7 Things You Should Be Doing While Driving (but Probably Aren't)

Driving, when you really think about it, is kind of terrifying. You're in control of a two-ton hunk of metal that has the ability to barrel down highways at breakneck speeds and/or break down in the middle of nowhere. Therefore, it's absolutely necessary to equip yourself with some basic knowledge before hitting the streets.

Luckily for you, we've got seven rules of the road you'd be wise to pay attention to.

1. Staying with the pack

The classic rule of thumb that the government uses for setting speed limits is that the posted speed should be around the 85th percentile of natural traffic speed. It's often lower than that, though, because a lot of areas go with preset speeds. That means most of the cars are speeding. Translation: if you’re not keeping up with the flow of traffic, you’re presenting a greater risk by going slow.

2. Driving in the right lane

If you’re in bumper-to-bumper traffic, sure, you can be in the left lane, but otherwise, the left lane is for passing only. Not only is staying in the left lane a great way to spark road rage in those around you, but in many states you can get a ticket for obstruction of traffic for staying in the left. Bravo to the officer above for enforcing the rule.

3. Braking with your left foot

Braking with your right foot entails moving your foot off the accelerator, over to the brake, then down. By keeping your left foot near the brake (not on it!), you reduce the time it takes to actually start slowing down in an emergency. Even if you’re only reducing your time by half a second, that’s 50 feet at 70 mph. If you’ve ever just barely rear ended someone because you didn’t stop in time, there’s a good chance that left foot-braking would’ve prevented it.

A note to those reading this that wish to cry foul and say braking with your left foot is dangerous, or that it only belongs on a race track, or that you’re likely to hit both pedals: You’re wrong. Let's just quote the NHTSA here: "both-footed driving does not seem to be a problem for those who have driven with both feet all their lives." Case closed.

4. Utilizing your ride's modern technology

Most cars now are Bluetooth-compatible, meaning you can pair your phone to it. This makes everything from changing music to reading maps easier and safer than ever before. 

If your car doesn’t have Bluetooth, you can add it for cheap.

5. Using your parking brake even if you're not driving a stick shift

Anyone who drives a manual knows to use the parking break, but what about for automatics? Turns out, it still needs regular use to prevent corrosion.

6. Giving your car adequate time to warm up

Basically, this gives your engine time to heat up the oil to the optimum temperature for maximum efficiency. Newer cars don't require this as much, but it's still a good idea to increase the longevity of your engine.

7. Recording everything

In these modern times of crazy Russian dash cam videos and law enforcement running amuck, installing a little camera in your car as almost becomes a necessity. The footage you record can also protect you from liability in collisions, and scammers looking to sue you by faking an accident.

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Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor, and can be found on Twitter. He's been left foot-braking since 2008.