AREA -- As the pages of the calendar turn and we find ourselves starting a new year, Thayer Assistant Police Chief Michael Bunting has some ideas to make roads safer in 2009.
"Bad driving is just a habit people get into. I think as people make their New Year's Resolutions, improving their driving habits should be one of them," Bunting said.
He offered some suggestions that could help make driving safer in the upcoming year.
* Use your turn signals. Letting other drivers know where you are heading avoids crashes.
* Stay calm. Don't compound another driver's foolish maneuver by making your own. Don't overreact to events that can lead to road rage.
* Know where you are going. And, if you do make a wrong turn, just keep going. More often than not, you can return to the correct road pretty quickly and do it without endangering others.
* Maintain your car. Check all fluid levels, change the oil if it's due, clean the windshield, windows and headlights, make sure your lights and directionals are working properly, check the tire tread and air pressure.
* Sleep. Rest can be your best defensive driving weapon. Long hours behind the wheel, particular at night, makes people drowsy, less alert to danger and increase a person's response time.
* Stop multi-tasking. Eating, reading and talking on a cell phone (even hands free) while driving are distracting.
* Never drink and drive. And, be alert for drivers who may not be as safe as you are.
* Get an emergency kit. A first aid kit should minimally include bandages, tape, wash and dry cloth and a topical antiseptic. A car kit should include oil, anti-freeze, transmission and brake fluids, basic tools, signal flare, flashlight with fully charged batteries and duct tape.