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10 Driving Tips for Staying Safe on the Road

10 Driving Tips for Staying Safe on the Road

Driving. With more cars being sold every year giving rise to heavy traffic conjunction, it’s now more difficult to drive peacefully on the roads, especially on city roads. Unless you’re lucky enough to live right on a subway stop in New York City or have your own personal car and driver, you are probably one of the millions of people who drive to work, school, or errands on a regular basis. In fact, the average American spends over 100 minutes per day driving!

When you’re first learning to drive, you get all sorts of tips and instructions about the safest position for your hands on the wheel or how to adjust your speed for different weather conditions, but once you’re used to driving, you tend to forget some of that useful advice. If you do not stick with basic driving methods, you may run into new situations that you were never prepared for.

With car accidents being a major cause of stress, expense, and injury (or worse!), it’s always important to make sure you are driving as safely as possible. For me, driving is second nature but I want to make sure driving safely is second-nature too!

So, here’s my list of safety tips to keep you out of trouble on the roads!

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1. Do Allow Enough Time

We’re all busy these days, and that can often lead to running late to work or racing to pick up your kid from soccer practice. Hurrying your driving may seem normal to you but it’s definitely more dangerous and stressful than driving when you know you have enough time to get from point A to point B.

In fact, if possible, it’s always best to have a little extra time, just in case you run into traffic or have to circle around unexpected construction. After all, saving a minute off of your commute is hardly worth causing an accident or getting a ticket.

2. Don’t Drive Distracted

Since we were kids, we’ve all heard time and again not to drink and drive, from school assemblies to sappy TV ads, and it’s definitely an important rule to know and follow. But less people realize how important it is not to text and drive. A recent study shows that texting and driving at the same time results in accidents that injure more than 330,000 people every year in US alone. Best tip is to just try to concentrate on the road when you’re driving. Leave your smartphone and Siri to peace for a while!

3. Do Use Your Head

These days with GPS on our phones, Waze to redirect us around traffic jams, and apps like GasBuddy and Yelp to bring us to hotspots nearby, we often don’t have to plan much at all before we hop in the car. Usually, of course, that’s a great thing. I know I for one am delighted not to have to carry around a map or stop and ask random strangers for directions when I get lost.

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Still, just because you have your trusty GPS device telling you where to go doesn’t mean you can turn your brain off.  Don’t drive into a pond or through a construction zone just because your GPS says so!

4. Do Check The Weather

This is a small step that can go a long way. Not only will it help you predict delays (if it’s snowing a foot in Atlanta tomorrow, you can bet they won’t have those roads plowed for your trip tomorrow), but it can also help you get your car (and yourself) ready. Just like you may want rain boots in case of a downpour or sunglasses for driving into the sunset, you need different things for your car under different conditions.

A snowy winter in the Midwest? You’re going to want snow tires. Summer in the South? Get one of those windshield protectors to keep your car from turning into an oven while it sits in the parking lot all day. And if it’s stormy outside, always drive slowly and keep alert!

5. Don’t Stress

Let’s face it, road rage affects just about everyone – it can happen to the calmest and most patient among us, often for no good reason. If you find yourself growing irritated as you settle into the tail end of a traffic jam or as a driver cuts you off, take a deep breath and try to put it all into perspective. Is this a life and death situation? Or are you just going to be a little late to work?

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Plus, think about that “jerk” who cut you off – maybe that’s a Mom racing to pick up her kid who just fell at school and broke their arm. You never know, and you probably can’t do anything about your situation anyway. So just find something good on the radio and let it be.

6. Do Keep Up With Regular Maintenance

If you have a car, you need to keep it in shape or you are risking a number of potentially dangerous and expensive problems. You need to change your oil about every 3000 miles, and you need a yearly inspection to keep your car registered. And you’ll want to keep tabs on the air in your tires and replace any lights that go out ASAP. Also, if the check engine light or some other warning sign goes on, get it checked out first thing – don’t just cross your fingers and hope it goes away!

7. Don’t Hog The Road

This applies whenever and wherever you are driving. Are you on the highway preparing to exit? Be courteous to other drivers and signal your intentions. Sharing your plans with other cars allows them to plan around you – getting out of your way if you are merging, slowing down if they’re behind you and see that you’re about to turn, and so on.

Of course, you also need to be watching for bicycles and other smaller or slower forms of transportation. In many places, bicycles don’t have a lane to themselves and aren’t allowed on the sidewalk, so they have to share the road with the cars. Allow them the space and time they need, and always keep your eyes out for them, particularly in your mirrors. You might not see a bicycle behind you, but if they’re going straight and you’re making a right turn, you could cut them off, causing a really dangerous accident!

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8. Do Plan Ahead

Thinking about going on a road trip? Moving to a new place? Whatever it is, be sure to bone up on your destination’s driving rules before you go. In some places it’s OK to talk on a handheld device while driving, whereas in others it is illegal. Laws about passing, signaling, speeding, and maintenance are all subject to these kinds of differences. You don’t want to get a ticket just because you didn’t know the rules! So a do quick Google search before you go and spare yourself the trouble.

9. Don’t Drive Sleepy

If you’ll be driving for long stretches of time, on a road trip or similar, be sure to get plenty of sleep the night before. Also, you should take breaks at least every few hours, even if it is just to stretch your legs and go to the bathroom. Eat healthy meals at regular intervals to keep your energy steady.

And, if at all possible, get someone to come along to share the driving with you. Or, if they’re not up for driving, at least see if someone will come along for company – they can act as a navigator and carry on the conversation to keep you awake and alert.

10. Do Prepare for Emergencies

Though of course we all hope to avoid accidents or breakdowns, you still need to be prepared at all times. Make sure you carry your insurance information with you whenever you drive and have any necessary phone numbers for tow trucks or whatever you may need on hand. Also be sure to keep emergency supplies, including jumper cables and a spare tire, in the car at all times.

Last Thoughts

Just don’t forget that the choices you make when you’re behind the wheel can have big consequences. Always be prepared, whether that’s for a rain storm or a fender bender, and don’t let your emotions get the better of you. A calm, focused driver is a safe driver.

Featured photo credit: unsplash.com via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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