Did you know that the odds of the average person dying in a car accident in the next year are about 1 in 18,000? While most of us believe it would never happen to us, the harsh reality is that it does, and it will continue to do so until the end of time. Fortunately, there's a way to reduce your risk: You've got to become a better and more defensive driver than the average person. Not only would you be increasing your own safety, but also other travelers of the road.

How to Obtain Safe Driver Status

The best safety feature of your car is a sober and aware you. Moreover, there are many aspects of safe driving that can increase the level of safety on American highways.

Being Alert

Nowadays, so many people are multi-tasking while driving. We are fiddling with our cell phones, drinking or eating, or adjusting the radio. Even factors such as state of mind come into play when speaking of safe driving. Fatigue and stress from a long day of work or anything else can hinder your ability to stay alert and focused on the road. Likewise, long drives have the tendency to turn most of us into zombies behind the wheel. Another factor that affects alertness could also be prescription meds that have a side effect of drowsiness.

In any circumstance, it's essential to remain focused while driving, keeping your mind and eyes on what's happening in front of you. Most car wrecks are due to inattentiveness by at least one of the drivers involved. Since driving is a privilege, it is on us to learn how to become more attentive and avoid the traps that suck out our focus.

How to Become a More Alert Driver

The following are some simple steps that can help you become a more alert driver:

  1. Study what you need to before leaving. (Maps,directions, etc)
  2. Leave early to avoid any feelings of being rushed.
  3. Clean your windshield.
  4. Make any gadget or accessory adjustments before leaving.
  5. Wear a seatbelt.
  6. Always be aware of other drivers.
  7. Avoid having emotionally-charged or energy-draining conversations with a passenger.
  8. Avoid beauty routines, eating, and cell phone use when driving.
  9. Listen and look attentively to anticipate possible dangerous driving situations.
  10. Keep your focus on driving, gripping both hands on the wheel with your eyes on the road.

Educating Yourself

Those who are educated on how to drive safely are much better at following road laws. They are also aware that this isn't the case for all drivers. Thus, to ensure the safety of yourself and others on the road, take responsibility for knowing the following:

  • Laws are different in each state. Study the laws and regulations in the state you are living or traveling in.
  • Know how to make basic vehicle repairs in case of an emergency. You should also know what your roadside assistance plan entails.
  • Ensure you know proper procedure for pulling over to the side of the road to avoid a serious traffic accident.

Driving Defensively

Even the best drivers have to be aware of what other drivers are doing since they may not be so focused on safety. Defensive driving is by far the best method for increasing safety for yourself, your passengers, and other road travelers. To practice defensive driving, follow the pointers below:

  1. Drive slower, especially in poor weather conditions.
  2. Don't tailgate. Leave adequate room between you and the next vehicle.
  3. Glance at mirrors often.
  4. Keep an eye out for pedestrians.
  5. Expect the unexpected.

There you have it! Everything you need to drive more safely on the roads and protect yourself, loved ones, and others. The information you have just learned may have literally just saved lives, quite possibly making you a hero!