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Common Driving Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

 It doesn't matter how long you’ve been driving; everyone makes mistakes, both big and small, every now and then. Some are relatively minor, such as forgetting your coffee on the roof of your car, while others are more severe and can even be dangerous.


This article will cover some of the most common driving mistakes and how to avoid them to make your next road trip a bit safer for you and everyone else on the roadway. Whether you need advice about speed control or avoiding common left-turn driving mistakes, this article is here to help guide you through it all.

Left Turn Mistakes

There are many mistakes you can make while turning left. Two common mistakes include turning your wheels left before you move in that direction and following a left-turning driver too closely.


The first one may sound confusing, so we’ll ask: before you can move and make the left turn, do you turn the steering wheel left? If you said yes, then you may be making this mistake. You can’t make a left turn until there are no more oncoming vehicles, and you need to not turn the steering wheel until you can move. Failing to do this could cause a serious problem in the case of an emergency, such as being rear-ended.


Following a left-turning driver too closely is another mistake. Whether you’re both sitting in the turn lane or they’re turning after having slowed down on the road, you need to allow them the same following distance as you would a vehicle that is driving straight in front of you. This is also for safety, just in case something goes wrong with the left-turning driver, as not leaving enough space for you to slow down and stop would cause an issue if they or someone around you is in an accident.


You might get hurt or crash when you would have otherwise been fine. Ensure you keep enough distance between you and a left-turning driver and don’t turn the steering wheel too early while waiting to turn left the next time you go for a drive.

Tired Driving

Waking up early to go to work or coming home after a long day can lead to our next common driving mistake: driving drowsy. Falling asleep at the wheel is dangerous for many reasons, from drifting into another lane to driving off of the road. There are things to watch for and ways to avoid driving while tired, though.


If you’re driving and you feel tired or notice one of the many other warning signs of drowsy driving, such as constantly yawning or hitting rumble strips, you need to find a safe place to stop. It could be a hotel where you stop to sleep for the night or just a rest stop where you catch a nap in your car. While you could drink a caffeinated beverage, this would only work until the caffeine has left your system.


If you can, take a nap and follow it up with a caffeinated beverage to help you stay awake while driving. If you can, avoid driving between midnight and six in the morning and in the late afternoon, as these are the times when you’re most likely to feel drowsy or tired.

Inconsistent Speed

Driving too fast or too slow are both hazards that you should avoid. Driving over the speed limit or too quickly during hazardous conditions decreases your time to respond to what’s happening around you and could cause you to crash, especially when roads are slippery or when visibility is low.


Driving too slow is a problem because that means the vehicles around you may not have time to stop before they collide with you, which could also cause a traffic jam if you’re driving too slowly and too many vehicles are trying to get around you. Some of the best ways to maintain your speed include checking your speedometer and activating the cruise control.


Your speedometer measures your speed, and this, in combination with the speed limit signs, will tell you if you’re driving too fast or slowly. Once you hit the speed limit, you can activate your cruise control to let your car maintain the speed while you just focus on driving.

Distracted Driving

Driving while distracted is very simple to define: if anything is pulling your attention away from driving, then you’re driving while distracted. Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous and is also, unfortunately, far more common than you’d want to think.


Anything from reading a billboard to talking to your passengers to looking at your phone is distracted driving, and the best way to avoid this is by eliminating as many distractions as possible. Turning your phone off or putting it on mute and ensuring you put it away so you’re not tempted to look at it, not joining in on the discussion happening in the car, and ignoring billboards are all solid ways to avoid driving distracted.


There are many other ways to get distracted while driving and just as many ways to avoid it. To know whether you’re driving distracted, ask yourself this question: would doing [insert task] draw my attention away from driving? If the answer is anything but no, then it either needs to not happen or wait until you can stop before being dealt with.

Changing Lanes Dangerously

There are quite a few ways to change lanes dangerously. Doing so while you turn, not using your turn signal, and not checking your mirror and blind spots are common errors people make while changing lanes. There are some steps you can follow to change lanes safely.


Once you determine you need to pass a vehicle, turn on your turn signal, then check your mirror and blind spots. Move into the left lane, turn off your signal, and then turn it back on as you approach where you can reenter the lane. Ensure you’re far enough in front of the vehicle and then reenter the lane before turning the signal off again.

Staying Safe on The Road

If done correctly, you should have passed the vehicle that was in front of you with no issues.

While there are many more mistakes one can make while driving, we hope we’ve at least helped you avoid making these ones in the future.


By following the tips outlined above carefully, you’ll help make the roadway a safer place not just for yourself but for other motorists as well.

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