Car accidents are often avoidable. Even in situations out of your control, there are safety measures you can take to reduce your risk. In this article, we look at the most common causes of car accidents and offer tips on how to avoid them.
Distracted driving is the number one reason for car accidents in the States. It is easy to get too comfortable while driving. You forget that you’re in a steel machine, going very fast, right next to people doing the same. Never take your driving skills or safety for granted. Stay off the phone; don’t eat while you’re driving; don’t mess around with the radio. Keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and mind on what you’re doing.
OBEY THE SPEED LIMIT
People drive too fast for many reasons. We all get in a rush, and in a panic, we pour on the speed. For some, speeding is so normal that they don’t even realize they’re doing it. Wherever you are going, it’s better to be a little late than to risk your safety. Plan to leave a little earlier, and keep your eye on those speed limit signs.
This one should be obvious, but it never hurts to have a reminder. It’s easy to go out to dinner with friends and have one too many. Then you’re stuck, so you throw caution to the wind and decide to drive anyway. This is a terrible idea. Start planning your evenings more meticulously. Decide beforehand if you’re going to drink and how many you’re having. If you are drinking, don’t drive. Period. Take a rideshare there and back. Ride with a designated driver. Whatever you do, do not risk your life or the lives of others by drinking and driving.
DRIVE SAFELY AND COURTEOUSLY
Reckless driving is another common cause of accidents. Many people are overconfident on the road, weaving in and out of lanes, riding too close to the car ahead of them, and generally taking unnecessary risks. Remember that any slip-up could end in disaster. No matter how good your driving skills are, you don’t know who’s in the car ahead of you. If they suddenly stop, or if they decide to swerve at the same time as you, there could be a real problem.
BE EXTRA CAUTIOUS IN STORMS
Be it a blizzard or a thunderstorm, inclement weather creates hazards on the road. First, it lowers your visibility. Next, it affects road conditions, making them slick, which makes it harder to stop. If a storm breaks out, do not attempt to drive as normal. Take it slow. When visibility is low, consider turning on your hazard lights so other drivers can see you better. Get where you’re going a little late, safe and sound.
COME TO A COMPLETE STOP
It’s tempting to ignore stop signs and red lights, especially in quiet, familiar areas. This is never a good idea. No matter how deserted the area seems, you cannot predict who’s coming around the corner. Don’t roll through stop signs, and wait for lights to turn green. Have a little patience, follow the rules, and stay safe.
BE AWARE OF YOUNG DRIVERS
Some people believe that sixteen is too young to start driving. It’s a debatable position, but we can all agree that a sixteen-year-old isn’t fully developed. Teens are not inherently bad at driving, but they are inexperienced. New challenges will catch them off guard, and they may not react appropriately. If you see young drivers on the road, give them room. Stay behind them if you can. If you have a young driver in the home, consider sending them to a defensive driving course, preparing them for the challenges ahead.
TAKE EXTRA CARE AT NIGHT
Your risk of an accident nearly doubles at night. Visibility is low, both from the darkness and from the bright lights of oncoming cars. Some people suffer from night blindness, or nyctalopia. Even a minor case of night blindness can make night driving dangerous. Always be aware that both you and other drivers are impaired at night. Beyond visibility, night driving carries other dangers. People are more tired, and some have been drinking.
REGULARLY CHECK YOUR CAR FOR RECALLS
Defective vehicles regularly cause accidents on the road. There isn’t much you can do if your car is defective, but you can stay informed. Recalls happen only for dangerous reasons. A car manufacturer would never, for instance, recall a vehicle for a bad radio. Make checking your car for recalls a part of your regular routine. There are many online resources where you simply enter your VIN, and they will tell you if the car has been recalled.
BE CAREFUL DURING LANE CHANGES
Quick, risky lane changes are a common cause of accidents. Don’t let your desire to be quick override your need to be safe. Wait until there is sufficient room, and don’t squeeze into tight spots. If an oncoming car is speeding, let them pass. Cutting them off could lead to disaster.
MAKE SURE YOU’RE GOING THE RIGHT WAY
This tip is so simple, it may seem condescending. However, consider how easy it is to get lost in an unfamiliar area. Anyone could accidentally ignore a one-way sign or find themselves entering an off-ramp. If you’re in a new place, pay extra attention to all signage. It could be the difference between life and death.
DON’T TAKE RISKY TURNS
By now, you should notice a theme with many of these tips. Out of hurry and desperation, people make risky decisions on the road. If you meant to turn but find yourself in a straight-only lane, just go straight. If you’re about to miss an exit, don’t hit the gas and cross lanes to make it. There will be an opportunity to turn or exit later, even if it’s miles away. Again, it’s better to be late than to risk your safety.
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s risky behavior, call our firm today at 918-492-7674 for a free consultation. You may also contact us online.