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5 Dangerous Driving Habits You May Not Realize You Have

Most of us learn how to drive early in life—typically in our mid-teens. And while we may learn good habits from our parents, driver’s education courses, and private instruction, we don’t always maintain those good habits over time. In addition, bad habits can creep in over the course of years or decades.

If you’ve been driving for a while, there’s a good chance you have a few bad habits behind the wheel that you may not realize. And while those bad habits may not put you in danger every single time you drive, they may be increasing your risk of a crash. The next time you drive, keep these bad habits in mind and do your best to break them if they’re part of your daily driving experience.

1. Engaging in Micro Distractions

Almost everyone is aware of the dangers of distracted driving, but many people think of distracted driving as texting, emailing, or browsing the web on their phones. However, distraction goes far beyond that, and it can include tasks that only take your eyes off from the road for a split second and even tasks where your eyes are still on the road but your mind isn’t.  

Whether it’s changing the music, eating, or even just quickly glancing at a notification on your phone, these distractions can significantly impair your ability to react to sudden changes on the road. When you drive, your eyes should be focused on the road and your attention should be focused on the task at hand. Even brief micro distractions have the potential to increase your risk of a crash.

2. Ignoring the Weather and Road Conditions

You might think you’re an excellent driver in rain, snow, or fog, but overconfidence in adverse weather conditions can be deceptive. Reduced visibility and slippery roads drastically affect your vehicle’s handling and braking distance.

It’s crucial to adjust your driving style and speed to match the conditions. Slow down, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you, and ensure your car is weather-ready before heading out. Don’t speed up or take corners more aggressively just because other drivers are. Inclement weather and road conditions are often more dangerous than you think, and they deserve your full attention and caution.

3. Mishandling Traffic Lights

Many drivers view the yellow light as a signal to speed up so they can beat the red light. This habit is particularly dangerous as it can lead to miscalculations, resulting in severe intersection collisions. The purpose of the yellow light is to signal drivers to slow down and prepare to stop. By respecting traffic signals, you not only obey the law, but also ensure your safety and that of other road users.

Another common dangerous habit is to anticipate the green light and accelerate immediately when it arrives. It’s a good idea to pause momentarily before entering an intersection when you get a green light and to check both ways before doing so. This can help you avoid drivers who may be trying to beat yellow lights or running red lights.

4. Following Too Closely

Following the vehicle in front of you too closely, or tailgating, is not only aggressive, but also dangerous. It reduces the amount of time you have to react to the movements of the vehicle in front of you and increases the likelihood of a rear-end collision if the driver slams on their brakes and slows down or stops abruptly.

Maintaining a safe following distance gives you ample time to react to unexpected situations and helps avoid unnecessary accidents. recommends following the three-second rule to create a safe follow distance. When the vehicle in front of you passes a landmark such as a tree or sign, count three seconds. If you reach that landmark before three seconds pass, you are following too closely.

5. Driving Dangerously in Parking Lots

Parking lots are more dangerous than you might think. Although they are low-speed areas, they can still be dangerous for drivers and pedestrians due to the sheer number of vehicles in them at any given time as well as the difficulty of seeing your surroundings when backing out of a space.

When driving through parking lots, it’s important to note and follow speed limit signs and stop signs. Always give pedestrians the right of way, especially when they’re entering and exiting businesses. Avoid pulling through parking spaces—back up and out of your space instead. And finally, follow arrows for parking lanes and never cut through spaces, even in areas of parking lots where few vehicles are parked.

Contact Our Oklahoma City Car Accident Lawyers for a Free Case Review

Many dangerous driving habits stem from a lack of awareness or a momentary lapse in judgment. Recognizing and correcting these habits is vital for your safety and that of others on the road.

If you engage in any of these behaviors, changing your driving habits can significantly reduce your risk of a crash, but it can’t eliminate it. That’s because other drivers aren’t always safety-focused behind the wheel in Oklahoma.

At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, it’s our job to ensure crash victims never feel alone after disabling and painful accidents and injuries that weren’t their fault. Contact our Oklahoma City car accident attorneys anytime for a free consultation. We want to help you get the compensation you deserve.