Making New Year’s Driving Resolutions to Make the Roads Safer
It’s that time of year again: the time of year for those not-so-subtle reminders from friends and random strangers that your life might be better if only you would commit to making some changes.
I’m not usually the type to make New Year’s resolutions, because I think the other 364 days are all perfectly good times to begin self-improvement. But because of a helpful article from the California Office of Traffic Safety, I am making an exception this year to do my part to make the roads safer.
Here are a few 2016 driving resolutions I’m declaring publicly, and anyone who gets into a car with me should feel free to call me out if I break any of them.
I hereby resolve that, as of January 1, 2016:
1. I will not give in to distractions while driving. Unlike the 31% of drivers who admitted to texting while driving, I don’t usually get distracted by my phone. However, I do get really distracted by music. Invariably, I end up fussing with the radio while I’m driving because I don’t want to hear “Wildest Dreams” for the hundredth time.
Another major distraction for me is seeing interesting plants and birds on the side of the road. If you’re not convinced that this is a real problem, next time you’re driving outside of the city, see what kind of cool raptors you might spot sitting on utility poles. (Wait, don’t actually do that, because it’s really distracting.)
In 2016, I will choose a radio station before I start driving, and I will only botanize and birdwatch from the passenger seat.
2. I will not speed when I’m running late. If you struggle with chronic tardiness like I do, then you know the horrible panic of running late to an event that impels you to speed. You just can’t help it, even though you know it’s dangerous and won’t actually get you there any faster. As a reminder, speeding was a factor in 25% of traffic fatalities in 2014.
In 2016, I will leave the house earlier or simply just accept the consequences of being late.
3. I will not lose my temper behind the wheel. Something about seeing other drivers do crazy things just makes me mad. I don’t even mind getting cut off, but when I see people running red lights or blatantly texting as they drift out of their lane, self-righteousness and anger take over. Road rage is definitely my biggest problem when I’m driving, and I’m not proud of it.
In 2016, I will remember to drive defensively and pull over when I get angry.
Now that I’ve shared my goals for becoming a better driver, check out the California OTS’s post below and see what driving resolutions might make you a safer behind the wheel in 2016. Have a safe and happy new year!
On behalf of the California Office of Traffic Safety:
How to Become a Better Driver in 2016
January is always the time to make resolutions to better oneself – join a gym, manage time more effectively, eat more vegetables… the list goes on. However, the California Office of Traffic Safety is encouraging you to add just one more resolution to your list – resolve to become a better driver in 2016. Here are some simple steps to get you started:
Ditch the Distractions. Passengers, cell phones, food and grooming are all distractions that can cause driver inattention. Make the smart choice this New Year and avoid the distractions. It’s Not Worth It.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol is a Bad Idea. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or any illegal drug or prescription medication. Many people don’t realize that drugged driving is also impaired driving. It doesn’t matter if you have a prescription or take over-the-counter pills, driving while medicated can be just as dangerous as driving after drinking. These substances can seriously affect your ability to drive, so plan ahead and don’t take the risk.
Be Courteous, Share the Roadways. Make sure to check all blind spots before merging or turning, always leave a safe distance – at least three feet – when passing bicyclists, and always double check intersections for pedestrians, especially when driving at evening time. The more aware of your surroundings, the better.
Mind the Rules of the Road. In order to become a better driver in 2016, remember to obey these simple, often-overlooked general traffic rules:
- Come to a complete stop at stop signs and stop lights.
- Follow other cars at a safe distance and speed. Refrain from tailgating and be sure to frequently scan the road for hazards and potential dangerous behaviors.
- Be mindful of your car’s blind spots and be courteous and use your turn signals.
The California Office of Traffic Safety wants to wish you a safe and happy 2016. For more information on safe driving tips or current OTS campaigns, please visit www.ots.ca.gov. Like OTS on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CaliforniaOTS or follow OTS on Twitter at www.twitter.com/OTS_CA.