Safe driving tips from a recovering speed demon

Nothing can make a driver’s stomach drop quite like zipping down the freeway and catching a glimpse of red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror. Unfortunately, male drivers (who lack the superpower of sweet-talking their way out of a speeding ticket anyhow) may be more prone to this unfortunate turn of events. This is especially true when driving flashy high-performance cars. According to recent studies, men are approximately 50 percent more likely to be pulled over than women, making them targets for higher insurance premiums and hefty fines. That means that even with your base model ... there's still a lot for guys to learn when it comes to safety on the road.

Regardless of gender, speeding poses numerous risks, making up one-third of all vehicle-related incidents. That said, it’s time to clean up your act and give your questionable driving habits a second look in your side-view mirrors.

When I first started doing auto reviews, cars like a Kia Soul or Nissan Altima posed little danger of reckless speed ... but you can still be dangerous even in those "family cars". As my driving skills got better I worked my way up and proved to the manufacturers that I was responsible enough and skilled enough to handle some pretty amazing vehicles. Right now one of my dream rides is the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye. This is the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world. With a 797-horsepower engine beneath the hood, it can reach a top speed of 203 mph and 0-60 in 3.5 seconds!

While this machine can get you in trouble faster than a base-model Charger, the reality is that both vehicles can be deadly if you push your luck. Speed limits are more than just suggestions, they are designed to keep you and others on the road safe.

Not only does driving at excessive speeds make it challenging to handle your vehicle, but it also decreases your reaction time, which is crucial in avoiding accidents. When speeding drivers crash, the severity of their injuries and vehicular damage increases with each speedometer tick above the speed limit. With severe consequences in mind, drivers with a need for speed should take the following steps to ensure a safe, ticket-free journey.

Let's take a look at some ways to improve your safe driving skills ...

Take a Defensive Driving Course

One way to hone your safe-driving skills is to take a defensive driving course. Drivers education classes offer live-saving advice and need-to-know skills to transform your commute from reckless to effortless.

Reduce your chance of crashing, learn to anticipate potential threats, and refresh your knowledge of driving fundamentals with quick and easy courses like DriveSafe Online that you can complete from the comfort of your own home. Besides earning invaluable driving skills, taking a defensive driving course can lower insurance premiums, and expunge traffic violations from your reckless past.

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Plan Your Trip Accordingly

While some individuals overtake posted limit signs because of a need for speed, others simply are pressed for time. Avoid substantial fees and record dings by planning adequate time and route details for a comfortable, stress-free commute sans-speeding. Those extra fifteen minutes of sleep aren’t worth the stress of potential run-ins with law enforcement.

Pay Close Attention

Although some speed demons are in it for the thrill, many simply don’t notice their speedometers inch toward risky territory. Take a special effort to watch your speedometer and posted speed-limit signs closely as you make your way to your destination. Are you still finding it difficult to rein in your lead foot? Utilize your vehicle’s cruise control feature to maintain a consistent, safe speed and evade pesky traffic violations.

Blow off steam before you leave home, the road is not a race track.

Blow off Steam Beforehand

Simply put - the highway is not a speedway. No matter how good you think you are or how many times you've done it before, you are not Mario Andretti. Plus, even professional drivers are smart enough to realize that fast aggressive driving should be left to track days.

Many drivers—men in particular—report their reason for speeding as thrill-seeking or stress-relieving. Avoid the temptation to race across busy freeways and closely monitored highways by relieving stress before taking on the road ahead, or indulge in a fast-paced driving simulation video game for safe, action-packed fun. If you prefer a more tangible release, check out various local race tracks for legal, lightning-fast fun and a one of a kind adrenaline rush.

Pick Roads That Match Your Skill Level

Anyone can drive on the typical American interstate highway but we all know that twisty backroads can be more fun. These challenging roads though can present all sorts of unexpected dangers - especially if it's your first time driving them at high speed. For instance, while roads like Pike's Peak and Mount Washington Auto Road are famous for their races, you aren't a professional driver and so you shouldn't look at these roads as a challenge to beat the clock.

Drive less frequently

A simple, environmentally friendly solution for speeding temptations is driving less. By utilizing public transport, taking your bike for a spin, or walking to reasonably distanced destinations, you eliminate the chance for racked-up tickets and potentially dangerous incidents. You also significantly reduce harmful pollutants from excessive vehicle use by walking, biking, or carpooling via public transport.

Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye

Parting Shot

Although tempting, racing your way down a busy highway can result in costly, potentially fatal incidents. Avoid unnecessary stress and turmoil by practicing safe and defensive habits, indulging in legal racing ventures, and integrating alternatives to driving into your daily routine.