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9 Simple, Safe Driving Tips for Every Driver

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These are the nine things every smart driver does.

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These are the nine things every smart driver does.

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There’s never a bad time to refresh on tips for when you’re behind the wheel

Driving is a huge part of life for all of us, whether for summer vacations, commuting to work, getting out to see friends and family, and many other reasons. While we take for granted the ability to hop in the car and go, it’s important to remember that driving can be dangerous and should be taken seriously by every driver. To put it into stark perspective, there were an estimated 38,680 fatalities — that’s more than 100 per day — in vehicle crashes on American roads in 2020, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Of course, Members with an active OnStar plan*1a know that they have access to OnStar Emergency-Certified Advisors*64 in case of the unexpected. Just push the red Emergency button inside your vehicle or within the OnStar Guardian® app*82 to speak with an Advisor, who can notify First Responders.

Even with the added peace of mind that comes with having OnStar on your side, it’s important to take steps to prevent problems on the road. With that in mind, we’re sharing a few reminders about things you can do to help avoid the unexpected. Especially as the weather warms up and road trip season approaches, it’s always good to refresh on helpful driving tips. Here are nine tips all drivers should follow out on the road.

#1: Stash away distractions

Being preoccupied with eating, music playlists or talking on the phone is a dangerous way to drive. In 2019, the NHTSA reported that 9 percent of fatal crashes and 15 percent of all police-reported crashes involved driver distraction, injuring an estimated 424,000 people and killing 3,142 people. If you can’t give the road ahead your undivided attention, safely pull over or ride as the passenger. Stashing your phone in the glove box is a good way to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road at all times.

#2: Drive smoothly

Instead of accelerating up to a red light, take your foot off the gas and coast for a few seconds before braking. In fact, driving smoothly and carefully is a good tip for all aspects of driving, including steering around corners.

#3: Take advantage of daylight

Driving at night can be risky, due to reduced visibility and drowsy drivers. While it’s not always possible, try to adjust your journey time to drive during daylight rather than at night — it can make the journey less stressful and potentially less dangerous. Keep your vehicle’s lights in good working condition and be sure your headlight switch is turned on or to “Auto” at night.

#4: Don’t drive tired

It can be tempting to keep driving for a few hours more on a long road trip, or to make a planned journey even if you feel exhausted. However, driving while tired or even just drowsy can increase your risk of being involved in a crash. On long journeys, take a break every couple of hours or anytime you feel sleepy behind the wheel, and don’t rely on coffee, sugar or other stimulants to keep you alert.

#5: Check your vehicle

Just as you need a checkup at the doctor from time to time, so does your vehicle. For instance, regularly check that all your vehicle’s fluids are topped off and your tires are correctly inflated. If you have a Connected Services Plan*1b and your vehicle is properly equipped, you can also check your vehicle’s tire pressures and estimated fuel level through your vehicle mobile app*26 — you can even schedule service through the app, too. Remember, if you do encounter a problem like a flat tire, dead battery or another issue requiring a tow, simply push your blue OnStar button (or call us at 1.888.466.7827) to request Roadside Assistance.*17 Learn more about what to do when you need Roadside Assistance.

#6: Check the weather

At any time of year, poor driving conditions can clog up the roadways and make for a more dangerous trip. Before you leave, check the forecast and see if inclement weather — like heavy rain, severe thunderstorms, fog, strong winds or snow — is headed your way. Leaving a bit earlier or later could make a big difference. During winter in cold-weather states, be sure to have low-temperature washer fluid and an ice scraper in your vehicle.

#7: Always look right

When making a right-hand turn, many people only look left. But if you’re turning right onto a two-lane road, you should also look right and make sure a car is not using your lane to pass. It may sound like a small thing, but this extra second could help avoid a head-on collision.

#8: Slow it down

There are many complicated algorithms that all find one simple truth: Speeding doesn’t save significant time. But it can eat up your fuel efficiency, put you at risk of a ticket and even increase your chances of having a crash. The NHTSA reported that 19 percent of road fatalities involved speeding in 2020. So observe posted speed limits and ease off the gas a bit.

#9: Look out for others

As an OnStar Member, you have the ability to act as a Good Samaritan when you see somebody else having difficulty on the road — even if they’re not an OnStar Member. Whether you see something as minor as a stray animal on the roadway or a flooded road, or as serious as a vehicle crash or downed power line, simply push the red Emergency button*16a to report the issue. Read how one OnStar Member acted as a Good Samaritan on the road.