To Err is to be Human

They say that you can recognize a diamond by its flaws and that to err is to be human. That may be true but rarely do our errors lead to extreme property damage, personal injury, and the loss of life. While most of us will be drivers for the majority of our lives — and therefore have plenty of time to perfect our skills behind the wheel — we don’t need to embrace our bad tendencies for habit’s sake. Wisdom is in improving early and often.

The problem with bad habits is that they are so hard to break. Anyone who has failed at establishing a daily exercise routine or has brought their vehicle in for car repairs yet again due to distracted driving knows what we mean. 

Not only will unchecked bad habits linger well into old age (a fact that has brought about a movement to improve driving instructions for the elderly, due to the high statistics of their collision-related injury and death), but they can literally rewire our brains if indulged for too long.

Bad Habits and Car Repairs

The thrill of beating another car past the light, getting past a police car without a ticket, or even simply arriving at our destination five minutes early, play into a process of chemical stimuli that cause our brains to “buy-in” more to unsafe habits. That acceptance of risk, mixed with the hubris that nothing bad will happen, has led many people to untimely visits to Master Muffler.

In order to avoid unplanned trips to our Layton car repair center, it’s best to identify our own bad habits and resolve to change them. Here is a list of the most common:

Dash Light Apathy

How many of us have seen a maintenance light illuminate on the dashboard and simply ignored it? It happens all too often. No one wants to subject themselves to the time and expense it will require to tune up their car or get an oil change, so they drive with the hope that the problem will resolve itself. 

Be sure to act if you see your car indicate any of the following warnings:

  • Engine temperature
  • Battery charge
  • Oil pressure
  • Brakes

Beating the Light

No matter how adverse we are to NASCAR or to street racing in general, there’s a strange phenomenon of being behind the wheel and feeling the need to beat the other cars around us — beat them to the light, or past the light; beat them into the parking stall; beat them into or out of the neighborhood. With regards to the traffic light, this again has to do with our brain chemistry. The yellow light is a literal countdown before you need to stop moving; to beat it would mean that you are allowed to keep “progressing.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that red light running is the cause of hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries every year.

Ignoring Blind Spots

To turn our shoulders and necks away from the front of the road to quickly check a blind spot seems unnatural to many new drivers, who patiently wait for it to become second nature through practice. Other drivers, on the other hand, let that good habit atrophy until they can’t be bothered to check if another car is in their passing lane.

Luckily, there are lots of ways to avoid the unnecessary car repairs that come from side-swiping:

  • Purchasing inexpensive blind spot mirrors that stick on to your side mirrors
  • Invest in a car with side collision detection
  • Re-establish the habit of quickly turning your head

No turn of the head feels worse than paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to our Layton Master Muffler for an avoidable accident.

Aggressive Driving

One could make the argument that any of the bad habits previously mentioned are a form of aggressive driving because they exist on the assumption that you are a better driver than you are and that others will get out of your way. What happens, then, if everyone on the road shares that same feeling about themselves?

Aggressive driving is heavily cracked down on by local and state police officers, who will ticket you for speeding, following too close, driving excessively slow, and more. Remember: the best driver on the road is a courteous one.

Not Tying Down Loads

This bad habit is less about the thrill of superiority that one may get behind the wheel and has more to do with apathy, laziness, or bad instruction. We’ve all followed behind someone whose truck bed looked dubious at best, and have consequently been nervous that someone from their car would fly back and hit us.

Loose debris is extremely dangerous, both at the moment that it drops onto the road and again as it lies there, waiting for an unsuspecting driver — maybe one driving too aggressively — to hit it. At the worst, this would cause an injury or death, while at the least it’s another trip to our Layton car repair shop for an unscheduled fix.

We can all improve our driving skills by accepting that we have bad habits and resolving to do better. If you find that you do need the expertise of a car repair professional, visit us at the Layton Master Muffler for quick and efficient service.