There’s just something about climbing into the driver’s seat of a freshly-cleaned vehicle and hitting the open road on a beautiful spring day. It feels good to roll the windows down, smell the fresh air and feel the warm breeze as you drive until you reach your destination.
Driving can be an enjoyable experience for those neighbors who drive safely, but it can be devastating for those who over time have developed some bad driving habits. It’s smart for us to evaluate our own driving from time to time. Of course if you are married, your spouse may do that for you already — if you know what I mean. Regardless, it’s always a good idea to make sure that you are always a safe driver.
If you have been driving for a number of years, you tend to feel comfortable with the road. This is good, but don’t let your confidence override safety. Your life and the lives of your neighbors and loved ones are far more important than getting somewhere on time.
Take a moment and evaluate your driving by reviewing the following bad driving habits.
Failing to signal. It’s important to let other drivers and pedestrians know your next move so they can slow down and accommodate. Signal at least 100 feet in advance.
Rolling through stop signs. Even if you think the streets are clear, come to a complete stop before turning or proceeding into the intersection. If you don’t and the intersection is not an all-way stop, you may cause a crash.
Slowing down to look at crashes or construction. “Rubbernecking” is not only dangerous, but can also contribute to a chain reaction of slowed traffic. Keep your eyes on the road ahead so you can stay alert to closed lanes or police officers directing traffic after a crash.
Running yellow or red lights. It can increase your chance of a crash. If the light turns yellow before you reach the intersection, it’s best not to risk it.
Disregarding the speed limit. Though posted speed limits vary by state, use the following ranges as a general guide if you don’t see a posted limit:
• Residential area, 15 to 30 mph;
• Undivided road (rural), 40 to 55 mph; and
• Divided road (rural), 55 to 65 mph.
Neighbors, the next time you get in your vehicle, think about what matters most — getting to your destination safely. Kick those bad driving habits especially if your loved ones are riding with you. They are counting on you and so are those neighbors driving near you. Let’s all drive safely!
I always like to close my column by sharing this truth that I live by: The key to having a successful life begins with being a good neighbor, building relationships based on honesty and trust working hard to make a difference for your family and community and being thankful for all the blessings along the way.
Justin Mays is a local businessman who serves neighbors in Bell and Harlan counties in Kentucky and Claiborne County in Tennessee. He may be reached at [email protected]