Driving 101: Back to the Basics

Before getting their driver’s license, every New Mexico driver must prove that they know the rules of the road and are able to properly and safely operate a vehicle. However, after some time, driving can become second nature, and  many fail to adhere to even the most basic rules. 

This type of mentality can be dangerous, prompting error and a lack of focus. Even the most experienced and long-standing drivers should follow the basics in order to ensure their safety and that of other drivers throughout Albuquerque.  

We recognize that some of us may need a little reminder, so that’s exactly what this blog is; an overview of driving basics that all drivers should practice every time they get behind the wheel. 

Don’t Tailgate

Tailgating is the number one cause of rear-end collisions. You may be tempted to follow too closely to the vehicle ahead of you because they’re going under the speed limit or because you’re running late, but if that vehicle has to suddenly brake, you have little time to react, and are therefore, to blame for the rear-end collision. 

Tip: At any time, you should be three seconds apart from the vehicle ahead of you. Monitor when the vehicle in front of you has passed an object, such as a sign or marker. You should pass that same object no less than three slow seconds after. Additionally, many newer cars include a following distance feature, in which you can program your vehicle to stay at a safe, certain distance from the vehicle ahead. 

Blind Spots

Blind spots are areas around your car that you’re unable to see while looking ahead or through your mirrors. These can be dangerous when switching lanes, putting you and other drivers at risk. If someone were to be in your blind spot and you fail to see them and hit them, you may be at fault for the collision. 

Tip: Every car is different and therefore has different blind spots, so knowing where they are is key. One way to learn where your blind spots are is to park your vehicle and have someone walk around it at a car’s distance. Watch them through your mirrors and make note of the areas where you can’t see them; these are likely your blind spots. When on the road, be sure to check your blind spots before you switch lanes, while merging, and when pulling away from a curb. You can do this with a shoulder check, in which you quickly turn your head over your right or left shoulder to look out your side window and towards your blindspot. Additionally, many newer cars include a Blind Spot Monitoring system, in which it will automatically alert you if a car is in your blind spot. 

Yellow Lights

Contrary to what many drivers practice, yellow lights warn a driver to slow down not speed up. If you’re approaching a yellow light and brake too harshly or proceed to speed through it, you could cause a collision, and one that you may be responsible for.

Tip: Be alert when approaching an intersection and hover your foot over the brake. No vehicle, no matter its size, will stop within its length, meaning if your car is approximately 20 feet long and you’re 20 feet from the intersection, you should proceed through the yellow light. If you are further away than the length of your vehicle however, you should brake.   

Stop Signs

When you see a stop sign, you should come to a complete stop, even if no other drivers or pedestrians are visible. If you were to roll through a stop sign and hit another vehicle or pedestrian, you would indefinitely be at fault. 

Tip: Be sure to stop within two feet of the stop sign and scan the entire intersection. Look for pedestrians, especially when making a right-hand turn, and be sure no vehicles are approaching or running through the intersection. Basically, the rule of thumb is: once it is safe, proceed. 

Albuquerque’s Car Crash Lawyers

We encourage you to follow these tips and to always drive safely and responsibly. However, even when an abundance of caution is taken, accidents can still happen. If you become the victim of an Albuquerque car accident, turn to the experts at The Dinelli Law Firm! With a dedication to justice and an unwavering willingness to fight for you, our team will work hard to get the compensation you deserve!