How to Tune Up Your Driving Skills and Banish Bad Road Habits

Article contributed by guest blogger Mark Connor of

When it comes to driving, there’s always room for improvement. We can all benefit from refreshing our road knowledge and reviewing the driving practices that keep us safe. After all, the best way to make our roads safer is to become better drivers ourselves. So, whether you’re just learning how to drive or you’ve been at it for a while, check out these tips to tune up your skills.

Understand Your Car’s Limits

Take some time to research the pros and cons of your vehicle so you can drive more efficiently and avoid getting yourself into dangerous situations. For example, because Ford Mustangs are designed to provide an entertaining driving experience, people often drive them carelessly at high speeds and increase the risk of an accident occurring. While Mustangs tend to guzzle gas, recent models have an independent rear suspension to keep the car stable on uneven surfaces. On the other hand, Jeep Wranglers have less-than-ideal aerodynamics and slower steering, so they tend not to be the best vehicle selection for those long road trips. However, Jeeps are great for driving in inclement weather conditions.

Check Your Hand Position

Exactly where you grip the steering wheel may seem irrelevant to your safety on the road, but incorrect hand positioning leads to inefficient steering techniques—one of the main driver errors that cause accidents. Keep your hands at nine and three for the optimal combination of control and safety. Use your fingers to turn the wheel, and never grip it from the inside. Correct hand placement on the wheel will also keep your arms out of the airbag path.

Keep a Safe Following Distance

Following a vehicle at a safe distance is essential for stopping safely if something happens on the road up ahead. Smart Motorist recommends staying two full seconds behind the car in front of you under most driving conditions. If you’re driving in bad weather, consider leaving six to nine seconds of distance.

Stick to Speed Limits

Everyone knows that speeding is dangerous. However, many of us think that speeding will get us to our destinations more quickly. In reality, driving over the limit will only shave mere minutes off your commute time. So, try to slow down and stick to speed limits to reduce your likelihood of getting in an accident. By driving more slowly, you’ll also reduce strain on your car.

Put Your Phone in the Back Seat

Distracted driving causes 9 deaths every day. Any activities that take your attention away from the road can increase your risk of experiencing a crash. Some common driving distractions include texting, talking on the phone, eating, personal grooming and checking maps. If you have trouble putting the phone down, keep it in the back seat where you can’t reach it. Planning your route ahead of time can also keep you off your phone.

Don’t Drive Drowsy

As sleep deprivation becomes the norm for the busy public, it’s clear that driving while tired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Drowsy driving impairs our reaction times and decision-making skills. Lack of sleep, illness and certain medications can cause us to feel drowsy behind the wheel, endangering ourselves and everyone else on the road. Whenever you drive, look out for signs that you’re too drowsy to operate a vehicle—such as continuous yawning, memory lapses, or drifting out of your lane. If you ever notice these symptoms, consider calling a friend to pick you up. Alternatively, AAA recommends pulling over for a 20-minute nap to recover some energy.

Practice Driving in Tough Conditions

Although we have control over our own driving habits, we can’t do much about the weather. We can, however, learn how to drive in snow, sleet, rain, fog and wind so we can avoid accidents when the weather gets rough. Consider taking a specialty driver’s training course for bad-weather driving. These programs teach students how to maneuver in rain and navigate hills and corners in icy conditions.

You’re never too old to brush up on safe driving habits. Even if you’re a great driver, you never know how other people on the road are going to behave. Driving defensively and avoiding bad habits yourself is the best way to stay safe out there.

About the Author:

This article was contributed by the founder of, Mark Connor.  Connor created after his son, who has ADHD, started driving. He hopes to raise awareness about important driving habits that can save lives by encouraging teens and adults alike to make good decisions behind the wheel.  

Mark ConnorHow to Tune Up Your Driving Skills and Banish Bad Road Habits

More Takata Airbags Recalled

Another huge recall this week – nearly 800,000  more Fords added to the list of Takata airbag recalls. It’s the same problem:  Takata brand airbags can shoot shrapnel at car passengers when an airbag deploys.

Takata airbag recalls require IMMEDIATE REPAIR. Repairs are FREE.


  • 2010 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX
  • 2010 and 2011 Ford Ranger
  • 2010 to 2012 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ,
  • 2010 and 2011 Mercury Milan, and the 2010 to 2014 Ford Mustang.



  • Recall repairs are FREE
  • Some dealers can help make repairs more convenient, ask for a loaner, mobile repair or what else they can do to make it easier to repair your car right away
  • Even if your car’s recalled airbag has been repaired, you could be subject to newer airbag recalls. Check your vin here
  • Some 2006 Ford Rangers’ airbags are considered so dangerous they are in Do Not Drive status. Other Do Not Drive cars 2001-2002 Honda Civic, 2001-2002 Honda Accord, 2002-2003 Acura TL, 2002 Honda CR-V, 2002 Honda Odyssey, 2003 Acura CL, 2003 Honda Pilot, certain 2006 Mazda B-Series (Mazda advises do not drive)
  • More Ford Info:
  • Millions of makes and models have been recalled for dangerous Takata airbags. Check all your cars here for Takata airbag recalls and all other possible recalls


  • Check your VIN
  • Call your local dealer to arrange repair
  • Ask if the dealer can offer an conveniences – a loaner, other transpo, mobile repair at your home or office, etc
  • DO IT NOW! Be Motor Safe!





Sandra ThomasMore Takata Airbags Recalled

Car Fires! Know This:

Heads up Kia and Hyundai Owners

Make: Kia and Hyundai –  2011-2014 Kia Sorento, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, and Hyundai Santa Fe, and 2010-2015 Kia Soul vehicles

Overview: About 400 complaints of engine fires, engine failures (with and without fires), melted wires. Some cars recalled in 2015, 2017 – others not yet recalled pending a government investigation.

Threat: Cars suddenly catching fire without warning or external trigger, like car crashes. Some crash-related fires as well. Some cars that have been repaired catch fire anyway.

Of Course: It’s free to get a recalled car repaired, but only some fire risk cars have been recalled. Many cars in question have *not* been recalled. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating nearly two million cars and may decide more recall solutions are in order. Car safety advocated group, the Center for Auto Safety, is demanding recalls now of three million cross-over models and sedans.

Right Now:  Check’s recall checker  to learn whether your car is under recall. Other makes are recalled for fire risk. Check you car now!

If you smell smoke, melting wires, experience engine failure or see fire —

  • Calmly pull over to the right side of the road. If you’re all the way left, pull off to the left
  • Turn off your car and carefully step out and away
  • Do not stand near your car. You don’t want to be close to a potential fire, of course. And what you may not realize is it’s dangerous on the shoulder where looky-loos often veer toward the direction in which they’re looking – at you on the shoulder! Seriously, people get killed standing on the shoulder all the time. Get away from the car and traffic!
  • Call 911
  • *And if you are driving a Kia or Hyundai and experience engine failure, a fire could follow. Get over, out and away.







Sandra ThomasCar Fires! Know This:

Teen Drivers? YIKES

Young drivers are, by far, the most at risk for crashes.  In fact, car crashes are the number one killer of our teens.

They’re gonna drive, that’s a given for most kids.

What they drive – that is not destiny. That’s a choice where moms and dads can make a difference.

Safest cars for teen drivers are those with the following qualities.

  • Electronic stability control (ESC)
  • Lower horsepower engine
  • Heavier weight cars
  • Cars *not* under recall

To ensure a car you’re considering is under a safety recall check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on . It’s free. Guess what else is free? dealership repairs of recalled cars!

See the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s newly issued list of cars best for teens here:

Sandra ThomasTeen Drivers? YIKES

Big Ford Recall – What to do if your Engine Stalls

Risk: Sudden engine stalling, unexpectedly running out of gas

Ford recalled 1.3 million Ford Focus cars because fuel system valves can get stuck open, causing cars to suddenly stall, fail to re-start and/or unexpectedly run out of gas increasing the risk of crashing. You may see warning lights.


  • First clue? As soon as you sense trouble, hit your turn signal and make your way to the shoulder. Don’t wait for a complete stall out.
  • No power? Turn on your flashers and call 911. Don’t try to drift to the side of the road unless you have enough momentum and clear lanes to get there. You don’t want to block two lanes!
  • Panic? Yep, people do. But you are going to think straight: check for oncoming traffic, use your turn signal and get over
  • Safe Side? Right side is best! But if you are stalling and in the left lane, exit left
  • Sit Tight? YES. Stay IN the car, ensure your seatbelt is on. Lookie Loo’s often drift in the direction they’re looking.
  • Roadside Rear-ender? Happens all the time. If you can, place your car in neutral to reduce impact energy if someone smashes into you
  • Can you get it Fixed Free? Yes, if it’s under recall you can! Find out by checking And guys? If your car is under recall, for Pete’s sake — get it fixed! Industry: Consumers:
Sandra ThomasBig Ford Recall – What to do if your Engine Stalls

Welcome to the Recall Matters Blog!

Today, we start the engine to the latest vehicle from – the Recall Matters Blog.  This blog will provide news, tips and information related to automotive recalls that extends beyond the recall announcements themselves.  Since our inception, has provided consumers with a thorough listing of every vehicle recall issued by NHTSA, as well as manufacturer voluntary recalls that are yet to be government mandated.  This latest addition of blog content allows consumers to learn more about how to protect themselves further from dangerous recalls.  We’re excited to have you!

Sean ReyesWelcome to the Recall Matters Blog!