For many drivers on the road, their test was something that happened years or even decades ago. However, even if you were sat next to your examiner only days ago, that still doesn’t make you the perfect driver. Whether you’ve just taken off your L plates or have been behind the wheel for most of your life, we all make driving mistakes now and then. Some of these errors cost little more than a glare from your fellow drivers, but others are much more costly. To protect your car, bank balance, driving record, and health, here are ten common driving mistakes you must avoid.
1. Warming Up The Car
Sitting in a cold car on a winter’s morning is definitely far from fun, but the costs that can come from not doing this are even less pleasant. As tempting as it can be to leave your car to warm up, while you scrape away the ice and snow, it’s something that you should avoid. As well as being illegal in some places, this also damages the motor, uses more fuel, and causes the exhaust pipe to rust quicker, all of which are frustrating and potentially expensive problems.
2. Leaving Snow Up Top
While you shouldn’t leave your car running while you scrape away the snow, that doesn’t mean that you can skip this crucial task. Some areas give out hefty fines to drivers who fail to clear snow off their roofs and windows. While your town may not do the same, leaving snow up top is still a risk. After all, if there were a large gust of wind or you had to brake suddenly, this snow could fall onto your windshield or one of another car, which might result in an accident.
3. Overlooking The Tire Pressure
Many cars have an indicator light for low tire pressure on their dashboard. Whether your vehicle has one or not, however, you must still check your tire pressure regularly. This is especially crucial before any long journeys and after drastic weather changes. This quick and easy maintenance task can help to avoid loss of control and blowouts, both of which often cause dangerous accidents. Maintaining the correct pressure will also improve fuel efficiency, cutting gas costs.
4. Allowing Yourself To Drink
There are some driving “mistakes” that you have no excuse for. Insurance companies tend to try to pin the fault of accidents on you so that they don’t need to pay out. You can read more here about this issue, but, if you want to avoid the problem yourself, then drink driving is one action you can never make. Getting behind the wheel after ingesting alcohol puts a lot of people at risk, including yourself. It costs a lot less, both financially and morally, to book yourself a taxi instead.
5. Speeding At Yellow Lights
Yellow lights are a signal for you to slow down before a red stop light. Everyone knows this, but, unfortunately, few people act on it. Instead, they do the opposite and speed up at yellow lights to avoid being stuck at a red one. This mistake is one that often results in intersection collisions, causing serious injuries and pricey damages. The easy solution to this problem is to stop when you should. You’ll be waiting a lot longer after an accident than you would be at a red light.
6. Using A Premium Fuel
The performance of your car is incredibly important. After all, your vehicle will require fewer repairs and use less fuel the better it performs. This is why many drivers choose to use premium fuel. However, unless your car’s manufacturer specifically states that it needs this pricier option, then there’s no point in splashing out. It won’t improve the performance of your vehicle and might instead make it run incorrectly, which will cost you even more money in the long run.
7. Wearing The Wrong Shoes
Wearing suitable footwear is a must if you’re going to drive your car safely. While you may feel comfortable in flip flops or sandals, especially throughout the summer, these types of shoes have been known to cause accidents. This is because they tend to slip off the pedals and get stuck in mats in the footwells. Your insurance company may cover the cost of the accident, even if your unsuitable shoes caused it, but the payment will probably be significantly reduced.
8. Sitting Too Far Back
While you should feel comfortable sat behind the wheel of your car, there is such a thing as too much comfort. Positioning the seat quite far back in the car will give you more legroom, making driving more pleasant. However, this position can also be dangerous. When you’re seated so far back, it causes a lack of control, as well as delayed reaction times. You can also face serious injuries if an airbag deploys. It’s crucial that you sit upright, with your shoulders on the backrest.
9. Letting Pets Roam Free
Most of us view our pets as another member of the family. This is why we often take our furry friends along with us when we head off on vacation or another long journey. If you intend to do the same, then you must make sure that your pets are secure in the back. Allowing them to roam free is dangerous and even illegal in some places. As well as hurting themselves, they could hurt or distract you, either one of which could make crash your vehicle.
10. Ignoring School Zone Signs
We all know that school zone signs are there to keep children and teachers safe. However, few people understand that the rules of these signs are to be followed no matter the time of day or year it is. Even if it’s the weekend or a school holiday, you need to stick to the speed limit. There are often speed cameras situated around these signs, which means that, if you assume you can speed up, just because it’s a Saturday, then you could be handed a hefty fine.
Driving is expensive enough, so make sure that you avoid the mistake above to keep costs as low as possible.