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Safe Driving Tips to Avoid Tickets

Driving usually becomes second nature after a while. Yet sliding into autopilot can easily lead to mistakes. Even if you don't hurt yourself or someone else, inadequate driving can draw attention from law enforcement.

At best, getting a traffic ticket is an expensive hassle. At worst, a traffic ticket can lead to more permanent penalties like raising your insurance costs or even losing your driver's license. Taking steps to drive safely can help you avoid getting ticketed.

Driver safety is a combination of driver, vehicle, and roadway factors. There are many specific safe driving techniques you can follow to both avoid tickets and lower your chances of causing an accident. In this article, you'll learn how driving safety can start with four simple safety tips.

Check Your Current Health

Driving is a physical activity in many ways. You'll need to stay alert, see dangers, and react quickly. Certain medical conditions, medications, and health effects can impede your driving skills.

Before getting behind the wheel, ask yourself questions such as:

  • Do I feel too tired to focus?
  • Do any of my medication labels warn against driving or operating machinery?
  • Is an injury preventing me from checking my blind spots or comfortably driving?
  • Has enough time passed since I last drank alcohol?
  • Is anything affecting my vision, such as glaucoma or cataracts?

Depending on your answers, you may need to find an alternative way to reach your destination. Someone could drive for you, whether they are a friend or a ride-share service.

Brushing off a physical hazard can have serious consequences. Drowsy driving and drunk driving are among the most common causes of car accidents in the United States. Police, sheriff's deputies, and troopers look for signs of odd or dangerous driving behavior while on patrol. They may pull you over. Even if you believe you have a valid reason to drive, the officer might disagree.

If you start feeling ill or tired while driving, you may need to move safely to the side of the road. Stopping might be inconvenient, but so is a ticket or car accident.

Assess Your Mental State

Driving is also a mental activity. You must make fast yet careful decisions to protect yourself and others. Emotions are a big part of your safety when you drive.

You can't get a ticket for anger or nervousness, but those feelings can lead to risky driving choices. If you are irritable, you may be more prone to aggressive driving such as tailgating and road rage. Anxiousness can lead to speeding or driving too far under the posted speed limit. A personal matter could also distract you from driving by taking your mind away from what's happening around you.

Though emotions are part of life that you can't simply turn off, you should take a moment to evaluate whether you are ready to drive. You can also use that moment to reset and manage your mental state before starting your car.

There are scenarios in which having patience and clear judgment can prevent traffic crashes. For example, let's say another car cuts you off when changing lanes on your way home from a frustrating day at work. Letting it go and keeping your distance rather than trying to get revenge is safer. As satisfying as it may seem in the moment, breaking traffic laws isn't worth the potential ticket.

Maintain Your Vehicle and Safety Features

Once you know you are in a safe physical and mental state to drive, it's time to check your vehicle. This step is a good idea before every trip, even if your car was fine the last time you drove.

Your vehicle should pass a quick safety check, including these factors:

  • All your headlights, tail lights, and turn signals work.
  • Your tires meet your car's air pressure recommendation.
  • Your tire treads are deep enough.
  • The front and back window wipers work.
  • Your mirrors are in the proper position for you to see around the vehicle.
  • Nothing is behind your car if you're backing out of a driveway or parking spot.
  • All seat belts are in good condition, including for passengers.

Routine maintenance can identify issues that are harder to detect. You can also check for vehicle recalls through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Recalls might concern a component as vital as a defective airbag. Something you added to your car, like a car seat, may also be subject to a recall.

Law enforcement officers often pull over motorists for unsafe vehicle problems. They can issue tickets if your car doesn't follow your state's vehicle standards.

Watch the Road Conditions

While driving, you'll need to adapt to the circumstances on the road. Many factors, such as inclement weather and construction, can impact road safety.

Hazards on the road could involve:

  • Low visibility in fog, rain, snow, and darkness
  • Slippery road surfaces due to water or ice
  • Speed bumps
  • Deep potholes
  • Nearby pedestrians or workers

For example, braking too late on black ice could risk skidding through a red light. Failing to turn on your lights at night could make it easy to miss a stop sign or bicyclist on the road.

The risk of collisions can rise when drivers expect that their vehicle will similarly handle all road and weather conditions. As a defensive driver, you may need to drive more slowly and brake sooner than usual.

Need Help With a Traffic Ticket?

You can't guarantee other drivers' safety. However, you can prevent your risk of a ticket by doing everything in your power to become a safer driver. Your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may offer a defensive driving course with more safety tips.

If you get a traffic ticket, it is possible to challenge it to avoid fines and protect your driving privileges. You can speak with a traffic law attorney near you for guidance.

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