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Safe Driving Tips For Small Cars

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If you have ever switched between driving a compact car and a truck or SUV, you’ve probably noticed the differences. Getting into an SUV will give you added height, durability, and different handling. 

The reverse is also true! If you’re someone who normally drives a tall and large car, then you might be thrown off when you need to drive a smaller, more compact vehicle. 

For some tips on how to drive a small car, like a sports vehicle or a sedan, safely, read below. We put together some great tips for you if you are ever in this situation. 

1. Mind The Speed Limit and Use Your Cruise Control

Speed limits are designed to help keep all drivers safe at all times. They are created by engineers who can determine what speeds around which curves are safest and what limits would prevent fatal crashes.  

When you’re in a sports car, it’s tempting to want to drive fast – however, there are also major risks when you go too fast in a smaller car. You can see some examples of this in the ultimate guide to car accidents

Being in a small and low-to-the-ground car and experiencing a high-speed collision could be fatal. For your safety, you are far better off maintaining a speed closer to the speed limit. Using the cruise control setting is another way to remind yourself not to go too fast. 

2. Keep Track of Escape Routes as You Drive

Drivers of sports cars and sedans are at a higher risk of being badly injured or killed in vehicle collisions because the smaller vehicle is lower to the ground and has fewer protective structures in place to keep those inside safe, says CDC. This means it’s even more important for these drivers to avoid accidents through escape routes. 

An escape route is a path through the traffic to safety. In case of a collision happening in front of you somewhere, you should have a direction in mind where you would go if braking weren’t an option. 

Sometimes, slamming on the brakes too hard puts you at risk of being rear-ended and injured. If you have a car following you close behind, then finding a path in front is better. 

For example, swerving off the road where it looks safe while you reduce your speed could be an option. But if you’re on a bridge, or there are signs on the side of the road, then this would make slamming the brakes safer. 

You don’t always have to know exactly where to go, but as a small car driver, having these plans in the back of your head in case of an emergency is good practice. 

3. Always Follow the 4-second Rule

The 4-second rule dictates that after the car in front of you passes a stationary object, at least 4 seconds should go by before you pass that same object. 

This rule is handy because it accounts for changes in speed (see here). If you are traveling at lower speeds, you can come to a stop in less time, so you don’t have to be very far behind the person in front of you. 

Conversely, on an interstate road going much faster, it will take significantly more time to stop, and you should be much further back. 

The 4-second rule applies in both cases; as long as you follow it, you don’t have to do any math or calculations for safety as a small car driver.  

Final Thoughts

It’s important for small-car drivers to avoid collisions at all costs. Drivers need to account for the difference in driving closer to the ground compared to other vehicles. Use these tips to help prevent and avoid potential collisions.  

Last Updated: August 30, 2022

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