Are you trying to refresh your memory since you took driver’s training classes when you were 15? Do you need to reinforce what you already know now that you got your license back after a suspension or revocation? Either way, knowing the following safe driving tips will help keep you and others safe on the road, as well as help you keep your driving record clean.
Let’s start with the big one that has been grating on every driver’s nerves over the past several years: phone use while driving.
Just don’t do it. Get off your phone.
Don’t text while driving (even if you’re stopped at a red light.) Don’t look up a destination and set up navigation as you’re driving; pull over if you need to set your route. Don’t get distracted by any apps, including those music apps.
Don’t search for anything on your phone while driving. In fact, many phones have settings that will prevent you from using Google or other search engines.
If you must participate in an audio phone call when driving, use hands-free options like Bluetooth and headsets, and make sure you set that up before you put that car in drive.
These days, when most people think of “distracted driving,” they think of phones. However, there are many other distractions, such as changing the radio station, eating, looking back to talk with a passenger, putting on makeup, taking something out of the glove compartment, and so on.
The only thing you should be focused on when you’re behind the wheel is driving safely. Short of a medical emergency, everything else can wait – yes, even that text from your boss.
We would like to think we don’t have to mention this one, but it’s worth repeating time and time again. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t use any mind-altering drugs before getting behind the wheel. You also cannot use marijuana while driving.
If you have been required to use an ignition interlock device to reassure the courts that you are driving responsibly, make sure you follow the rules. Another safe driving tip is to pull over if you must take a rolling retest, which can be a distraction.
Remember basic driving rules and safe driving tips.
We all heard a lot in those driver’s education courses. We may not have remembered all of the rules then, but eventually, we learned to navigate the road. Still, even years later, many of us have questions about specific driving rules.
We won’t rehash every rule here, but if you’re looking for basic driving regulations and safe driving tips, you can find them in this comprehensive guide on the Michigan Secretary of State’s website.
As examples, the following are five lesser-known rules and safe driving tips:
- On a two-lane freeway, the lane on the left is not the “fast lane.” It’s a passing lane, generally speaking. You can use it to get around a slow-moving vehicle or oncoming ramp traffic, but then you should get back into the right lane when you can safely do so. The idea is to prevent traffic from backing up in both lanes, which is what would occur if there is a slow-moving vehicle in each lane. The rule also enables emergency vehicles to use that left lane without having to get around other vehicles.
- If a deer crosses your path, try not to swerve to avoid hitting it, as this may cause you to veer off the road. Additionally, because deer travel in herds, you may just end up hitting a different deer. Instead, try to brake firmly and calmly, if you can do so safely. You can also try honking to scare them off the road. An additional safe driving tip when it comes to deer is to be mindful of the season and the time of day. Deer are most likely to be out at dusk and dawn, as well as during mating season – generally September to December with the most active month being October. They may be hard to see on the side of the road, but you may be able to spot their eyes as they reflect headlights from the road.
- With some exceptions, a general safety tip is to pass a vehicle by using the left lane, not the right. This is especially true if you’re trying to pass a truck. The blind spot is larger at the back right of a truck than it is at the back left of a truck, although that’s a significant blind spot as well. If you can’t see a truck’s side mirrors, the driver probably can’t see you. This principle also potentially prevents an accident that may occur when a driver in the far left lane and a driver in the far right lane both try to merge back into the center lane to get ahead of that slow-moving vehicle.
- Fun fact: There is some logic behind the number of freeways. Odd-numbered freeways travel north-south and increase as you go from the west side of the country to the east. Even-numbered freeways go east-west, from the south to the north.
- One of the most debated and misunderstood rules of the road is about bicyclists. However, the general consensus and recommendation from law enforcement is that they should bike with the flow of traffic, not against the flow of traffic. The reason why makes sense: It’s so that bicyclists can follow the same rules that drivers do. If there’s a red light, they should stop, for example.
For more safe driving tips, visit the Michigan Secretary of State or Michigan State Police websites.