13 Common Driving Mistakes That Can Cause Damage to Your Car

Driving is one of the most common forms of transportation, but it can also be one of the most dangerous if you’re not careful. We tend to make silly mistakes on the road or fall into bad driving habits, putting our safety at risk and sometimes leading to accidents. These can be very costly, so become aware of the most common driving mistakes that can cause damage to your vehicle so that you can stay safe on the road.

Driving Too Slowly

Many people recognize that speeding is dangerous, but driving too slowly can result in just as much damage. Plus, as it turns out, you can actually get a ticket for it. When you’re on the roads, you want to keep up with the rest of traffic. The best way to do this is to simply go the speed limit. Driving too slowly can be especially dangerous on the highway—if you prefer to drive more slowly, then stay in the right lane to remain safe.

Driving Too Fast

Speeding tickets are one of the most common types of tickets handed out by policemen. Speeding is incredibly dangerous for a number of reasons. The first is because higher speeds increase the risk of injury to yourself or someone else. You also have less time to stop if another vehicle brakes suddenly or if an animal jumps in front of you on the road. Speed limits exist for a reason—by following them, you lessen the risk of damage to your car.

Accelerating Over Speed Bumps

Speed bumps are meant to slow down drivers who may be driving too fast in a contained area such as a parking lot. You should always slow down for speed bumps—the same goes for potholes in the street, as well. Accelerating over a speed bump or a pothole can result in serious damage to your vehicle—it could mess up your alignment, break or destroy your shocks, and more. Be prepared to slow down as you approach speed bumps, and try to remain aware of potholes, especially during the wintertime.

Using the Wrong Type of Gas

Gas stations usually have a few different fuel options to choose from. The three options usually offered are:

  • Unleaded (87)
  • Plus Unleaded (89)
  • Premium (93)

Most cars on the market use the unleaded option, which is also the cheapest. You can check your car’s manual to see which type of gas your car uses if you’re unsure. It can be very easy to accidently fill your vehicle up with the wrong type if you’re not paying attention, but doing so can cause engine damage.

Sitting Incorrectly

Many people think sitting too close to the steering wheel is unsafe because of the airbags, but sitting too far back can be just as dangerous. Sitting further from the wheel may be more comfortable for the extra leg room, but it can reduce your ability to drive safely by impairing your vision and decreasing your control over the wheel. The key is to find a happy medium where you can sit comfortably and still properly operate your vehicle.

Driving on Low Tire Pressure

Checking your car’s tire pressure should be a part of your regular maintenance routine. Driving too fast on tires with low tire pressure can cause a blowout and a potentially deadly accident. Be sure to check your tire pressure routinely and make sure it’s at the appropriate psi.

Parking Too Close to Others

Parking too close to other cars can cause door dings and scratches, which can damage your car’s paint. Prevent this damage by always making sure you’re in between the yellow lines and that you have enough space to exit your vehicle. If you do happen to notice a scratch on your car, use a paint touch-up kit to fix the cosmetic damage.

Drinking and Driving

The NHTSA found that alcohol-impaired driving caused 29% of overall motor vehicle deaths in 2017. Drunk driving continues to be an issue, and the only way to prevent it is to be responsible. Many resources such as Uber and Lyft are available today to get you home safely, so take advantage of them to prevent injury, death, and/or damage to your vehicle.

Driving Drowsy

Another component that can affect your driving is drowsiness. We’ve all been in those situations where we struggle to stay awake while driving. This can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. You should always be energized and alert when you’re driving.

Getting Distracted

Texting and driving is a common way to get yourself into an accident. In many states, if you’re seen with a phone in your hand while driving, you can get a ticket. Take advantage of Bluetooth technology use your phone and remain hands-free. You should also try to avoid other distractions in the car, such applying makeup or messing with the radio or GPS. To prevent a costly accident, the road needs your full focus.

Not Using Turn Signals

Your turn signals are valuable tools. Using them communicates to other vehicles that you’re about to make a move—and failing to use them can easily cause an accident.

Not Wearing Shoes While Driving

Driving without shoes can be extremely dangerous. While it’s easy to jump into your car with flip-flops, you won’t have the best control of the pedals if you aren’t wearing the appropriate footwear. Not to mention, driving barefoot is illegal in many states.

Driving Too Close to Others

The final most common mistake that can cause damage to your car is driving too close to others. It’s recommended that stay at least two seconds behind the car in front of you when driving. An easy way to measure this is to find some sort of marker and count the seconds between the moment the car in front of you passes it and when you pass it. You want to leave enough room in case you suddenly have to brake. A good distance is especially important in rain or snow, as you’ll want to give yourself even more room in case you begin to slide.

13 Common Driving Mistakes That Can Cause Damage to Your Car infographic