Back to basics: 7 commonly forgotten driving rules

As memories of your driving school days get smaller and smaller in your rear-view mirror, it’s easy to pick up bad driving habits and forget some of the basics. While advanced driver assistance systems (like blind spot sensors and automatic braking systems) can make driving a newer vehicle feel like a breeze, it’s still important to follow the rules of the road to avoid a collision. Keep these five basics in mind next time you hit the road:

  • Drive for the conditions of the road. Posted speed limits don’t change based on traffic and weather conditions, but the way you’re driving should. If the roads are busier than usual, are wet, or are covered in ice or snow after a blizzard, adjust your speed accordingly and proceed with caution.
  • When parked on a hill, turn your steering wheel to prevent your car from rolling. When you’re parking on a hill, engage your parking brake and turn your steering wheel so your tires are pointed away from the curb when you’re parked facing uphill and turn your tires towards the curb when you’re facing downhill. This way, your vehicle will roll towards the curb (instead of into oncoming traffic) if it shifts out of park or is hit from behind by another driver.
  • Signal your intent when exiting a roundabout. As daunting as they may seem, roundabouts function best when drivers navigate them properly and follow some simple rules. One of the most forgotten rules is to use your right signal to let other drivers know that you’re ready to exit the roundabout, no matter which exit you’re taking.
  • Always come to a complete stop when making a right turn at a red light. As we get more comfortable on the roads, it’s common to become complacent or build bad habits. But neglecting to come to a complete stop at a red light when making a right turn could lead to a costly fine or a collision with oncoming traffic. Even if the coast is clear, always come to a complete stop for three full seconds before turning into traffic.
  • Keep to the right on multi-lane roadways if you’re not passing. Unless you’re about to make a left turn or are passing slower traffic, always keep to the right to allow traffic to flow freely. Staying out of the left lane will also reduce the risk of sparking road rage in other drivers who are trying to pass.
  • Remember who has the right of way at a four-way stop or when a traffic light is out. There are two things to keep in mind at a four-way stop or a non-functioning traffic light: 1) People get to pass through the intersection in the order in which they arrive — so the first vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist to stop at the intersection has the right of way. 2) If multiple people arrive at the intersection at the same time, they should pass though in a clockwise order — so the driver, pedestrian, or cyclist to your right goes first.
  • Don’t drive distracted. Accidents can happen fast, so driving requires your undivided attention. Activities like texting, eating, or checking your GPS can not only distract you, but they can also lead to collisions or careless driving charges. Before you hit the gas, it’s a good idea to prepare your GPS, put your phone on silent and keep it out of sight, and take full advantage of some basic technology and tools to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

    Sometimes accidents happen, even when you drive carefully and follow the rules of the road. Contact us to make sure you have the coverage you need to protect you in the event of a collision.

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