There are incredible perks to having a car on campus. You can get to class faster, go to the grocery store at will, and drive home without waiting for a friend to give you a ride. However, owning a car does have its share of risk, so you must be responsible. If you’re going to be zipping around campus, be careful and follow these tips to navigate the road to safety.
Practice Defensive Driving
Having a car in college is something you need to take very seriously because while you need to follow the rules, you also have to worry about the other drivers. As such, you’ll need to practice defensive driving. That term means many things, and some of the most critical aspects are taking your time, going the speed limit, and coming to a complete stop at lights and stop signs. You never know when a fellow student could be speeding by and cause a crash.
Defensive driving also means keeping a safe distance to avoid a rear-end collision. By staying back at least a full car length, you’ll also be able to identify hazards on the road ahead so you can react safely instead of grabbing the wheel and potentially hurting yourself or your vehicle.
In addition to keeping you safe, defensive driving can help you save money on your car insurance. Many insurers provide a discount if you pass a defensive driving course, and you could save up to 10% depending on your insurance company. Plus, if you continue to drive defensively and avoid accidents, you could get further discounts, which you can save for dinner or school books.
When you get in and start your car, your full attention must be on the road because if you get distracted, it only takes a moment to get into trouble. In our digital world, it’s too easy to get a text or want to change the song on your phone and look away from traffic, but that can be deadly. Instead, take advantage of technology and use the wireless settings on your phone or create a playlist that you know you won’t want to change while driving.
There are many forms of distracted driving. In addition to looking down at your devices, you can get distracted by your friends in the car. It’s okay to have a conversation to pass the time, but if your schoolmates are getting rowdy or so loud that you can’t pay attention, you need to pull over and set ground rules.
Another form of distracted driving can be when you get in the car after a few drinks and find you’re unable to focus. If you drink at all, you need a designated driver ready to hop in and take your place. Get home safely, rest to clear your mind, and return to your studies.
Watch The Weather
Depending on where you attend college, you may experience a lot of rain or snow, and you need to protect your car and yourself from the elements. If you ever drive in the rain, turn on your headlights, go the speed limit, and avoid quick turns.
If you’re anticipating a lot of rain, snow, or ice, your next priority should be to have your tires inspected and potentially replaced. That’s because when the roads are slippery and the weather is cold, you need good traction, and newer tires with suitable tread will have more grip than those that don’t. If you don’t have the best tires, your car could slip or skid, and your life could be put at risk.
Even if you drive carefully during inclement weather, there’s still the chance of an accident or loss of control, so you must keep an emergency kit in your car. It should include:
- Jumper cables
- Necessary medication
Always keep your emergency kit in your trunk; you’ll have it when needed. Use this same proactive approach whenever you get behind the wheel, and you can enjoy your newfound independence and get to class safely time after time.
Author: Sam Bowman