You never expect to be involved in a car accident. However, the likelihood of being in at least one collision in your lifetime is fairly high. Motor vehicle accidents occur every 60 seconds in locations all over the world, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration. Despite what many would think, failure to follow the rules of the road is not always the cause behind car accidents. While not all vehicle accidents can be avoided, you can significantly reduce your risk of being involved in a crash by following some simple prevention tips. Learn how to prevent car accidents from happening.
1. Slow Down
Speeding is a common contributor to vehicle accidents. The faster you drive, the higher the likelihood of getting into the accident. At higher speeds, these accidents are more likely to cause personal injuries and extensive damage to your vehicle. Speeding also reduces the amount of time you have to react to disturbances in the road, such as a cat that runs into the street. Driving over the speed limit can also have other consequences. If a police officer or state trooper happens to see you speeding, you’ll be given a ticket.
2. Scan the Area Ahead
Many drivers make the mistake of only focusing on the road directly ahead of them. However, this practice does not allow you ample time to prepare for what is higher up the road. When driving, you want to keep your eyes constantly scanning the area ahead of you. In addition to watching the car in front of you, watch the traffic in front of that car, as well as any vehicles at intersecting roads. By always being vigilant about your surroundings, you can drastically reduce your risk of being involved in an auto accident.
3. Avoid the Fast Lane
While there’s certainly times when using the fast line is a good idea, more times than not it can be avoided. It can be aggravating to watch other drivers zoom by, cutting in and out of traffic. You may think that you’ll gain the upper hand by stepping on the accelerator and cutting back in front of them. However, this is the type of behavior that can lead to a car accident. If possible, avoid the ‘fast lane’ which is where most accidents happen. Staying on the right is also useful when you need to pull off onto the shoulder or quickly take an exit.
4. Be Wary of Blind Spots
Nearly 840,000 blind spot accidents occur each year in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Even experienced drivers can become so comfortable on the road that they forget to consider their blind spots before switching lanes or making turns. To avoid this common type of accident, be sure to always adjust your rearview mirror and side mirrors before leaving your driveway. You also don’t want to solely depend on your mirrors to see what’s behind you. Turn your head to see who may be approaching.
5. Keep Both Hands on the Wheel
While hearing this tip may bring back memories of your driving test, it remains an important suggestion. While many seasoned drivers tend to drive with just one hand on the wheel, having two hands in the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions allow you more control over the vehicle. If an emergency situation were to arise while driving, having both hands on the wheel makes it easier to swerve out of the way at the last minute, which could mean the difference of remaining safe or colliding with another vehicle.
6. Know Your Vehicle
A vehicle pushing 20 years old is usually not going to stop at the drop of a dime like a new sports car would. As every vehicle is different, it’s important to know your car and how it performs in all types of situations. If you know that your vehicle takes slightly longer to stop, be sure to stay an appropriate distance from the car in front of you in case you need to make a sudden stop. Also pay attention to how your car handles in snow, ice, and heavy rain, and how to remain safe in these conditions.
7. Don’t Tailgate Other Vehicles
When traffic is moving at a snail’s pace, it’s tempting to tailgate the vehicle in front of you. Tailgating is a common occurrence on both residential roads and highways, and while you may think you have total control over the vehicle, tailgating is a common cause of rear end collisions. If you’re not watching closely, the vehicle in front of you may slam on their breaks and you may wind up hitting them from behind. Avoid such car accidents by keeping at least a two second minimum of following distance between you and the car ahead of you.
8. Maintain Your Vehicle
Failure to maintain your vehicle can result in car accidents you would never expect. A properly running vehicle should start, accelerate, stop, and steer with ease. If your vehicle is slow to stop or tends to oversteer or understeer, you may want to have it looked at by a professional mechanic. Also consider other aspects of the vehicle, such as the tires. Bald tires can make it more difficult to stop, especially when driving on rainy or snowy roads. Keeping your vehicle in good condition is critical to prevent accidents.
Vehicles are a comfortable form of transportation that provides us with freedom and the ability to get to and from various destinations with ease. However, there are real risks that come with driving a car. Understanding these risks and how to prevent them from happening can drastically reduce your likelihood of being involved in a collision. If you do find yourself involved in a car accident, know how to best handle your situation. After calling the police and possibly an ambulance if you are injured, you should also contact an auto accident lawyer to recover losses resulting from the accident.