better driver

Everyone makes New Year’s resolutions. And, whether we manage it or not most of us try very hard to stick to them as well.

Many of us will pen wellness-related intentions like “exercise at least 3 times a week” or work-related goals like “get promoted.” However, we can’t forget to include some driving-related resolutions too. Why?

Our daily commute is usually longer than is good for us, and sadly we have all, for the most part just come to accept this. According to a study conducted by Harvard Medical School, each adult American between the ages of 24 and 64 typically drives for 101 minutes per day. To put that in perspective, we exercise for only 18 minutes each day.

Considering that we’re driving 5 times more than we’re exercising, it’s only fair to include a couple of driving resolutions too. Here are some ideas for such resolutions that are great ones to make, but not too hard to stick to.

Resolve to Stay Focused

Distracted driving is nothing new, it’s been around forever. Drivers who eat at the wheel, drivers who drink their morning coffee at the wheel, drivers who finish their morning grooming routine at the wheel, all of these have been causing problems for years. However, now that smartphones have been added into the mix distracted driving has become a problem that is as serious – and potentially deadly – as driving drunk.

Many people do not even realize that their phone habits make them a dangerous driver. Will sending one little text really distract you that much? Is scan-reading a couple of emails really such a big deal. And come on, that sunrise is amazing and it’s going to take just a few seconds to post a snap to Instagram.

The fact is that all the habits we have described – and more – do distract you far more than you might think and are dangerous to everyone on the road, you and your passengers included. How dangerous is this behavior? According to the NTSB in 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed, and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. And they expect the 2016 figures to be worse.

Avoiding distracted driving is not hard. Resolve to give up eating in the car, finish your hair (and makeup) and keep your cellphone on the dashboard (or better still in your pocket or purse) No email, text message or Facebook post is worth risking your life for, or that of anyone else either.

Resolve to Stay Calm

Another problem that the NTSB says is an underestimated danger on the road is road rage. And a driver does not have to be involved in a full-blown screaming argument with another driver to be a danger on the road. Something as seemingly simple as being annoyed at a traffic light that took too long to turn green can lead to serious driver errors as the person is too distracted by their frustration to concentrate on their driving.

It is fair to say that if you are stuck with an hour’s commute every day, in heavy rush hour traffic, staying calm can be easier said than done. However, this year resolve to be more mindful of your mood behind the wheel and learn to take a deep breath (or two) before you let anger and frustration affect your driving judgement.

Resolve to Be Nicer to Your Car

You think you go through a lot, driving every day? Imagine what your car goes through. And, for most of us, it keeps chugging along, getting us safely from A to B and back again every day. Until the day comes when it does not. That day when that brake squeal you have been deliberately trying to ignore for weeks turns into actual brake failure. Or that cold morning when that admittedly very old battery you have been trying to nurse along for another few weeks until you have time to replace it finally gives up and dies, no matter how much you try to revive it with a jumpstart.

The fact is that your vehicle works hard for you and deserves a little more TLC in return. It deserves a regular checkup at your local auto shop, whether it seems to need it or not. It deserves to have problems fixed as soon as they begin to crop up rather than being expected to splutter on until you are ‘ready’ to get it fixed. This year resolve to be kinder to your car and we promise you it will return the favor, in the form of improved performance and reliability.

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