Defensive Driving in New Orleans, LA — 7 Answers to Keep You Safe in the Big Easy
New Orleans is known for many things —incredible food, the best live music around, gorgeous architecture … and, unfortunately, bad drivers. If you drive in the Big Easy, you will want to be a defensive driver. One way to stay defensive while on the road in New Orleans is to have the best car insurance for your needs. Let’s look at some other easy ways to keep you safe on the road so you can enjoy everything that makes New Orleans so special.
1. How Often Should You Check Your Headlights?
Always check your headlights before driving at night. This is one of the easiest ways to stay safe on the road. Cars have two headlights, both for greater visibility and so, if one goes out, you will at least (hopefully) have one working headlight. Even having one that is burnt out can greatly affect your ability to see other cars (and, just as importantly, be able to be seen by them). Having headlights that are not appropriately aimed can also cause issues with visibility. When in doubt, have a good mechanic re-aim or replace your headlights.
2. Is Wearing Your Seatbelt Defensive Driving in New Orleans, Louisiana?
You bet it is. Perhaps you were brought up in the days when seatbelts were optional, and everyone you knew did just fine that way, but as a society, we know better now. When you sit down, buckle up. It is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself in the event of an accident.
According to the United States Department of Transportation, seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017. You can enjoy your ride just as well buckled-up and are more likely to be able to do so for many years to come if you follow this simple rule.
Make sure that you require all your passengers to buckle up, too. If you have friends or family who are more casual about this requirement, talk with them about the importance of seatbelt safety and set a boundary. If your passengers understand that your car “won’t go” until everyone is buckled up, they will abide by your rule, and everyone will be safer for it.
If you transport little ones, be extra careful to ensure that all car seats and booster seats are installed properly and that they are buckled in before you buckle yourself.
3. Is Slower Driving Safer?
Yes. The reality is that speed kills. By slowing down, you will have more time to react to anything, from a car pulling out in front of you to a car stopping short in front of you or a pedestrian walking where they shouldn’t. The simple fact is that the faster you are driving, the longer it will take your vehicle to come to a complete stop when you step on the brake. If everyone else always did what they were supposed to do, if the weather always cooperated, and if there were never unforeseen mechanical issues with vehicles, we could all drive faster and be safe, but we can’t. Give yourself a bit of extra time and get there safely instead.
4. How Closely Should You Follow Another Vehicle to Stay Safe?
A common recommendation for the following distance is to keep three seconds’ worth of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, but you may need more than that. If you are driving at night, or the weather or road conditions aren’t ideal, or if the drivers around you aren’t paying close attention to the road, give them more space. In the spring, when the weather is beautiful and motorcyclists get back out on the road, keep an eye out and provide them with plenty of space. You will want them to be safe on the road too.
5. How Does Driving Sober Protect You in New Orleans?
Driving sober protects you not only from getting a DUI and the challenge of getting car insurance afterward but also from getting into an accident that could hurt or kill you or someone else (and cause extensive property damage). Always have a sober ride. If you are out and your plans change, contact a ride service for a sober ride home. It’s just not worth the risk.
6. Is Watching for Pedestrians Defensive Driving in New Orleans?
Absolutely. Especially in a city that has been around for hundreds of years and has interesting winding streets (not to mention tourists!). You can’t count on pedestrians to pay attention to where they are going or always cross at a crosswalk. In areas such as the French Quarter, you can always count on plenty of foot traffic.
Remember, pedestrians always have the right of way (even when they don’t have the best judgment). You have the giant metal vehicle that could harm or kill them. Also, when you are a pedestrian, set a good example for others. Cross at lights and encourage others to do the same.
7. How Do You Expect the Unexpected When You Are Driving?
By recognizing that you only have control over your driving, not over anyone else’s, you will be more prepared for the unexpected. Think back to when you were a new driver behind the wheel. Chances are you were a bit cocky about your driving skills without realizing it (most of us are at that stage). When everything went right, you were fine behind the wheel. But if the road conditions changed, a storm came up unexpectedly, or if another driver changed lanes or stopped short, suddenly you could find yourself with your driving confidence taken down a notch and your blood pressure up. Whether you have been driving for a year or decades, it’s a good idea to remember those days and not take other people’s actions or road conditions for granted. You will be safer for doing so.
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