We all have bad habits, whether it’s nail biting or talking during movies. But when you develop bad driving habits, the consequences can be a lot more serious than annoying your friends at the theatre. The best way to fix bad habits is to replace them with good ones, so here are five common bad driving habits – and five good habits you can replace them with.
Checking your phone while driving
In 2017, distracted driving caused 83 road fatalities in Ontario, making it the province’s deadliest driving behaviour for the fifth year in a row. As a result, the provincial government has instituted tough new laws that increase the penalties for distracted driving, including higher fines, more demerit points, and an automatic license suspension – even for first offences. If you’re guilty of checking your phone behind the wheel, you can start changing your behaviour with a few easy switches. Take brief calls on hands-free devices, pull over for longer phone conversations, and put your phone in the glove compartment or backseat if you’re too tempted to pick it up.
Paying too much for car expenses
Owning a car is a major expense, but there are many steps that you can take to save money. You can save on gas by changing the way you drive: Natural Resources Canada recommends five fuel-efficient driving habits that could reduce your fuel consumption by as much as 25 percent. Another major expense is car insurance, so investigate ways to lower your bill, such as comparing quotes between competitors to find the best deal and asking your insurer about available discounts.
Skipping routine maintenance
When it comes to your car, sticking to a routine maintenance schedule can prolong the life of your vehicle. If you’re not sure where to start, check your vehicle owner’s manual, which should have a maintenance schedule that is specific to your car. Some standard maintenance jobs you should commit to are changing your oil, replacing your air filters, rotating your tires, and washing and waxing your car. In addition, fixing small problems as they arise will help prevent bigger – and costlier – fixes down the road.
Driving on too little sleep
Transport Canada reports that 60 percent of Canadians have driven while fatigued, and 15 percent have actually fallen asleep behind the wheel. Given those high numbers of drowsy drivers, it’s no surprise that an estimated 20 percent of fatal collisions involve driver fatigue. If you’re usually sleepy on your morning commute, it’s time to change up your sleeping routine so you can get a better nights rest. This can include implementing a regular sleep schedule, creating a soothing bedtime routine, engaging in light exercise every day, and investing in a comfortable mattress and pillows.
Over-relying on your car’s technology
You might be surprised to learn that your car’s safety technology might not be keeping you as safe as you thought. In fact, many studies have shown that drivers are over-relying on technology, rather than their own judgement, and it’s resulting in lazier habits and riskier behaviour. One study found that drivers using blind-spot detection systems were less likely to actually look over their shoulder and check their blind spot before changing lanes. Another study uncovered that drivers who were aware they had an anti-lock brake system drove faster, followed closer and braked later than those who weren’t. If you think you’ve fallen into this habit, it’s time to get back to your driving basics, like always checking your mirrors and blind spots.
It’s never too late to change your bad habits! And when it comes to driving, adopting better behaviour behind the wheel will save you money, protect your vehicle, and keep you and your passengers safe.