Do you have bad driving habits? This may seem like a pretty straight forward question; however, you may be surprised to hear people defending their good driving as they speed along with a cell phone in their hand. There really is some pretty crazy driving out there at times.

You have likely seen some things that made you shake your head – passing on the right, changing lanes without signaling, speeding up through a yellow light – all bad moves. Most think they are very good drivers, considerate of other drivers and in keeping with the rules of the road. But, some of those rules are being bent.

The best prevention is awareness – here is a list of the top five most dangerous things people do behind the wheel:

Tailgating

How close is too close? Tailgating is nothing short of dangerous, and the chances of an accident go way up! Not only does it put you in danger, but others as well. Stay back, stay calm and give yourself the time you need to make good driving decisions. Remember, if you are in an accident where you hit another car from the rear, you will likely be found at fault for following too close.

Driving tired

Driving tired has been compared to being as dangerous as driving while intoxicated, and this can certainly lead to accidents. The Canada Safety Council reports that fatigue is a factor in about one in every five accidents. Be sure you have had a solid night sleep before you hit the road – if you are tired,, yawning or having a hard time keeping your peepers open, pull over for everyone’s safety.

Obstructing traffic when lost

There is nothing more stressful than finding yourself lost while driving in the city traffic, or maybe you just can’t find the address you are looking for – what can you do? Most drivers just slow down and look around to figure things out. Believe it or not – this will certainly mean more trouble for you than simply being late – it can be dangerous. Other motorists can get impatient and stressed as well, and may start driving aggressively. Best advice is to pull over; get out of the flow of traffic until you know where you are going.

Pickups and drop-offs in high traffic areas

Whether it be at a school, intersection or no-stopping zone, allowing passengers (especially children) to enter or exit your vehicle in these areas is dangerous. One of the worst times of the day for pedestrian-motor vehicle collisions is during rush hour. Seriously, it is called rush hour for a reason – everyone is in a rush! During drop-off or pickup, always pull off to a safe area or designated “drop-off” zone so that your commute is safe for everyone.

Distracted driving

Saving the best – I mean worst – for last. Distracted driving has become a serious concern on our roads – whether you are eating lunch, playing with the radio or on your cell phone, you are distracted and that is dangerous. Texting and driving has become one of the leading causes of accidents on our roads, equally dangerous to driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, unfortunately drivers are not getting the message. However, some insurance companies have upped the impact it can have on your rating. Distracted driving used to be considered a minor conviction industry wide. But some companies have scrapped that definition and now classify it as a major conviction. What does that mean for you? If you are charged you would no longer qualify for the standard auto insurance markets, even if you had no other blemishes on your record. Driving campaigns continue to encourage drivers to keep their eyes and mind on the road for the safety of everyone!

Breaking bad habits doesn’t happen overnight, but being aware of your behavior while driving is the first step to prevention against unsafe driving. Do your part to make our roads safer for everyone!

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