What Are the Most Dangerous Driving Habits?

By Ernest Hamilton , Sep 13, 2019 10:19 PM EDT

Whether you're the parent of a teen who's preparing to drive or you're worried about your own risky driving, there are plenty of things to create anxiety. 

In some situations, the riskiest things we do behind the wheel are related not to anxiety, but overconfidence. When you see yourself as an experienced driver, it can be tempting to be lax in how you do things and how much attention you pay to the road, and in some instances that can be as problematic as being too anxious or inexperienced when you're driving. 

Sometimes having an idea of the biggest risks we face on the road and the worst driving habits can help rectify potentially dangerous behavior and prevent a bad situation from occurring. 

The following are some of the riskiest things people do or encounter when they're behind the wheel. 

Depending On Other Drivers

One of the things that can be so stressful when you're driving is the fact that there are so many moving parts to consider. You can only control yourself and what you're doing at the end of the day, but you might start depending on other drivers to do the right thing to the point that you're not as vigilant as you should be. 

When you're driving, you can't assume another driver is going to do anything, even if it's the right thing to do.

Always be thinking ahead to the fact that the other drivers might run that stop sign or might not let you merge. 

Think ahead rather than only thinking about what's happening at any given moment. 

Not Following the 3-to-4 Second Rule

The biggest risk of being in a collision relates to what's happening in front of you. The three-to-four second rule is something you might have learned about in driver's ed and since forgotten, and if that's the case, it's a good idea to give yourself a refresher. 

You want to make sure you have enough space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you to stop fully if necessary. 

What you have to realize about driving is that again, you can't control other drivers or other vehicles. 

You can only control yourself, and giving yourself enough space between other vehicles is one of the best ways to do that. 

Driving Under the Influence

It may seem obvious that driving under the influence is incredibly dangerous and often deadly, but it's something that people still don't fully understand. We often think about alcohol as being the culprit of accidents involving substances. 

It is, but other substances can impair your driving ability and reaction times as well, including prescription drugs. 

It's important to think about any substances you use and whether or not they could have a possible negative effect on your ability to drive. 

Even a slight slowdown in your reaction time or cognition can have a dangerous result. 

Driving While Tired

Driving while tired can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of mind-altering substances. Some of the newer luxury model vehicles are being equipped with features to help prevent drowsy driving because it's such a significant issue, but that may not be enough.

When you're tired, even if it's just on your afternoon commute home from work, you might have slower reaction times. 

Distracted Driving

If you're the parent of a teen, one of the things you have to find a way to reinforce if they're driving is the danger of distracted driving. 

Distracted driving can include anything from texting and talking on the phone to eating while behind the wheel. 

Even dealing with your kids is an example of distracted driving, and anytime not only your eyes but your mind aren't on the road, it can create a risk for yourself and those around you.

Not Understanding the Limitations of Certain Weather Conditions

Many of us may not understand how much of an impact certain weather conditions can have on our driving. 

One thing to do if the weather is less-than-optimal is slow down, but sometimes people will continue going their normal speed in spite of bad conditions. 

Just because you have an all-wheel-drive vehicle doesn't mean you're able to drive fast in bad weather. 

The Federal Highway Administration reports 24% of all motor vehicle crashes are related to weather.

Take into account the severity of weather conditions, give yourself time to get where you're going and make sure you're leaving enough space between yourself and the car in front of you.

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