We all have our bad habits: pressing the snooze button too many times, letting clutter pile up, eating snacks when what you really need is dinner. But when it comes to driving, bad habits aren’t something to be brushed aside.

A small mistake while driving can lead to serious consequences for you, your passengers, and other drivers. Today, HESSCO Roadside Assistance and Towing Innovations explain why these five bad driving habits are worth the effort to fix.

1. Using Your Phone Behind the Wheel

Everyone knows they shouldn’t text and drive, but when your mobile phone rings, it’s easy to rationalize a quick peek. This is especially true if you’re responding to work texts, emails, or phone calls, when time is of the essence, which adds to the stress and urgency to respond. You should have a plan in place to manage incoming information to counter this.

Maybe you can even shoot off a short response while driving on a clear stretch of road. But no matter what you tell yourself, the science shows that texting and driving is unsafe, not to mention illegal.

Avoid distracted driving by waiting to use your phone until you’re safely parked. If it’s urgent, pull over. If you must use your phone for GPS capabilities while you’re driving, affix it to your vents or console area. 

2. Changing Lanes Without Signaling

Safety on the road is all about predictability. But if you’re not using your turn signals, other drivers don’t know which direction your vehicle is going. Using turn signals is as easy as a flick of the finger, so drop the excuses and use your blinker when changing lanes and turning. Another good reason to use your turn signals? You could be fined as much as $150 for failing to use your turn signal.

Distraught truck driver leaning on a steering wheel and having a headache.

3. Driving Under Stress

As you would at home, make the environment in your vehicle a stress-free zone where you can concentrate on the task at hand: driving. Stress can be a huge distraction, as your senses can become overwhelmed, so make it a point to clear out anything that may be leading to your anxiety.

Start with cleaning out the interior; clutter and trash can be the core cause of a lot of stress. Start using a small trash bag to collect trash as you go, so wrappers and other throwaways won’t accumulate on the floor and back seat. 

And when you do experience stress – whether it’s from backed-up or slow traffic, road construction, or bad weather – have ways to cope. Breathing techniques can be used to calm your nerves, as can soothing music, and don’t forget to crack or roll down your windows if possible to let in some fresh air.

4. Ignoring Strange Noises

You know the one — the clank, squeal, or rattle that suddenly appears and doesn’t go away. Not all unusual car noises indicate a serious problem, but unless you know where the sound is coming from, it’s a good move to get it checked out.

Ignoring car problems might save money today, but could cause a breakdown far more expensive and inconvenient than a preventive trip to the mechanic.

5. Tailgating

Tailgating isn’t fun for anyone. If you’re the driver being tailgated, you’re anxious about the car riding your bumper and the potential for a collision. You might even think about brake checking to get the tailgater to back off.

If you’re the tailgating driver, you’re frustrated you can’t go any faster — but inching closer to the car ahead won’t do anything to change that, and in fact, makes traffic worse.

AAA notes that tailgating reduces the time you have to respond to changes in road conditions, increasing your risk of an accident. It also makes driving more stressful for everyone, including you, so just don’t do it. Allow at least a two-second buffer between you and the car ahead of you at all times.

Tailgating may contribute to a reckless driving case if you have an accident. And the last thing you need is a reckless driving charge on your record. Not only will it make your insurance premiums rise, but your insurance provider may drop you. 

Head light

6. Only Using Your Headlights at Night

Good headlights make the difference between clear lines of sight at night and squinting to see the road ahead of you. However, nighttime driving isn’t the only time to turn your headlights on.

CarParts.com points out that headlights help you see the road and help other drivers see you in times of low-visibility. It’s good practice to use your headlights at dusk and dawn and in rainy, snowy, or foggy conditions.

When you drive every day, it’s easy to forget just how many risks there are on the road. But whether it’s your first mile or your millionth, driving deserves your full attention.

Take care of your vehicle, follow the rules of the road, and avoid distracted driving to prevent accidents and stay safe behind the wheel.

HESSCO Roadside Assistance and Towing Innovations specializes in Rapid Response Roadside Assistance and performs the highest-quality professional emergency services with its own large supply of commercial-grade tools.

We take pride in being prompt and well prepared for all scenarios as much as possible. Call (904) 327-9599.