If you’ve recently been charged with a DUI in Missouri or are facing charges for driving under the influence, there are some changes you’re going to need to make in how you drive (once your license is no longer suspended).
When you have your Missouri driver’s license reinstated, it’s time to adopt some new lifestyle habits, especially when it comes to your driving.
Here are some tips and strategies to ensure that you don’t drink and drive again, as well as ways to keep you from being pulled over in the first place.
Have you ever been pulled over for a “broken” tail light? Or pulled over for not using your turn signal, but you did turn it on, it just had stopped working? Taking care of your vehicle is a great habit to get into whether or not you’ve ever had a run-in with the law.
Along with checking to make sure that all of your vehicle’s lights are working correctly, you also want to make sure to have a professional inspect your car’s fluids like oil, transmission fluid, brake and power steering fluid, and coolant, according to this article from Fix Auto. Making sure that everything is running smoothly, will not only keep you from getting pulled over for something that could have been easily avoided, but you will also be keeping yourself and other roadway users safe.
Avoid injury and legal issues by having your vehicle checked by a professional at the beginning of each season or at least twice a year to avoid dealing with costly issues.
Check Your Blind Spots
Looking in the rearview mirror and your side mirrors isn’t good enough. When you’re driving you need to make sure that you are checking your blind spots. Checking for blind spots essentially means, actually running your head where the mirrors don’t show to make sure that no vehicles or pedestrians are approaching or when you are changing lanes. In addition to checking for blind spots when you’re switching lanes or turning, to avoid accidents, make sure to use your turn signals, which leads up to our next good driving habit.
Use Your Turn Signals
Blinker, turn signal, directional, a turn signal by any other name is only as good as when you use it.
Not using your turn signals when you are operating vehicles is a good way to put yourself or another vehicle in harm’s way. Not to mention, it is a traffic violation on its own even if no accident occurs from a failure to use your signal. Any time you are turning onto a new road, into a parking lot or space, pulling over or switching lanes, use your turn signals to notify the drivers and pedestrians around you.
Distracted Driving: Don’t Do It
Americans are spending more time than ever in their cars. The average American has seen a 12 percent increase in time spent in their car per week (from 9 hours and 43 minutes per week to 10 hours and 50 minutes per week) from October 2018 to March 2019. Because of this many people, use their cars as their ‘home away from home’. Meaning many people are doing paperwork, looking at their phones, and even reading books to kill time while they are stuck in traffic commuting to and from work or school.
Doing all of these extracurricular activities while driving is a very bad habit and is referred to as distracted driving. If passing the time driving by doing something other than driving sounds like you, you can break this bad habit by leaving the paperwork, your phone, laptop, and anything else that might distract you in the backseat or trunk of your car.
One of the major causes of distracted driving is cell phone use. Whether it’s texting, taking a phone call, scrolling through social media, or shuffling through your playlist, in most states it’s illegal to use your cellphone while driving.
Using your cellphone while driving can result in a traffic violation, in some cases distracted driving is considered as dangerous as a Missouri DUI. Break the habit, and focus on driving and only driving.
Have you ever been pulled over for driving erratically or swerving between lanes, but didn’t have a drop of alcohol in you? Daydreaming is probably to blame. It’s not uncommon for people, especially people who make the same route every day to lose focus of actually driving. Your mind may start to wander about your to-do list, or what that co-worker said to you at work last week, or a great idea you’ve been dreaming up. Whatever the case, leave it for when you’re not behind the wheel. Here are some ideas that this article offers up as ways to keep focused on driving:
- Taking different routes to break up your routine.
- Keep your eyes moving by changing where you look every two seconds. Longer than that can cause a stare, which often encourages daydreaming.
- Chew gum or eat something crunchy to stay alert.
- Create thought-provoking scenarios by asking yourself “what-if.” Ask yourself, “what if the car in front of me suddenly stops?” not only will these thoughts keep your mind alert, but actually prepare you if the situation you conjured becomes a reality.
Know When Driving Isn’t An Option
Based on the title of this article, there’s a good chance that you’ve already been charged with a DUI in Missouri (or you are just interested in picking up good driving habits-good for you). Regardless of what brought you here, if you only learn one thing from this article, let it be this: know when driving isn’t an option. Meaning if you’ve consumed alcohol, make a plan to not drive after. This does not include:
- Taking a nap to ‘sober up’.
- Blowing into a friend’s breathalyzer they got at a dollar store to see if you’re good.
- Thinking that you know your limits.
- Thinking that a buzz is ok to drive with.
- Being the less drunk person that is driving.
This does include:
- Making a plan to stay the night at the place where you are drinking, like a friend’s house.
- Having a reliable DD (Designated Driver).
- Getting a Lyft, Uber, or Taxi.
- Not drinking alcohol if you are planning on driving.
We hope these habits will help you to be a safer driver after a DUI in Missouri. If you need legal help or more information about safe driving habits, we invited you to contact our DWI attorneys at DWI Springfield at your earliest convenience.