It also helps to know the roads. Driving in unfamiliar territory can lead to accidents, especially if the weather and visibility are bad. If you’re new to Colorado or don’t do much driving around, take an afternoon to explore a bit and get to know the ins and outs of your city. It might really come in handy the next time you’re stuck driving in a storm and need to find the fastest -- and safest -- way home.
Read on for some of the best ways you can become a better, safer driver in Colorado.
Check your speed
It’s easy to start cruising and find yourself going several miles over the speed limit unintentionally, but it’s important to pay attention at all times to the traffic signs and the speed limit. Make it a habit to look at your speedometer often, especially if you’re on a stretch of open road, and take it slow in residential areas where there may be kids playing. In fact, in these areas, you can often take your foot off the gas altogether and coast down the street.
It’s also a good idea to refrain from using cruise control in the wintertime or in the rain, because if your car begins to skid it can accelerate and likely cause an accident. You have more control of the vehicle without setting it to cruise.
Keep your car in good condition. Take it in for regular oil changes and have the fluids topped off and the tires checked. Keep a mental note of the recommended tire pressure rating for your tires and learn how to check the oil yourself to make sure it’s at the right level. Everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car should know how to perform basic maintenance. Aside from that, you should also always check the tires and exhaust in wintertime before getting into the car. Make sure the tires have good air pressure and that the traction is in good shape; the exhaust pipe should be free of snow and ice, which can sometimes cause clogs and trap dangerous carbon monoxide in the car.
It’s also a good idea to keep a box of supplies in your trunk; a first aid kit, a jug of water, flares, matches, blankets, snacks, a crank-operated flashlight, a shovel, hand warmers, tire chains, a good knife, and a length of rope. These will come in handy should you ever get stuck in the snow or are involved in a minor accident in winter.
You can hardly be an effective driver if you have the radio blasting, your cell phone up to your ear, and a drink in your hand, so take away those distractions and focus on the road. Many people use their phones for work while they’re driving; if you are one of those people, use the Bluetooth feature on your phone or car stereo system to keep your hands free.
Distractions also include substances. Never, under any circumstances, drive under the influence of alcohol. Recreational use of marijuana is legal in Colorado, but some people find that it impairs their ability to react quickly, which can also be dangerous behind the wheel. Think twice about using a substance before getting into the car. For more information on the dangers of pot on the road, read on here.
Remember that being a safe driver isn’t just about you; you’re also being considerate of the drivers you come into contact with on a daily basis. Think about the best ways to stay safe and aware behind the wheel in your city. That’s what being a safe driver is all about.