Even though many car and automotive companies try their best to make cars safer, the driver is the one who is ultimately responsible for the safe operation of a motor vehicle. Technology has brought forth many things to make us safer in our vehicles, but it’s no secret that the use of technology by drivers is responsible for one of the major leading causes of accidents – driving while distracted.
How do we use technology to make our driving safer or improve our driving instead of putting us at greater risk for accidents? First of all, MakeUseOf has a Cars Directory which covers gas price sites, trip cost sites, vehicle pricing sites, car wallpaper sites and GPS apps sites. Most of these sites do not directly help with safer driving tips, except one. This is Risky Roads, which was reviewed here.
This site is a Google Maps mashup that shows the fatal accident concentration in your selected area. The site is free and doesn’t require registration. How does it improve your driving? Once you review the hotspots for accidents in your area, you can commit to driving especially carefully in these areas. Most hotspots in my area are intersections, and I know the ones that I drive through regularly, so I make absolutely sure I’m not distracted when I’m in these areas. I pay closer attention to driving defensively.
Most fatal accidents happen within 25 miles of the victim’s home. That means we get in a comfort zone when driving in familiar territory. This site demonstrates that our comfort zone can be a dangerous place.
Safe Driving Test
A few years ago, you may have seen the Drive for Life program on television. This program included a National Safe Driving Test which played a scenario, asked a question and then gave you a few seconds to answer. The program has not been shown for several years, and their website has not been updated recently, but it is still up and running and provides some very good free safer driving tips, including clips from the show.
You can still purchase copies of the DVD of the television program as well. I really like thesurvey. This is a free, no registration required, multiple choice quiz which helps rate your stress, aggression and driving style. Once submitted, you are provided safer driving tips to improve your personal driving habits to help avoid accidents.
Many locales provide Traveler Information Systems. In the United States, these are collectively known as the “511” system. You can simply dial 511 from your phone to access information. Many states and cities also provide an array of online resources as part of their 511 system. These may include listings of traffic backups due to accidents or general congestion, construction zones and times, weather issues, travel times, estimated speeds on major roads, and some even have viewable traffic cameras.
Many 511 websites utilize mapping to provide an overview of your location, with a customizable map to allow you to toggle the parameters on and off. The 511 system is a good tool for trip planning, but it also can help improve your driving by helping you avoid areas where congestion and agitated drivers are likely to be. If you are not in the environment, it is less likely the aggression will rub off on you and you may have a stress free ride home. A few seconds to check 511 before leaving the office may save you a stressful hour in traffic. A list of current and active 511 locations can be found here.
Drive Safe with Uncle Bob
Defensive and safe driving requires instruction. The DMV book teaches the rules, but who teaches defensive driving skills without selling you or your company a program? Check out Road Trip America’s Drive Safe with Uncle Bob. “Uncle Bob” lists seventy rules for defensive driving. Each tip is listed with a link to a full length article. Check out Rule Number 5 which suggests four things that every driver should do that could eliminate all traffic fatalities.
Finally, make it a regular part of your routine to check your vehicle at Safercar to see if it is the subject of a recall or defect investigation. Keeping your car in tip top shape and ensuring there are no inherent problems can keep you safe on the road.
Check out these other MUO articles for information regarding other sites to help keep your car running well:
Do you know of any other websites?