Being in a serious car accident can have a devastating effect on your finances as well as your physical and emotional health. While some accidents are practically unavoidable, many can be prevented with better driving. Talking on the phone or texting, driving while intoxicated and speeding are the most common risk factors that can contribute to a preventable accident. If you consider yourself a cautious and responsible driver, you are off to a good start. Unfortunately, being a careful driver is not always enough to protect yourself from a life-changing collision. Because you have to share the road with other drivers who may not be as responsible as you are, you need to be aware of their actions at all times. Following the defensive driving tips below can help you stay safe on the road and minimize your risk of becoming a car accident victim.
1. Take your car in for regular safety inspections. Maintaining your car in good condition is one of the most important aspects of staying safe while driving. How your car functions can have a big impact on your reaction time and your ability to effectively handle potentially dangerous driving conditions. In addition to getting your car checked out on an ongoing basis, pay attention to your brake system. If you feel changes in the way your brakes are responding, you need to have them looked at by a professional mechanic as soon as possible.
2. Wear your seat belt at all times. Even if you follow all of the recommended defensive driving guidelines, there is no guarantee that you are never going to be involved in a car accident. In case of a serious collision, wearing a seat belt can save your life.
3. Keep your distance. You should never drive too close to other drivers because you never know if the car in front of you might stop short or if you might be the one who needs to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting an obstacle on the road. In general, you should maintain about two seconds in driving distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you. However, that number should be higher if you have to account for unusual road conditions. On icy roads, your time delay should be about 10 seconds. In rain, four seconds should be sufficient. If the vehicle behind you is the problem, let the driver pass you or move into a different lane.
4. Slow down. Speeding makes it a lot tougher to maintain control over your vehicle in unexpected situations. Regardless if the driver behind you is making you feel rushed or other cars are speeding past you, you should always resist the temptation to drive above the speed limit.
5. Watch out for unusual behavior. Besides concentrating on the road in front of you, you need to be aware of all the other cars around you. Reckless or erratic behavior is a sign that the driver might be intoxicated, falling asleep behind the wheel or just not paying enough attention. If you spot drivers that are weaving in and out of their lanes or acting suspicious in any way, keep your distance.
6. Take a break when you need to rest, eat or make a phone call. Constantly paying attention to the road and the drivers around you can be exhausting, especially on long-distance drives or in dangerous road conditions. If you never take a few minutes to recharge and give your eyesight a break, you can force your body to shut down. To avoid preventable car accidents, you need to be at your best every single time you get behind the wheel.
Keeping these 6 recommendations in mind when driving will go a long way toward preventing car accidents, and saving money on your car insurance too.
Despite the best efforts of many drivers on the road, accidents still happen. If you’ve been injured in a collision caused by another driver, contact an auto accident lawyer today for a free consultation.