Avoid These 7 Bad Driving Habits

Mom driving distracted: texting and eating while driving

Most of us have been driving for so long, we sometimes take safety for granted. Here’s a friendly reminder of mistakes to avoid and bad habits you should break.

  1. Distracted Driving
    Drivers can be distracted by a lot of things, including shaving, applying makeup, texting and talking on a cell phone. Even when you talk hands-free, the National Safety Council (NSC) warns of “inattention blindness,” where your brain absorbs only half of what’s happening on the road.
  2. Drunk Driving
    Drugs and alcohol impair your judgment and your reaction time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 30 people die in the U.S. every day due to auto accidents involving an impaired driver. If you’ve had one too many, take a taxi and never let a friend or loved one drive drunk.
  3. Disregarding the Speed Limit
    The faster you drive, the less control you have of the vehicle, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Nearly 1/3 of all motor-vehicle fatalities occurred in speed-related crashes. Know the limit and stick to it.
  4. Ignoring the Weather
    Bad weather reduces visibility and can make your vehicle harder to maneuver safely. The Federal Highway Administration estimates that almost a quarter of all U.S. traffic accidents are weather-related. Check the forecast before you head out, and program a radio station with regular weather reports on your dial. In severe storms, stay off the road until conditions improve.
  5. Not Wearing Seat Belts
    Too many of us still haven’t gotten the message. According to the IIHS, the top reasons people give for not wearing safety belts are forgetfulness, discomfort and that they’re only driving a short distance. But there’s really no excuse: safety belts reduce the risk of injury in a car crash by 50%, says the NSC.
  6. Tailgating
    It’s not only rude and annoying but needlessly dangerous. Tailgating another vehicle reduces your visibility and puts you in immediate peril if the vehicle in front stops or slows suddenly. Think ahead and keep a safe distance.
  7. Improper Maintenance
    Chipped or dirty windshields, worn wiper blades, bald or under-inflated tires, broken lights: they’re all safety hazards or an accident waiting to happen. Give your car regular checkups to stay safe on the road.

Explore GEICO’s many safety resources, including our auto safety guides and Parent Teen Driving Contract.

By David Wright

Next article: 7 Ways to Avoid Road Rage

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  1. Carolyn Farley says

    I see too much tailgating and use of cell phone. Especially women and older people.
    Also, speeding thru red lights. That is see from younger generation men.
    I am 76 and do everything I can to drive safely.

  2. Kim nance says

    Tailgating/aggressive driving and/or People on cell phones are the worst offenders I see. And people on cell phones absolutely are not paying attention to whats going on on the roads.

  3. Karen Enders says

    The things I see every day i drive are failure to use turn signals for lane changes/turning and failure to use headlights at dusk and in rain/fog/snow. Not to mention texting/talking on cell phone, running red lights and speeding. And then there are the drivers that pass a stopped school bus and don’t pull over for ER vehicles. (although there are also drivers going the opposite direction from a stopped bus on a 4 lane street who stop for school bus, although they are not supposed to, this could also cause an accident)

    • W L Doering says

      ONE safety rule that I drive by is drop a dime on any driver that i truly believe is impaired and let the enforcement officals check them out, I’m not too proud to give my name to an agency when I make a call !! One parent even contacted me for calling when they didn’t even know that their child ever even tried alchol (old fart driver)

  4. Karen DeWitt says

    The “bad driving habits I most often notice (and which are most irritating potentially dangerous) are 1. Not using the turn signals, so that I don’t know their intention, and 2. Cutting in front of me and then slowing down ?!, as well as 3. Driving slower than other traffic in the faster lanes, and refusing to move to the right, even though being passed on the left and the right by frustrated driers!!! ?

  5. Veronica Onwunaka says

    These facts are very true and can save lives. I appreciate the tips and will share with my family and friends.

  6. Fred Rodriguez says

    Drivers fail to do the most simple things like giving a turn signal to let other drivers know their intentions. I have also seen pedestrians not move out of the way for an emergency vehicle with lights and siren on. Drivers also park their vehicles in the middle of the street instead of pulling over completely to talk to someone.

  7. Kwame says

    Yes, it’s true tailgating is another way to get crush. I remember my second accident thought its was the other driver fault but I was so closer to the other vehicle. And also sleeping enough hour can be challenge to some of the drivers. My first accident. I wasn’t sleep enough before the accident happen. I slept after I stopped on the traffic light and another car behind me blow horns on me and I moved so fast I didn’t reliaze that there was a car ahead of me. Thanks for this article! Now our days I learned a lot about save driving

  8. Emma Prince says

    Tailgating and texting. Years ago someone hit me in the back, because the driver was texting. I had stopped because of the red light and he kept on going.

  9. Roberta L. Whitt says

    I have witnessed many young drivers whom for some reason or other “Speeding!”and it is difficult tagging them while I’m concentrating on my moving vehicle. If I gas up to keep up with them, I will be the one to get the speeding ticket and no policeman will take my word for trying to do a good deed. That makes me, the law breaker. So what should I do?

  10. Jerry Schmide says

    Just good reminders for all level of drivers. Most of us are guilty of not following all of suggested good driving habits 100% of the time.

  11. Alex Jennings says

    With most of us using vehicles for transportation, it’s important that we’re aware of common mistakes and bad habits, so we can be more safe. For example, a good friend of mine was hit on a crosswalk because the driver was distracted by his phone. Luckily, she was able to cover her medical bills by hiring a personal injury attorney, but that doesn’t negate her physical and mental damage. It’s important to obey the law—it’s for your own benefit!

    • Lee says

      I know someone stepping off curb, it was called j walking. Person hit him while on cell phone. He was engaged to be married that year. That all changed because he became paralyzed from neck down, had to move back in with his parents. Girl left him. He couldn’t do anything about it, the guy didn’t even get a ticket. Totally wrong