Auld Lang Syne! Driving Tips and Etiquette for the New Year

Down in Florida, there is evidently (i) a widespread belief that stopping at red lights is more of a suggestion than a rule, and (ii) some unknown hero who creates an annual compilation of knuckleheads causing accidents at red lights.  God bless this man (or woman).

I consistently see people doing things behind the wheel that are irritating and often downright dangerous.  If you spend any amount of time driving, I'm sure that you experience the same thing.  So, in the spirit of the new year, I thought it might be fun to go over some pointers for driving safely and not causing others to hate your guts.  Enjoy!

1.  Eyes on the Road.  I will guarantee you that a majority of the accidents in the video above occurred because the at-fault driver was paying attention to something other than driving.  As much as we depend on technology these days, it's becoming easier and easier to get distracted by texts, emails, GPS, or your music.  Not everybody needs tech to get distracted, though.  The other day I saw a guy driving and reading the newspaper.  Make sure that if you're driving, you stay focused on driving.  Don't get distracted!

2.  Wear Your Seatbelt.  Sure, it's inconvenient.  Sure, it'll wrinkle your shirt a little.  But it takes two seconds, and it could be the difference between surviving an accident and, well, not surviving.  There's no good excuse not to buckle up.

3.  Proper Use of the Passing Lane.  On roads that have two or more lanes, the left-hand lane is designated for passing other cars.  If you aren't passing someone, stay in one of the other lanes!  Hanging out in the passing lane disrupts the regular flow of traffic, and you'll probably get some dirty looks.

4.  Don't Tailgate.  If another driver is hanging out in the passing lane, you don't do anyone any favors by driving too closely behind them.  If something happens and they slam on their brakes, you probably won't have time to avoid hitting them.  And if that happens, it's almost always going to be your fault.  On top of that, tailgating is illegal and it can contribute to driver distraction and road rage.  Give the people in front of you plenty of room!

5.  Clear Your Car Off.  This time of year, you'll sometimes see cars driving around with snow and ice piled all over their car.  It may not seem like it, but doing this can be really dangerous.  Once you get up to any kind of speed, that ice can fly off and come down on somebody else's car, causing damage and possibly even injury.  Make sure to clear off your car before you leave the house.

There are several hundred other things that I could point out; these are just a few of the bigger ones.  Be safe out there, and Happy New Year!