Make Safe Driving Your 2008 New Year's Resolution

By Insurance.com Posted : 11/23/2007

Each year millions of people across the globe make a series of New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking and get out of debt. But you never hear of anyone resolving to drive safer in the New Year. Why you might ask? Well, many Americans most likely think they are already good drivers and their driving skills aren’t in need of refining. Nice thought, but that is highly unlikely. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2006 Traffic Safety Facts, there were 42,642 automobile accidents in 2006. Though this number has declined over the past five years, it is still a high number of accidents occurring in one year, which makes you think – are Americans really up to par when it comes to driving?

“Nowadays drivers are multitasking while they are driving,” says Dave Roush, CEO of Insurance.com, the nation’s largest online auto insurance agency. “Drivers are talking on their phones, listening to their iPods, talking to passengers, eating or –sadly– trying to read the newspaper while driving. When you mix driving with hazards like these, you are not only putting yourself at risk for an accident, you are also putting everyone else around you at risk.”

Don’t think people are really doing all these things while they are driving? Think again. According to the Safe Driving Institute, Inc’s website:

  • 77% of drivers said they talk on their cell phones while driving
  • 60% said they either frequently or occasionally eat while driving
  • 50% admitted to making obscene or rude gestures or comments to other drivers, particularly those who cut in front of them on the highway
  • 50% reported that they have almost fallen asleep while driving
  • And 53% of drivers pay a surcharge on their auto insurance policy because of their poor driving record

Commit to becoming a better driver as your 2008 New Year’s Resolution To help you become a safer driver in 2008, Insurance.com has some tips to improve your driving skills and make the roads a safer place for everyone.

1. Take a defensive driving course
While many of us don't want to believe it, we could all use a little refresher course when it comes to driving. To help keep you safe on the road and remind you how to handle a car in bad weather conditions, general safety tips and road rules, take a defensive driving class. Many states offer online courses, making it easy and convenient to fit into your schedule. To find out more, visit www.IDriveSafely.com or contact your local DMV.

2. Ditch the cell phone
Talking on your cell phone can be as deadly as drinking and driving. Many times drivers begin to focus too much on the conversation and not enough on the road conditions surrounding them. If you have to take a phone call, pull over to the side of the road or wait until you can reach a rest stop and call the person back. This way you can give the caller your full attention and not have to try to do two things at once.

3. Follow the speed limit
If you habitually drive over the speed limit, you could be putting yourself and others at risk. And while it may not seem like it when you are in a rush, speed limits are created to help keep everyone safer. Plus, driving over the limit can cause you to receive speeding tickets, points on your driver’s license and potentially make your auto insurance premium go up.

4. Say goodbye to snacking in the car
Driving and eating at the same time can create a huge driving hazard while on the road, especially if you drop something and try to pick it up. In fact, it is such a hazard that the State of Michigan has a “no food within reach” driver’s license restriction for drivers who have been involved in numerous accidents related to food. So this year, make one of your 2008 New Year’s Resolutions to stop eating and driving. Not only will you be a safer driver, your waistline may thank you as well.

5. Use your turn signals
Often times drivers change lanes or turn without using their turn signals. If you are one of these drivers, consider making a conscious effort in 2008 to use your left and right turn signals while driving. It will help keep you safe and help notify other drivers around you of your next “move.”

6. Always look before moving
Along with not using turn signals, many drivers do not use their mirrors or look over their shoulder before they switch lanes. Carelessness like this often results in costly fender benders and lengthy traffic jams. So to help keep your car in optimal condition and to help keep everyone safe on the road this year, make sure to use your mirrors and look before you switch lanes. Your bumper and the other drivers on the road will thank you for it.

7. Update your car insurance
While this may seem silly, many people rarely update or even review their auto insurance policy. This can lead to paying higher car insurance premiums or having insufficient coverage in the event of an accident.

8. Say goodbye to road rage
We all have done it or experienced it at one time or another – road rage. And while it may seem justified as someone cuts you off or rides your bumper, it is not. Road rage only adds to the hazardous conditions of the road. In 2008, try taking a different approach and calmly and safely adjust to the hazardous situation at hand. This will help you stay calm and help keep everyone around you safe as well.

9. Reading while driving is never a good idea
Due to our busy lives many Americans try to multitask, including reading the daily newspaper while behind the wheel. If you are looking for something other than listening to the radio while driving to and from work consider picking up some books on tape. These can help you catch up on some “reading” while ensuring that your eyes are on the road and your hands are on the wheel.

10. Wear your seatbelt
If you don’t already wear your seatbelt while driving, vow to make it a 2008 New Year’s Resolution. Not only is it the law, it can also help save your life.

These 2008 New Year’s Resolutions are brought to you by Insurance.com.

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