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Top 3 unsafe driving behaviors to avoid

October 28, 2014

Even otherwise good drivers may find themselves falling victim to unsafe driving behavior from time to time, so it's important to be aware of the most common types of dangerous driving habits and how to avoid them.

1. Speeding

It's every parent's worst nightmare that their child may have a lead foot, but it's not just teenagers who lean a little too much on the gas pedal.

Focusing on safe driving behavior can be just as important as obtaining proper auto insurance.

Experts say that for every 10 miles per hour a person drives over 50 mph, the risk of death in a traffic crash is doubled.

With that in mind, it pays to focus on ways to reduce speeding. First and foremost, know the speed limit in the area you're driving in. However, just because the limit is 65 mph doesn't mean that's the proper speed. It's also important to analyze driving conditions and adjust accordingly.

If you find yourself speeding without thinking about it, get into the habit of routinely checking your speedometer to make sure you're not going too fast.

2. Anger

While speeding may be against the law, driving angry can be just as risky. Letting anger get the best of you behind the wheel could lead to distraction and aggressive maneuvers that will increase the risk of accidents.

Signs of angry driving include yelling at other drivers, following other motorists too closely, speeding and changing lanes quickly and too often.

While some driving situations naturally lend themselves to frustration, it's important to think of ways to calm down and focus on the task at hand.

Whether you're stuck in a traffic jam or dealing with a rude driver, the best course of action is to breathe deeply and keep your cool. Don't yell, make obscene gestures or compete with another driver on the road. Also, do your best not to take other drivers' actions personally. The guy who cut you off may have had no idea he did it, and getting angry over it will only lead to greater risk.

3. Distraction

Unsurprisingly, having something else take up your attention while you're driving is extremely dangerous. Whether it's another passenger or your smartphone, it's essential to cut out distractions and make the road your one-and-only focus.

Your first course of action should be to never use cell phones or similar devices while behind the wheel. While hands-free alternatives may be less distracting, speaking on your Bluetooth still forces you to split your attention—a dangerous proposition.

Next, if you're traveling in a vehicle with rowdy and distracting passengers, let them know they need to keep it down. After all, their safety depends on you performing at the wheel as well.

Meanwhile, if you ever find yourself in an emotional state that you think might make you distracted behind the wheel, hold off on driving. Taking some time to collect yourself can be the best way to keep yourself and other drivers safe.

Not only should you pay attention to the unsafe driving behavior we discussed, you should also protect yourself with the right auto insurance by comparing different quotes.