I think we can all agree; car accidents are the WORST! Even if it is a little fender bender, it can completely ruin your day. The headache of trying to repair your car, contact insurance companies, and recover from whiplash can be a huge bummer. On a more serious note, car accidents can be extremely dangerous. Car accidents are among the leading causes of death in the United States. Majority of accidents are minor. Things like fender benders. Fortunately, there are some steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood you are involved in an accident.
- Have a Car That Is Ready to Drive. This means before you start your engine, ensure that everything on your car is functioning properly. Check your tires, make sure they have enough air and that the tread is okay. Also, check and be sure no warning lights are on like the check engine light. YOU should also be ready to drive. Never drive buzzed. This is clearly dangerous, not only to you but to others. Don’t do it!
- Use Effective Defensive Driving Techniques. Defensive driving is possibly a phrase you’ve heard before. It seems like many driver’s education classes try to ram that idea down your throat. Defensive driving is aimed at reducing the risk of collision. It is defined as a set of driving skills that allow you to defend yourself against possible collisions caused by other drivers or bad weather. Some defensive driving suggestions involve watching out for the other guy. Defensive driving involves:
- Keeping a vigilant eye.Check your rear-view mirror often, especially before you slow down, change lanes, or stop. This helps you see where other drivers are on the road and can help you prevent any potential hazards.
- Check your blind spotsAlthough this could be included in “keeping a vigilant eye,” it gets its own place because it is something that often gets forgotten.
- Use your turn signals. This suggestion is law, but it is something that many drivers have a problem with. Make using your turn signals a habit. Other cars will not read your mind. Don’t haphazardly swerve into another lane.
- Check an intersection– even if the light is green. Not everyone pays proper attention while going through an intersection. If you can see that there is a potential hazard before going through the intersection, you can prevent problems.
- Three-second rule.The three-second rule is a rule of thumb to help maintain a safe following distance. You should ideally stay at least three seconds behind any car that is directly in front of your car.
- Don’t Speed. Obey the law. Many people get into an accident because they were speeding. The higher the speed, the greater your risk of serious injury if you are involved in an accident. Speed limits dictate how fast cars are intended to go on that road. If you drive faster than is recommended, you are not only putting yourself at risk, but others as well. Around 30 percent of accidents are speed related.
- Wear Your Seatbelt. This one seems like common sense, but it cannot be overemphasized. If you are wearing your seatbelt, your beautiful face is less likely to slam into the windshield, because the seatbelt stops your movement. You are less likely to be thrown from your vehicle, as well as banging into your steering wheel, other passengers, and the car door. It can save your life.
- Don’t Drive Distracted. A distraction is anything that takes your attention off of driving. Anything from texting a friend to adjusting the radio. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) record ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old were distracted at the time of a crash. Distracted driving is extremely risky. Don’t do it.
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list. Rather it is meant to demonstrate some simple tips that, if followed, will reduce your likelihood of being involved in an accident. Follow these tips and you will be much safer on the road.