Safe Vehicle Driving Tips

  • Adjust your seat so your arms are slightly bent at the elbows when gripping the wheel.

  • Keep your hands at the ten o’clock and two o’clock or nine o’clock and three o’clock  positions on the steering wheel.

  • Hold the wheel tightly enough so your palms do not slip off.

  • Adjust side mirrors so you can either see the door handles or angled away to cover blind spots.

Adjusting Side Mirrors for Blind Spots

  • Park car and have someone walk in both left and right blind spots.

  • Set mirrors so person is in view.

  • Check mirrors to see which areas remain invisible.

  • Re-adjust and check again.

Safe Driving Tips – Merging

  • Merging requires attention to many different factors.
  • Traffic moving at posted speeds = use the acceleration lane to speed up and match traffic flow.
  • Use your signal and look for an opening where   you can smoothly ease into traffic.
  • If traffic is congested and moving slowly, proceed down the ramp slowly and look for an opening.
  • Try to avoid stopping at the bottom of the ramp because it can disrupt traffic flow.

Safe Driving Tips – Intersections

  • Do not closely follow a large vehicle through an intersection with stoplights. You can’t see if the light has changed.

  • Leave enough space so you have a clear view of everything before proceeding.

  • When making a left turn, slow down and yield if there is not a green arrow giving you the right-of-way.

  • Don’t turn your wheels until you’re ready to move (if your vehicle is hit from behind, you could be pushed into oncoming traffic).

Safe Driving Tips – Four-Way Stop

  • First car to arrive at an intersection with a four-way stop (whether sign or traffic light) should be first to go.

  • When it’s unclear which vehicle arrived first, general rule is driver to the right has the right-of-way.

  • Don’t count on other drivers; proceed with caution.

Vehicle Maintenance

  • Neglecting maintenance can cause crashes.

  • Monitor condition of and air pressure in your tires. Not doing so could cause blowout or a flat.

  • Change wiper blades regularly.

  • Check your owner’s manual for a maintenance schedule, and stick to it.

Vehicle Maintenance – Tires

  • Check tire pressure regularly, including the spare (at least once a month).

  • Inspect tires for:

    • Uneven wear patterns

    • Cracks

    • Foreign objects

    • Other signs of wear

  •  Ensure tire valves have valve caps.

Vehicle Maintenance – Tires

  • Check tire pressure before a long trip.

  • Do not overload vehicle – check tire info   placard for maximum recommended load.

  • If towing a trailer, remember that some weight of loaded trailer is transferred to vehicle.

  • Try not to strike curb when parking.

Flat Tire/Blowout – Highway

           At the first sign of trouble:

  • Firmly grip the steering wheel

  • Do not slam on brakes

  • Take foot off the gas pedal

  • Work vehicle toward the shoulder or exit

  • If changing lanes, use turn signals

  • Steer as vehicle slows down

Flat Tire/Blowout – Highway

  • Once off road, place reflective triangles

  • Keep emergency flashers on

  • Change tire, if you know how

  • Keep away from traffic

  • Call for professional help, if necessary

  • Do not stand behind or next to vehicle

  Safe Driving Skills

  • Keep your eyes constantly moving:

            – Look up and down the road

            – Look to the sides of the road
– Look into the rear view mirror

  • Always leave yourself an out:

            – Try to find a place to head if a crash occurs

            – Think about other drivers’ blind spots

  • Don’t linger while passing.

  • Don’t follow too closely (“tailgate”).

  • Avoid “packs” of vehicles.

Safe Driving Skills

  • Ensure other drivers see you – keep headlights on both day and night.

  • Always use turn signals well ahead of time.

  • Never assume what other drivers will do.

  • Maintain an average speed on highways; going too fast or too slow creates a hazard.

Safe Driving Skills

  • Use average traffic speed when merging.

  • Think ahead – avoid making sudden movements when exiting highways.

  • Obey all traffic signs and signals.

  • Keep your eyes on the road, not on a cell phone or music device.

  • Watch for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists.

  • Scan the road ahead for animals.

Safe Driving Skills

Stopping on Highways:

  • Don’t be a stationary object or semi-stationary obstacle.

  • Stopping at the end of an entrance ramp is dangerous; learn to time a safe merge.

  • Avoid stopping on the shoulder of road; exit highway before stopping, if possible.

Safe Driving Tips – Sleepiness

Driving sleepy is driving impaired!

  • Reaction time and vision deteriorate when you are tired.

  • Pull over, take a short “cat nap”   or just close your eyes for a while.

  • Sometimes taking a short walk  will work.

  • Stop every two to three hours if driving long distances.

Safe Driving Tips – Familiarization

 Be familiar with your vehicle:

  • Know what every button, switch and lever does.

  • Know where the oil, brake fluid, engine coolant and window washer reservoirs are.

  • Know how to fill those reservoirs.

  • Know what every indicator light means.

  • Know how to operate basic items, such as the defroster, wipers, radio and headlights.

Safe Driving Tips -Nighttime Driving

  • Traffic deaths are three times greater at night than during the day (Source: National Safety Council).

  • Prepare car for nighttime driving: clean headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows (at least weekly).

  • Have vehicle headlights properly aimed.

  • Don’t drink and drive!

  • Reduce speed and increase following distances.

  • Don’t overdrive headlights – should be able to stop inside illuminated area.

Safe Driving Tips – Nighttime Driving

  • When following a vehicle, keep your headlights on low beam.

  • If oncoming vehicle doesn’t turn high beams down, look to the right side of road.

  • If tired, stop and rest.

  • If you have car problems, pull to the side of the road and place reflective devices; turn on emergency flashers.

Safe Driving Tips –             Seasonal Changes

  • Winter driving = slippery roads, visibility issues, cold, etc.

  • Spring = rain can cause slippery roads.

  • Summer = high temperatures can cause vehicle problems; there’s more traffic on roads.

  • Fall = wet leaves on road can make it slippery.

  • Daylight saving’s time = sun’s position in sky changes causing darkness and glare.

Safe Driving Tips – Rain

  • Drive slowly and carefully – especially on curves.

  • Steer and brake with a light touch.

  • When slowing/stopping, do not brake hard or lock the wheels – could cause skidding.

  • Maintain mild pressure on the brake pedal.

  • Adjust your speed to the wet road conditions.

Safe Driving Tips – Skids

  • Remain calm.

  • Ease your foot off the gas.

  • Steer in the direction you want the front of   the vehicle to go (“steering into the skid”).

  • If vehicle has ABS (anti-lock brakes), avoid slamming on the brakes, brake firmly while steering into skid.

Safe Driving Tips – Hydroplaning

  • Occurs when water in front of tires builds     up faster than vehicle’s weight can push it   out of the way.

  • Water pressure causes vehicle to rise up     and slide on thin layer of water between    tires and road.

  • Can cause skidding, drifting out of lane, leaving roadway.

  • To avoid: keep tires properly inflated, maintain good tread, slow down, avoid  puddles.

Safe Driving Tips – Hydroplaning

  • If hydroplaning, do not brake or turn suddenly.

  • Ease foot off gas until vehicle slows down and you can feel the road again.

  • If you need to brake, do so gently, with light pumping actions.

  • If vehicle has anti-lock brakes, brake normally.

Safe Driving Tips – Winter

  • Ensure vehicle wiper blades are in good condition and washer fluid is filled.

  • Ensure vehicle battery is in good condition  and appropriately charged.

  • Clear snow/ice from all windows, lights, hood, trunk and top of vehicle before driving.

  • Adjust your speed accordingly.

  • Check tire pressure regularly.

  • Dress warmly with layered clothing that is loose-fitting and lightweight.

Safe Driving Tips – Winter

  If in vehicle and stranded due to road conditions:

  • Stay in vehicle.

  • Display trouble sign (ex: brightly-colored cloth on antenna).

  • Occasionally run engine with heater on t0 keep warm.

  • Keep exhaust pipe free of snow and open a window to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

Safe Driving Tips – Winter

 If in vehicle and stranded due to road conditions:

  • Do minor exercises to keep up circulation.

  • Clap hands and move arms and legs frequently.

  • Try not to stay in one position for too long.

  • Use newspapers, maps, mats, etc., for warmth.

  • Avoid drinking fluids containing caffeine or alcohol: can quicken effects of cold.

Safe Driving Tips – Winter

Stopping Distances and Wet/Snowpack/Icy Roads:

  • Vehicle may travel 4x the stopping distance than on dry road.

  • Dry pavement vehicle traveling 70 mph requires 600 feet to stop; wet road requires 800 feet.

  • Snowpacked road requires approximately 1300 feet stopping distance @ 70 mph.

  • Icy road requires 2,500 feet @ 70 mph.

Safe Driving Tips – Winter

Winterizing Vehicles:

  •  Ensure ice scraper and windshield de-icer  are on board.
  •  Carry spare set of wiper blades.
  •  Carry kitty litter, oil dry or sand for traction.
  •  Carry blankets, flashlight, road flares.
  •  Have lock de-icer available.

Safe Driving Tips – Vehicle Fires

  • Get yourself and all others out of and away from       the vehicle.

  • Move a safe distance from the vehicle and call fire department.

  • Do not stand near vehicle bumpers.

  • Remain away from vehicle; do not attempt to get    back into burning vehicle.

  • If trained, are comfortable and fire is small, use appropriate fire extinguisher.

  • If you suspect fire under hood or in trunk, do not open.

Preventing Road Rage

  • Don’t offend, don’t engage.

  • Adjust your attitude (stay calm).

  • Avoid cutting people off.

  • Don’t tailgate or follow closely.

  • Don’t make obscene/questionable gestures.

  • Avoid eye contact.

  • Don’t start a fight – give angry drivers lots    of room.


  • Operating a motor vehicle is dangerous, but     it can also be a pleasant experience.

  • Use common sense, obey speed limits, drive defensively and observe “road safety rules.”

  • Distracted driving can be just as dangerous     as alcohol-impaired driving.

  • Be careful, alert, courteous and safe.

  • Have a safe trip!