Car wrecks are depressingly common. Technology may have improved road safety, but 1.3 million people still die on US roads each year. In the vast majority of cases, humans are at fault. We drive too fast, don’t pay attention, or end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Young people are the most at risk, as they are more likely to drive recklessly. Sadly, the only way to stay safe on the roads is to avoid them completely, but if you do need to drive, here are some tips to help you minimize the likelihood of being involved in a car accident.
Don’t Drink and Drive
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is one of the most common causes of road traffic accidents. Maryland accident lawyers deal with hundreds of these cases every week, all of which could have been avoided. Sure, it is tempting to have “one for the road”, especially if you live in a rural area and there are no cops for miles, but even one drink will inhibit your response time behind the wheel. Can you afford to take that risk?
Maintain Your Vehicle
Poorly maintained vehicles are a danger to everyone. Underinflated tires are the worst culprit. If your tires are soft, the vehicle won’t take corners well and you could end up losing control on a bend. Have your car served regularly and check oil, fluids, and tire pressures every week.
Scan the Road Ahead
Learning to drive takes time and requires a lot of intense concentration. You have to stay continually alert, looking out for potential hazards and scanning the road ahead. Over time, however, we get so used to driving familiar routes that we pay very little attention to what’s happening around us. We are far too busy listening to the radio or thinking about a work issue. This lack of concentration is a sure-fire way to end up in an accident. Instead, always scan the road ahead so you can react quickly if a pedestrian decides to step out in front of you or another driver runs a red light.
Put your cell phone away and tell the kids to stop bickering in the back seat. Distracted drivers are not in control of their vehicle, which is dangerous for everyone.
Have an Insurance Black Box Fitted
Some insurance companies fit black boxes to monitor your driving habits and if you are judged a safe driver, the insurance company will lower your insurance premiums. It’s a great idea for newly qualified drivers, as it encourages them to drive responsibly.
Never tailgate a vehicle in front. Tailgating is aggressive and gives you no time to react if there is an incident on the road ahead. Use the 3-second rule to judge the distance – if you can count to three before you pass the same landmark as the car ahead, you are driving at a safe distance. Any less, you are too close.
Safe drivers are less likely to be involved in accidents. Make sure you are one of them.