Getting behind the wheel of a car is an experience unlike any other. It’s both thrilling and frightening, allowing you to explore the world but also to put yourself in harm’s way at a moment’s notice. With all of these emotions swirling around, it can be hard to take the time to think carefully about your own safety when driving. To help ensure that you stay focused and observant each time you are in control of a vehicle, here are some questions that every driver should consider before they turn on the engine:
Am I in the right mental state to drive?
Before you get behind the wheel, it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re in the right mental state. Even if you’re in a hurry, it is much more important to drive with a clear head and stay safe while you navigate the roads. Are you feeling distracted by one of your recent arguments? Do you harbor feelings of fatigue or anxiety? If so, take some time to settle your thoughts before getting into gear.
Distractions such as an incoming call or text can make driving more dangerous, so be sure to address any feelings of unrest beforehand and leave all distractions behind when ready to hit the road. Distracted driving can lead to serious consequences, and you should focus on the task of driving with your full attention. If you get into an accident, you could be liable for any damages and face legal action in the process. You might be wondering: Should I hire a car accident lawyer? The answer is yes, especially if you wish to preserve your rights. They can help fight for you to receive fair compensation and keep your license even if the accident was not your fault.
Have I had enough sleep?
A journey can be filled with beautiful views and meaningful conversations, or it can turn into a terrifying experience full of danger due to one’s lack of awareness. Before you hit the road, it is essential to check in with yourself and ask whether you’ve had enough sleep and are wide awake for the journey ahead.
Not getting enough rest before getting behind the wheel can drastically diminish your focus, leading you to make bad decisions while on the road. Don’t take risks with your safety when there are simple measures that can be taken to ensure a safe trip — committing to knowing if you’ve had enough sleep and feel alert is priority number one!
Did I check for any obvious mechanical issues before starting my engine?
It’s so easy to jump in the car and hit the road without thinking twice, but making sure your vehicle is up for the task can be essential for a safe journey. Before you even start your engine, take a few moments to ask yourself: did I check for any obvious mechanical issues? Small problems can quickly become bigger ones – potentially dangerous ones – if left untended. Inspecting fluid levels, belts, lights, and tire condition should be basic practice before any drive. By taking just a few short minutes to check that everything is running smoothly, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re driving a reliable vehicle.
Do I have an emergency kit?
As any driver knows, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting behind the wheel and hitting the open road. But before you do, you should pause to ask yourself if you have an emergency kit in case of any incidents. No one anticipates a roadside breakdown or accident, but having an emergency kit on hand can reduce anxiety and equip you with supplies to address common occurrences, such as a flat tire. Consider packing items such as a flashlight, first-aid kit, jumper cables, reflective triangles/flares, basic tools, and non-perishable food. With some planning now you may be thankful down the road for being prepared for anything that comes your way.
Do I have my GPS?
Before you set out to drive somewhere new, take a few minutes to make sure you have programmed your destination into your GPS! Paving the way to success on the road starts by taking this step—this way, you won’t get lost and you’ll save yourself time, energy, and most of all, frustration. With correct directions ready to go at the click of a button, getting lost will be a thing of the past. Taking this one step is well worth it: being confident in your route can help keep anxiety levels down during stressful drives. After all, there’s nothing like the feeling of knowing your GPS is about to lead you exactly where you intended!
Is there an alternative route?
When you’re behind the wheel, always ensure your safety first. Before pulling out of the driveway, ask yourself whether there’s an alternative route that avoids high-traffic areas and potentially dangerous intersections. While taking the main road may be more convenient in terms of time spent in the car, consider if it’s worth the risk—especially if you have young passengers with you.
Do a quick mental scan of nearby back roads and small highways that can get you from point A to point B without having to worry about traffic or running into risky circumstances. Pay attention to every detail on your journey so that you can arrive safely at your destination every time. When in doubt, choose the safest route.
Choosing to carefully consider these questions before getting behind the wheel can be lifesaving and rewarding. Taking a few minutes to ask yourself if you’re in your right mind if you’re properly rested and aware, if any car maintenance issues have been taken care of, and if you have an emergency kit ready could make a crucial difference in the outcome of your journey.
Of course, it’s also important to map out a route that’s well suited for your needs so you don’t get caught up in congested traffic or exposed to riskier driving scenarios. By taking all of these factors into account before hitting the road, you’ll decrease the likelihood of an accident and be able to focus on having a safe and enjoyable drive.