Owning a car is a major privilege, but it also comes with many responsibilities. We’ve compiled a list of 10 key habits for responsible drivers – check it out below and see how you measure up!
- Buying an affordable car. This might seem like a no-brainer, but according to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, more drivers are relying on long-term car loans to pay for vehicles they can’t afford. As a result, many drivers are stuck in a negative-equity situation, where they owe more on their loan than their car is worth.
- Maintaining tires. You should be checking your car’s tire pressure at least once a month. Having properly inflated tires prevents wear and tear and will extend the life of your tires. In addition, regularly rotating your tires will ensure they wear evenly.
- Scheduling regular oil changes. Regular oil changes reduce the friction in your engine and remove any pollutants from the car’s system. By keeping up with this important piece of maintenance you’ll extend the life of your engine and improve your fuel efficiency.
- Washing and waxing. Washing your car will remove damaging dirt and debris, and a layer of wax will protect your car’s finish. Both these actions will help prevent chips and scratches to your paint, which can eventually lead to rust and corrosion.
- Shopping around for car insurance. You’re legally required to purchase auto insurance, but that doesn’t mean you need to pay sky-high premiums. The best way to save money is to compare quotes – which you can easily do online – before you renew your current policy.
- Putting down the phone. The Ontario Provincial Police have named distracted driving the deadliest driving behavior for the fifth year in a row. If you can’t stop checking your phone while driving, keep it in your glove compartment or back seat so it’s out of sight and out of mind when you’re behind the wheel.
- Keeping a well-stocked emergency kit. Are you prepared for a flat tire? A dead battery? Or a breakdown on the highway? If you don’t have the proper emergency supplies, you might not be. Keep a well-stocked kit that includes things like jumper cables, a spare tire and jack, a first aid kit, a flashlight, blankets and roadside flares.
- Checking blind-spots. Checking your blind spots is one of the first things you’ll learn in driving school, but studies have shown that too many people are over-relying on their car’s driver assist technology rather than looking themselves.
- Conserving fuel. Using less gas is good for the environment – and your wallet. Natural Resources Canada recommends five fuel-efficient driving habits that could reduce your fuel consumption by as much as 25 percent, such as accelerating gently, maintaining a steady speed, and coasting to decelerate.
- Keeping calm. Road rage isn’t just bad for your mental health; it’s also unsafe. Aggressive driving contributes to 56 percent of fatal car crashes, so it’s worth dealing with your anger before it gets out of control. If you feel yourself getting mad at other drivers, practice deep breathing, turn on some calming tunes, and even pull over if you need a few minutes to calm down.
If you haven’t checked all 10 habits off the list – don’t worry! You can start changing your behavior today to become a more responsible driver. The reward? You’ll have more money, a well-maintained car and, most importantly, you’ll be safer behind the wheel.