Focus on the task at hand.
Don't let phones, texting, radio, air conditioning, kids in the backseat, or a heated discussion with your spouse distract you from your job as the driver. Always pay attention to the road and your vehicle. The NHTSA states that drivers under 20 are the most prone to distractions while driving, with 11 percent involved in fatal crashes while distracted.
The 2009 U.S. Census reported 33,808 fatalities due to speeding. The faster you travel, the longer it takes to stop, and the bigger the impact when you crash. But do travel along with the flow of traffic, as long as it does not exceed recommended limits.
Always, always, always buckle up.
Many car accident fatalities could be prevented each year, by simply wearing a seat belt. The National Safety Council says that seat belts reduce your risk of injury in a crash by 50 percent, and that 75,000 lives were saved by seat belts between 2004 and 2008. Those least likely to buckle up are teens, rural drivers, intoxicated drivers, and commercial truck drivers.
When in doubt, yield.
If you aren't certain who has the right of way, err on the side of caution. If you know you have the right of way, but another motorist seems to disagree, give in. Better to lose a bit of time than to get caught in a collision. According the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, men have a harder time yielding the right of way, with a ratio of 1.5 to 1 for 'failure to yield' violations.
Stop on red.
The leading cause of intersection collisions is running the red light. Sometimes it's a lack of attention to the road. Sometimes it's glare from the setting sun. Sometimes it's just plain hurry. The best practice is to slow down before each intersection, and evaluate the situation. Never race the yellow light.
Use your blinkers.
Confusion is the enemy of safe driving. Make your lane changes and turns predictable and smooth, and always signal in advance.
Let it go.
Road rage is not just an urban myth. Since you don't know who might be behind the wheel of that vehicle that just cut you off, it's safest to back away and overlook the offense. Road rage has led to murder over trivial offenses in all 50 states. Getting even could get you killed, not to mention the innocent drivers in your vicinity. If you suspect that another driver may be drunk, stay away, and alert the authorities as soon as it is safe to do so.
Keep a buffer between yourself and other motorists.
Tailgating leads to rear-end collisions, and you will be the one to foot the bill for the repairs. The NHTSA estimates that 1/3 of all traffic accidents are caused by tailgating, and could be prevented with proper distance. Allow at least two seconds of lead time in good weather, more in bad weather.
Monitor your blind spots, and stay out of others' blind spots.
This is especially true of large vehicles, such as tractor-trailers. The rule of thumb is that if you can't see the driver in the truck mirror, he can't see you either. Accidents involving semi- trucks often prove fatal for the driver of a car.
Don't drive drunk, buzzed, high, or low.
Even an over-the-counter cold medication can alter your response times, so assess yourself honestly before deciding to drive. The average drinker can only metabolize one drink per hour. One drink equates to 12 ounces of beer, or 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits. If you are under the influence of any mind-altering substance, stay away from the wheel. NHTSA estimates 28 people die daily in the U.S. from drunk driving accidents.
Adjust for rain.
When the roads are slick and wet, especially in a heavy downpour or the first thirty minutes of a storm, your braking times increase. Turn off cruise control. Add extra space between your vehicle and other vehicles. Slow down as much as is feasible. Learn to detect and react properly to hydroplaning.
Thanks to Encompass Insurance Company for this information