We all know driving is dangerous. We also know there are a ton of terrible drivers out there. And yet, just about everyone claims they are a great driver and it’s everyone else that is terrible.
But if we’re being honest here, none of us are perfect drivers, and I say that as a certified driving instructor. I’m not perfect either.
So, while there are obvious things to avoid like drinking and driving or texting and driving, here is a list of subtle things you should never do while driving, even though a LOT of people do it.
1 – Never Drive With Your Hands At 10 & 2 Position In Modern Cars
While younger drivers are taught the proper steering wheel hand positions, we old people were taught differently.
Most adults who have been driving for 20 years or longer have been taught to place their hands at the 10 and 2 positions on the steering wheel. This is no longer the correct way to hold a steering wheel and you should never drive with your hands at the 10 and 2 positions in modern vehicles.
The NHTSA now recommends holding the steering wheel at the 9 and 3 OR the 4 and 8 positions on the steering wheel.
This is due to airbag deployment in modern cars. You can still keep just of good of control on the steering wheel with these new recommended positions, but you lower the risk of injury in an accident drastically by avoiding unwanted airbag impacts with your hands, wrists, and arms.
Driving can be a dangerous business. Every year, a shocking number of people lose their life or are severely injured while traveling in vehicles. Unfortunately, most people think of driving as a boring yet necessary task. Instead of paying attention to what they’re doing behind the wheel and what is going on around them, these drivers engage in several dangerous activities. How many of the following ten dangerous things do you do while driving?
2 – Never Drive With Two Feet
The obvious exception to this rule is when driving a manual transmission vehicle. For this one, we’re just talking about automatic transmission vehicles.
Some other exceptions are a bit less obvious, such as drivers with certain physical limitations. However, the VAST majority of drivers should never use two feet on the pedals while driving.
Have you ever been driving and see a car with its brake lights illuminated simply while driving down the street? Chances are, that’s a two-footed driver.
Two-footed drivers often unknowingly rest their left foot on the brake pedal just enough to activate the brake lights. In the worst cases, someone who drives with two feet will put tremendous strain on their entire brake system.
There is also something called the “two-footed panic.” Many people who drive with two feet press down on both the gas pedal and brake pedal during an emergency stop.
Those who drive with two feet are typically also more jerky in their driving, along with a multitude of other minor issues.
If you drive with two feet, get out of that habit right now.
3 – Never Put The Seatbelt Shoulder Strap Behind Your Back When Driving
Yeah, seatbelts are uncomfortable, but if you don’t wear them properly, you might as well not wear them at all. While pretty straightforward, your life and limb could depend on you knowing how to wear a seatbelt properly, so taking the 2 minutes to read this guide isn’t a terrible idea.
Having the shoulder strap behind your back is illegal in most places, and will get you the same citation as not having the seatbelt on at all. You need to be wearing the seatbelt as it was intended.
If the shoulder strap is uncomfortable for you, there are many accessories you can buy to make it more comfortable, such as locking the seatbelt in a looser position (not recommended but better than having the shoulder strap behind your back), or specially designed cushions to make make it more comfortable. Bottom line, wear your seatbelt as it was designed.
4 – Never Drive In The Left Lane Of An Expressway Unless You’re Passing
Many people call the left lane of the expressway the “fast lane” but I don’t like that term. Just because you’re going “fast” doesn’t mean that’s the lane you should be in. The left lane is the “passing lane”. It’s used for PASSING.
There are some exceptions to this rule, but those exceptions are obvious. Moving over for a stopped emergency vehicle on the right shoulder, needing to take a left-hand exit ramp, using an HOV (high occupancy vehicle or otherwise known as carpool) lane, etc.
However, in general, you should never drive in the left lane unless you are passing or about to pass someone. Always move back over to the right if you’re not passing.
5 – Never Drive Next To A Large Vehicle Longer Than You Have To
As a former truck driver, I just can’t stress this enough. Stay the hell away from large vehicles.
I don’t care if you’re driving in a congested city, country road, or open highway – give large vehicles as much room as possible.
Not only are there huge blind spots to contend with, but large vehicles are prone to mechanical mishaps that can give you a very bad day.
For example, do you ever see shredded tires on highways? Of course, you do. That’s because large trucks have tire blowouts ALL – THE – TIME. You do NOT want to be near a truck when that happens.
Those slabs of rubber can smash through your windshield, and if a truck blows a steer tire, it could send the truck sharply into your lane with zero warning.
There are so many reasons to give large vehicles a lot of space that this could be an entire article on its own. Just give them room.
6 – Never Assume Railroad Tracks Are Safe To Cross
Most drivers cross railroad tracks without a care in the world. If the lights aren’t flashing, people drive right on by.
But if railroad crossing lights are so reliable, then why do busses and trucks carrying hazardous cargo need to stop at every crossing by law?
Because those railroad crossing lights are NOT that reliable.
Sure, let’s say they work 99% of the time. That means if 100 trains go through that crossing every month, the crossing lights will fail 12 times per year.
To be fair, the failure rate is much lower than that, but they are certainly not 100% safe. They can and do fail all the time, and trust me, you don’t want to have an accident with a train. You’ll lose every time.
Look, listen, and live in the campaign most of us have heard before, but do you do it?
When approaching railroad tracks, slow down, look down the tracks to see if any trains are coming, and listen for any possible trains that are close by.
7 – Never Drive With Cruise Control In Heavy Rain, Snow, Or Ice
Cruise control is pretty great. Many people are too nervous to use cruise control, but for those of us who drive long distances on occasion, it makes driving much more comfortable.
There are some situations you should never use cruise control, however. This is mostly the case when driving in rain, snow, or ice. Cruise control is not designed to handle these road conditions and can cause your vehicle to lose control.
8 – Never Wave Someone Through Traffic
Most of us try our best to be courteous drivers, but times are being too nice can cause a very dangerous situation.
When you are stopped in traffic, it is courteous to leave space if there is a driveway, side street, or business entrance. This enables people to turn into or out of that area enough space so they don’t need to wait for traffic to move and unblock the area they need to go to.
While it is a great idea (and often legally required) to leave that gap, you should never, ever, ever direct anyone through. Many car accidents occur at these types of intersections because someone got waved through traffic, only to get struck by a vehicle driving down another lane or on the shoulder of the road.
You do not want to be responsible for someone else. Let them proceed when they feel it is safe, not when you say so.
9 – Never Escalate A Road Rage Situation
Here’s the truth most people don’t like to admit – we ALL get road rage. Yes, even your grandma. If you don’t ever get road rage, there’s a pretty decent chance you’re not human.
It is critically important that you keep your composure while driving. Many accidents, injuries, and even deaths occur because someone made a dumb decision in a moment of rage – like brake checking another vehicle, cutting another vehicle off out of revenge, etc.
You should also never engage with anyone who is actively engaging in road rage. Get as far away from them as possible.
Road rage can make otherwise pretty reasonable people lose their minds. Violence and even shootings happen very frequently in road rage events. You never know who you’re dealing with, and winning such a petty ego battle is not worth it.
Let them “win” and move on with your life. You’ll be over it by the end of the day.
10 – Never Drive On Medications Without Reading The Warning Label First
Did you know that you can get a DUI charge without ever drinking any alcohol or doing any illegal drugs? Prescription and even some over-the-counter drugs are enough to land you in jail with a DUI charge.