Every year in the U.S, millions of people are injured in auto accidents and thousands die as a result of their injuries. These accidents rack up billions of dollars in costs, including repairs, medical bills and lost wages. What’s worse, many of these accidents are preventable with defensive driving, which involves minimizing risks and anticipating hazards before they happen. The following are tried-and-true defensive driving tips for a safer time on the road:
Minimize distractions. One of the leading causes of accidents is distracted driving. Texting, making or taking phone calls, being upset or distraught, eating or talking with passengers while driving takes your attention off the road, increasing your risk of accident. Don’t attempt to multi-task while driving and instead keep focused on the task at hand.
Regard intersections with caution. The majority of accidents take place at or near intersections, mostly because drivers fail to yield or stop properly. As a result, it’s important not only to obey traffic laws and signals but to watch out for pedestrians and drivers who aren’t.
Allow enough space between you and other cars on the road. At any time, the car in front of you may have to brake suddenly. If you’re following too closely, you could risk slamming into this driver. Always allow at least one car length for every 10 miles per hour of speed.
Distance yourself from aggressive and erratic drivers. Tailgating, weaving in and out of cars, swerving – these behaviors tell you that a driver is aggressive, distracted or otherwise capricious. Get out of the way of these unpredictable, potentially dangerous drivers whenever possible.
Drive extra cautiously in parking areas. Parking lots, particularly crowded ones, offer plenty of potential for accidents with people opening doors suddenly, cars backing out and, of course, pedestrians. Protect yourself from these hazards by slowing down and staying alert.
Pass cars correctly and safely. Many accidents take place while changing lanes to pass cars. To avoid accidents while passing, be sure to allow plenty of distance between your car and the cars in the next lane, check blind spots and use a turn signal.
Slow down in inclement weather. Rain, snow, ice and high winds can make road travel treacherous. When faced with these stormy conditions, reduce your speed, increase your distance between other cars and look out for slick patches.
Buckle your seatbelt. Seatbelts don’t just protect you from injuries; they can save lives. Make sure to buckle and adjust your seatbelt correctly for maximum protection.
The personal injury lawyers of Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience are here to fight for the rights of people injured in auto accidents. Contact one of our attorneys today to find out how we can help you.