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Morning roadways can get busy: The U.S. Census Bureau says 86 percent of American workers drive themselves to their job. If this includes you, stay cautious with these tips for commuting to work safely.
- Leave early. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, speeding plays a role in approximately one-third of traffic deaths. If you have a long commute, build a few extra minutes into your schedule so you can stick to the speed limit and accommodate for heavy traffic. And stay alert throughout the drive — even if it’s a familiar commute. Be prepared for your exits, make lane changes early so you’re in the correct turning lane and listen to traffic reports to be prepared for situations that could cause delays.
- Wear appropriate footwear. Your shoes could affect your ability to control your car in some situations. Open-heel shoes can slip off and wedge under pedals, while high heels can catch on floor mats, delaying acceleration or braking. Wear sneakers or low-heel shoes while driving — and slip on your work shoes once you’ve arrived.
- Drive distraction-free. Avoid anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road and your mind off driving. This includes using your cell phone (even hands-free devices), grooming, changing radio stations and other common distractions.
- Avoid aggressive driving. Mornings can sometimes be stressful. Add a busy roadway, and that can compound. Be cautious to curb your road rage and avoid becoming the target of an aggressive driver.
- Shield against harsh sunlight. Morning and evening commutes sometimes coincide with sunrise or sunset. In addition to using the car’s sun visor, wear a pair of polarized sunglasses and keep your windshield clean to maximize visibility. Also reduce your speed, leave extra space between you and the car ahead of you and turn your headlights on so other drivers can see you better.