When you are in your car, especially if you are alone, it can sometimes feel like there is no one in the world but you.
Remember, though, you are not the only person on the road. In fact, at any given time of the day, there are probably going to be hundreds of drivers travelling the same route that you are. This means that not only do you have to pay attention to everything that you are doing behind the wheel, you also need to keep an eye on the drivers around you and anticipate what they are going to do. It is important that we all drive safely and share the road, so that everyone, from auto drivers to motorcycle riders to bicyclists and pedestrians, can be safe. Here are some important tips for sharing the road:
- Stay within the posted speed limit:
It doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, or how much traffic is on the road; it is important that you always drive within the posted speed limit. These limits are posted for a reason, and if you do not follow them, at best you will get a speeding ticket. At worst, you could end up in an accident with another driver or pedestrian.
- Be careful when changing lanes:
You must never just cut in front of another driver, especially if you are going at higher speeds on the highways. If you have not signalled and slowly merged into the lane you want, the drivers around you have no idea that you plan to do so. You could cause other drivers to have to slam on their brakes, which could lead to accidents. Before changing lanes, look all around to make sure that there is no one in your way, and don’t forget to check your blind spot. Signal to let others know you are merging, and then slowly merge into the lane.
- Do not provoke other drivers:
There are way too many cases of road rage these days, and it is so easy to set someone off when they are behind the wheel. Cutting another driver off is a good way to initiate road rage, as well as making rude gestures if they do something you do not like. Only pay attention to how others are driving, and do not do anything that is going to provoke anyone.
- Do not be an aggressive driver:
Although it is important that you always drive offensively and defensively, you must never drive aggressively. This means that you are not speeding, running stop signs and red lights, passing dangerously, cutting other drivers off, etc. Even if you are in a hurry, if you drive like this, you may find that you are much later than you expected, because you have ended up in an accident and are in the hospital, or even worse.
Sharing the Road with Bikes
Other cars and trucks are not the only thing you have to worry about when you are on the roads. There are also motorcycles, scooters and bicycles to always be on the lookout for. In order for everyone to be safe on the roads, here are a few tips for drivers sharing the road with bikes and motorcycles:
- Watch out for bicycles:
If you are using a road that is a designated bicycle route, it is imperative that you always be on the lookout for cyclists. Riders have very little protection, with the exception of helmets, knee pads and elbow pads, and an accident involving a bicycle is often a very serious one.
- Learn about hand signals:
Bicycle riders do not have signal lights as a rule, and they rely on using hand signals when they are getting ready to make turns. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with these hand signals, especially if you often drive along routes with bike riders. The left arm held out straight means the driver is turning left. If the left arm is out straight with the arm bent at a right angle at the elbow, the rider is turning right. If the left hand is pointing downward, the rider is about to slow down or come to a stop.
- Motorcycles are not the problem:
Believe it or not, it is motorists, and not motorcycle riders, who cause most of the accidents involving motorcycles. Many drivers are not as vigilant about watching for bikes as they are other cars, and they often do not even see one when they pull in front of it, which can lead to accidents. During the spring, summer and fall months, make sure that you are always watching for motorcycles.
Sharing the Road with Pedestrians
You are probably going to be sharing most of the roads you drive on with pedestrians, and there is one rule of thumb to remember: pedestrians always have the right of way. You always need to be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially if you are driving in residential neighbourhoods where there are many children around. If you see a pedestrian coming to a crosswalk, you should come to a stop and allow them to cross in front of you. Wait until they have reached the other side of the street before you pull away.
Most of the time, pedestrians will be using sidewalks. But there may be times when this is not possible, and they must walk along the shoulder of the road. If this is the case, you should slow down, and try to give the pedestrians as much room as possible. If there is another car coming in the opposite direction, let them get by, then go around the pedestrians.
There are millions of people driving, biking and walking on roads all over the world, and when you are driving, you are sharing the roads with every other driver out there.
Drive safely, drive defensively, and drive offensively.
Be courteous of other drivers, and watch for motorcycles and bicycles. Give pedestrians the right of way. Following these rules just may save your life or someone else’s.