New drivers across the country get their license each day. However, considering that the legal, unrestricted driving age is just 17, it pays to practice good driving habits now so your children learn from an early age. Further, if you’ve had multiple tickets or accidents, changing your bad habits can help you be a safer driver. Driving can be an enjoyable experience, but only if you arrive at your destination safely.

Here are a few smart habits that will help you along the way.

Know Your Limitations

First and foremost, you should understand that you can’t drink and drive without some loss of abilities. Drinking just two beers, for example, can result in visual issues and loss of judgment. Add just one more bottle and your reaction time and ability to track moving objects become significantly impaired. Before imbibing, know your limits, and give yourself plenty of time to metabolize the alcohol in your system before getting behind the wheel. Healthline estimates that a single glass of wine can take three hours to work its way through your system.

Know Your Vehicle’s Limitations

Most cars, trucks, and SUVs are fully equipped to handle paved roads, but a smaller vehicle may not handle off-road excursions as well. However, for city driving, a smaller car is usually going to be a more economical option that will use less petrol and probably be easier to maneuver in and out of small parking spots. Take some time to research the pros and cons of your new vehicle before making a purchase. Also take a look at your driving habits and make sure your choice falls in line with your real-world activities.

Leave the Phone in Your Glove Box

Just as drinking and driving can reduce your ability to drive safely, texting or talking on the phone while driving can be just as impairing. And as tempting as it is to grab your phone and respond to a text or check your social media, becoming one of 6,000 people who die each year as a result isn’t worth it. Plan to leave the phone out of reach, connect it to a Bluetooth system, or install an app that blocks the ability to text while driving.

Watch the Speed Limit

There is a lot that goes into how speed limits are determined, says Tom Sohrweide, a traffic engineer with SEH. Going too far over or under the posted speed limit creates a driving hazard for you and anyone else sharing the road. Be a conscientious driver by sticking as close as possible to the speed limit, or moving to a different route if you feel uncomfortable with the high speed of the interstate or the slow, stop-and-go conditions of the city and suburbs.

Never Drive While Drowsy

Another issue with impairment is driving while tired. Considering that drowsiness-induced crashes can be just as fatal as alcohol-related incidents, it pays to keep yourself from behind the wheel when your eyes began to droop. In order to reduce the likelihood of driving when you’re tired, make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night. You can improve your sleep habits by keeping your bedroom quiet and dark and by avoiding caffeine and sugar before bedtime. You can also raise your focus and energy levels by eating a balanced diet and taking a multivitamin each day.

This is not a complete list of healthy driving habits. However, these touch on several important aspects and should give you something to think about as you enjoy the privilege of operating a motor vehicle. Remember, you are not only responsible for yourself and your passengers, but you put the lives of other drivers on the line every time you crank the engine.

Image via Pixabay

Article written & sent in by Mark Conner