Driving tips and reminders new and old drivers will want a refresher on

A few tips and tricks to stay out of the ditch

William Wright, Staff Writer

High school is the time where many students begin to receive their driver’s licenses, but that level of responsibility can have serious consequences. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the CDC, 73 percent of teen deaths through unintentional injury were a cause of motor vehicle traffic accidents.

The most effective precaution is to stay focused. A driver needs to be able to efficiently filter information in order to stay safe on the roads.

This means being well aware of vehicles in the immediate vicinity, the road ahead and the location of the vehicle. It also entails blocking out things like the radio, phone notifications and passenger chatter.

However, drivers do not always have control over their state of focus, and that is why drowsy driving is discouraged and driving under the influence of drugs, including alcohol, is illegal.

The emotional state of a driver is also a large contributor to a lack of driving focus. A bad day can take someone’s thoughts off the road and onto another, less immediately pressing issue.

It is very important when driving to carefully manage the speed of the vehicle. Every road has a speed limit and, as the name entails, it is not legally permissible to go above it. Many people will regularly go five or even ten miles per hour above the speed limit, and though doing so rarely gets anyone in too much trouble, it still increases the risk of an accident.

Drivers should always be watching for speed limit signs and to make sure to follow them instead of simply matching the speed of the person directly ahead. Remember also that going too slow is just as much of a danger as going faster than allowed.

While still on the topic of following other cars, many people discredit the need for a considerable “following distance,” or space between two cars. Drivers cannot always predict how quickly another driver will stop or how fast or slow they will end up going.

Tailgaters are generally disliked and being one puts a driver, as well as the person they are following, in higher danger of a collision. Make sure to be paying close attention to the other drivers nearby.

One thing people don’t often think of is the use of headlights in daylight. While many see it primarily as a means of increasing road visibility, it also has a use for making the car itself more visible. Even during the day, headlights will draw attention to a car, making it more likely for pedestrians and other drivers to notice it.

In the winter season especially, slippery and uncooperative roads can be a monumental challenge to new and old drivers. It is best to take it slow, both with the car itself and with the steering wheel. If the car goes too fast on a turn or swerves a bit while just driving on an icy day, it could end up wrecked at the side of the road.

Also, since brakes and ice rarely agree, it is good for a driver to make sure they have some extra slowing-down space if the roads are affected by the winter weather.

Brighton itself is stationed at the intersection of two major highways, meaning many drivers take the opportunity to use this type of speedy route to travel along with its, at times, icy or snowy asphalt, distracted drivers and high-speeding. It is important to keep safety in mind when out on any road, especially at this time of year. The journey is just as important as the destination.