Safe Driving: The Do's and Don'ts
Created by FindLaw's team
of legal writers and editors.
Maybe you just got your driver's license, or perhaps you've been driving for years, but feel that it is time for a brush-up on good driving techniques. You've come to the right place. Here are some tips for behind the wheel behavior that might save you from getting a ticket or getting in an accident. Safe driving is always the best policy. Here is a handy list of Do's and Don'ts. For more information, see FindLaw's Traffic Laws section.
- DO always wear your seat belt.
- DO keep children in tested and approved car seats, no matter how much they beg or plead to get out. If you need, take frequent breaks so that little ones can stretch their legs.
- DO review the official rules of the road for your jurisdiction periodically, and follow them always.
- DO follow the speed limits.
- DO pay attention when you are driving, even if you are familiar with the area. A surprising number of accidents happen only blocks from home!
- DO be courteous toward other drivers.
- DO give pedestrians the right-of-way in crosswalks.
- DO make room for bicycles.
- DO pay for your parking tickets or traffic tickets on time, unless you plan to contest them.
- DO keep a winter survival kit in your car for bad weather conditions. A good survival kit should contain a cell phone, matches, flares, a working flashlight, food, water, and blankets.
- DO make sure that your spare tire is in your car and that you have a working jack.
- DO make time for routine preventative maintenance on your car. Breakdowns can be dangerous and costly.
- DO plan your route out in advance for long car trips and keep a map or atlas in the car in case you get lost.
- DON'T drink alcohol and drive, and don't get in a car with a driver who has been drinking or using drugs.
- DON'T make assumptions about what other drivers are going to do. Just because someone has their turn signal on does not mean they are actually going to turn. They may be like the rest of us, and have forgotten that it is on!
- DON'T assume that other cars know what you are doing, either. Make sure that you use your turn signals and give yourself, and the cars around you, plenty of room to maneuver.
- DON'T tailgate other cars, pass on shoulders, fail to yield, run stoplights or stop signs (even if no one else seems to be around), or break any other rules of the road on purpose. If you act like you are above the law when you operate a car, you will sooner, rather than later, find out that you are not.
- DON'T play your car stereo so loudly that you are disruptive to others, or so loudly that you are unable to hear train signals or emergency vehicle sirens.
- DON'T talk on your cell phone and drive at the same time. If you need to make or answer a telephone call while you are driving, pull over at a safe place, use the phone, and then resume your journey.
- DON'T engage in other activities, while driving, that distract your attention or reduce your reaction time. Eating, changing clothes, or putting on makeup while driving is dangerous. In some states, if you are caught doing these things while driving you can be cited for "driver inattention" and given a ticket.
- DON'T treat a car like it is a toy. It is not. Don't use your car to play chicken, race, or give another car a friendly "tap."
- DON'T let your emotions and frustrations get the best of you. Don't engage in road rage, no matter how irritating another driver might be to you.
- DON'T leave valuables in your car, especially in places where they can be seen, no matter where you are parked.
Do Speak to a Traffic Ticket Lawyer
Still have questions after reading this article? Not to worry. An experienced traffic ticket lawyer in your area will be able to help you understand the law and represent you in court, if needed.