Before setting off for the first time on a day I always flip the switches to check all the lights work, kick the tyres, glance at the ground for oil, and then once I get on the bike engage each brake in turn and try to give the bike a push. It takes seconds to do. I should check the chain more, but if that starts to get too loose you can feel that when riding.
I also listen to music (or cricket commentaries!) most of the time when riding as it allows me to better concentrate on the road. When I was first learning I would overthink things and get distracted by needing to do this and then that, and each being a separate step that slows things down, rather than just doing them.
I think listening to something distracts the subconscious part of my brain, allowing the conscious part to just concentrate on the road and riding. Not just to avoid obsessing on the mechanics of riding, but also it makes it more difficult to get caught up with other thoughts that may arise, especially on boring sections of road.
But there is plenty of research proving that some people study better listening to music, and others need silence. So it is probably the same principle as that. Although in more hazardous areas, like busy urban ones, the extra noise can be a distraction so then I would turn it off. I would always turn it off if filtering. Or choose to sit in traffic so I can listen to the cricket.
I am a terrible rider though, as in lack of confidence rather than stupid, so I have plenty of anxieties. And every bad experience sticks. So I am very cautious if in a second lane when passing someone join from a slip road (or in lane three when they move from one to two) just in case they decide to move across two lanes at once. All because one time a car came within inches of merging with me by doing that.
And not something most riders need to worry about, but at the moment I am particularly paranoid about hypos on roads with no safe place to stop, such as motorways without a hard shoulder. Mainly because the other week I had to stop in a lay-by on the A14 to check my glucose levels, and then had to eat a piece of cake (it is the law!) while lorries are passing by inches away as there was no physical segregation. It did not feel safe for that length of time, let alone had I needed to wait for an hour. I do not know how I have been lucky to have never had one in seven years of riding so far, but it will surely happen at some point.
So what keeps me safe when riding is biscuits and crips and sweets!