There are nearly 6 million driving accidents each year in the United States. While most would be comforted to know that these accidents are caused purely by weather conditions or unavoidable circumstances, the majority of them are caused by driver negligence. Of course, we all have moments where we are not 100 percent focused on the road in front of us, but the real problem lies in poor driving practices that become daily habits. Here is a list of some of the biggest poor driving habits to avoid from your automotive experts at Master Muffler.

1. No More Suicide Lanes

At times, when attempting to make a left turn onto a busy street where there is no traffic light, drivers find themselves clearing half of the traffic by pulling into the turn lane as they await the passage of vehicles on the far side. This is incredibly dangerous and leads to many accidents every year. Oncoming vehicles need that lane to turn into where you are pulling out of. Resist the temptation to use this far turning lane as a left turn go-between lane and simply wait for both sides of traffic to clear. 

2. Blinking in a Blink

The purpose of a blinker is not to provide the driver with the satisfying sound of ticking, rather, it is to alert other drivers of your intention to turn. How you use your blinker influences the decisions of other drivers on the road around you. Activate your blinker at least 100 feet away from where you will be turning. It is also important that you don’t initiate your blinker and then avoid the turn. This can cause other cars to pull out in front of you, inspiring an accident.

3. Driving in the Merge Lane

When you are on the freeway, make sure you aren’t interrupting another vehicle’s ability to merge properly. When a driver is attempting to merge onto the freeway and there is a wall of vehicles preventing their safe passage, this can cause high-speed accidents. Though the merging vehicle has the responsibility to get up to proper speed and keep a diligent eye out for highway traffic, it is usually safer if you put a lane of space between you and them. 

4. Turning into the Far Lane

When at a traffic light in a single left-turn lane, your designated lane, upon making the turn, is the lane that is furthest left. Remember that those turning right, moving in the same direction have a right to the far right lane, meaning turning left into the far lane can cause an accident with those turning right. This is a very common cause of accidents and can be easily avoided. Even if there are no other cars in sight, make a habit of turning into the correct land. 

5. Accelerating Quickly and Stopping Short

Though rapid acceleration and poor braking increase the likelihood of accidents, they also damage your vehicle over time. Be sure to accelerate smoothly, avoiding punching the gas at low RPMs or when in a high gear. Also, give yourself space to stop. This will reduce wear on your breaks and increase their life. 

6. Tailgating

No one can control the traffic ahead of them. For this reason, it is very unwise (and illegal) to drive too closely to the vehicle in front of you. When driving at higher speeds, the rule of thumb is to put three seconds of following distance between you and the vehicle you’re trailing. This will help give you the time you need to stop if traffic comes to an abrupt halt. 

Drive Smart. Save Money and Lives.

Most of us felt the full weight of our driving responsibilities when we took our first driving exam and hit the road as a newly-licensed motor vehicle operator. However, with time, perhaps we got a little lazy. Following best driving practices is a good way to ensure our safety, the safety of others on the road, and the safety of our vehicles. Next time you hit the road, make sure you have the above insights in mind as we all strive to make the road a bit safer. As a leader in auto care and auto repair in Utah and Idaho, Master Muffler cares not just about the cars, but the people inside them. Stay safe out there.