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Break Your Bad Driving Habits

This is a guest blog post by Charles Jekofsky. Charles still has his first car-a 1964 Chevy Impala, as well as a 1938 Buick Century, a motorcycle, and a Class B camper. With eight years as a volunteer instructor for AARP Driver Safety and 51 courses behind him, he continues to marvel at new vehicle safety improvements. 

We’re creatures of habit-in life and in driving. But what happens when those habits we’ve developed, over years of driving, are unsafe?

Charles in front of his 1938 Buick Century

When I teach AARP Driver Safety courses, I always ask participants: when was the last time you took a driver’s education class? For most, the answer is many years ago-in some cases over 50 years or more. Some of us took driver’s education in school, while others learned to drive from family and friends.

The techniques that we first learned as drivers were pretty simple and straightforward. Hand signals for turns, correct use of road signs and signals, and the proper way to make turns were all behaviors you needed to demonstrate to pass your driver’s test.

Driver’s ed may seem like a distant memory-and in the years that have passed, you may have developed some bad habits (even the safest drivers do).

Take some time to assess your driving habits. Have you ever approached a stop sign and not stopped fully? Or not stopped behind the “STOP” line? Do you always check your blind spots before turning, or do you rely on your mirrors? Do you turn into the proper lane when you make a left turn? According to many DMV driving manuals, when making a left turn into a two-lane road, you must turn into the lane closest to where you are turning from. Do you always do that?

Here are five common “bad driving habits” that you should break today:

  1. Distracted driving (using a cell phone, eating or drinking, using a GPS or reading a map, etc.).
  2. Failing to check blind spots.
  3. Following too closely (try to use the three-second rule when following someone).
  4. Rolling through stop signs.
  5.  Speeding (be extra careful in and around school zones).

Can you think of any other driving habits that may be unsafe, or not up to date with recent laws, that may need to be broken? What are some things you see drivers do on the road that are unsafe? 

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