattentive drivers. Why cutting in front of another vehicle can kill you.

2011 Top Safety Picks: Does your vehicle make the list? Vehicles are rated depending on the outcomes of high-speed crash tests, rollovers, rear impacts.

Basic Skills, Laws and Safety: Tips for controlling driving speed, signaling, yielding, intersections and round-a-bouts. (pdf)

Safe Driving List: Bulleted tips for safe driving—including a reminder that doubling your speed quadruples your braking distance.

Deer Collisions: Deer can run out in front of your car any time. Peak seasons are fall and early winter. Peak times are dawn and dusk.

Drive and Stay Alive: Don’t break the 2-, 4- and 10-second rules for following and stopping your car—depending on whether you have dry, wet or icy conditions.


Weather Issues

Getting Caught in Bad Weather: Strategies for getting to your destination safely include keeping your headlights on, slow down, increasing your braking distance and stay in one lane when possible.

Driving in Bad Weather: Safe driving tips for teens and newer drivers when driving in inclement weather.

Safe Winter Driving: Do you know what to have in your car when the weather turns cold, snowy and icy?

Interstate Conditions: Get your interstate road conditions across the U.S.

Tire Friction: How your tires cling to the road determine whether they are all-weather tires that will keep you safe when you attempt to stop in bad weather.

Wet Weather Driving: Poor visibility, standing water and less traction make wet weather driving more challenging.

Stalled, But Safe: How to plan and keep yourself safe when conditions make your car stall.

Latest Road Condition Reports: Listing of phone numbers and websites by state to get the latest road conditions.


Traffic Laws

Highway Safety Laws: Click on your state to view its highway safety laws—includes U.S. territories.

Traffic and Speed Laws: Clickable table includes state, speed limit, reckless driving laws, the laws and a comment field that includes information such as driver manual or statute.

Drinking and Driving Laws by State: Every U.S. state defines driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.8 as a crime. Check here to see what the open container laws are and the penalties for driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence.


Safe Driving Resources

Teen Drivers: Traffic crashes are the number one cause of teen death in America.

Fatalities Involving Teen Drivers: Statistics show that an average of two people are killed for every crash involving a 15- to 17-year old driver.

Teaching Your Teen to Drive: How to copilot your teen without driving either of you crazy.

Check Area Traffic: Click on your city to get the latest information on traffic jams, incidents, construction zones, and major events.

Carjacking: Familiarize yourself with the methods and ruses carjackers use to get your vehicle and stay safer.

National Traffic and Road Closure Information: Click on your state for the latest 5-1-1. 511 is the Traveler Information Telephone Number for the United States.

Driver's Education: Articles dealing with GPS curfews, blocking texting drivers and other news and instructional resources.


Distracted Driving

Driving at Inattention: Over 5,400 people died in 2009 in car crashes involving distracted drivers—1,000 of them involving cell phone usage.

Ending Distracted Driving: Put names to the faces of those lives lost in and by distracted driving crashes.

Real Kids, Real Stories: Kids want you to know that texting and driving is a lethal combination.

"The Last Text": Watch AT & T’s documentary about real people whose lives have been impacted by texting behind the wheel.

Pledge to be Safe: Sign the Safe Texting Campaign pledge—when you text, you are not focused on driving for 4.6 seconds—in that time, lives can come to a needless end.

Drowsy Driving: Nearly one-third of drivers get less than six hours of sleep a night then drive to work. If you are less than 24 years old, you have a higher risk of falling asleep while driving.

Additional Safe Driving Resources

South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance: SJTSA approved links to websites with traffic safety information.

Travel with Care: Traffic safety links approved by the City of Auburn, Alabama and Auburn University.

Safety, Health & Environment Links: A collection of links to government and trade organization pages.

Illinois Campus Law: Links to enforcement organizations including several in charge of traffic and road safety.

Vehicle Safety: Suggestions for resources pertaining to traffic and highway safety.

Seat Belt Safety

Dangers of Drunk Driving

 

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