Around 1 in 4 accidents in the United States are caused by using a phone while driving. When you take your eyes off the road to respond to a text for five seconds, at 55 mph, you’re driving the length of a football field blind. Just imagine everything that could go wrong.
You can substantially lower the risk of a car accident simply by refraining from texting or using your phone while driving.
Are you interested in knowing some other ways how you can stay safe on the road and engage in safe driving? Keep reading for a complete guide to avoiding car crashes when you’re driving.
Avoid Distracted Driving at All Costs
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car crashes and is easily avoidable if you make the simple decision to avoid distractions. This means that you shouldn’t do anything other than driving.
So what are considered distractions while driving? The most obvious and dangerous distraction is using your phone while you drive. Talking on the phone, or worse, texting, while you drive is dangerous.
Eating while you drive is also a dangerous distraction, as it limits your physical capabilities. When you’ve got a burger in one hand, a soda between your legs, and only one hand on the wheel, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Distractions fall into three categories. These include being distracted with your hands (manual) such as when you’re eating. Another is distracted eyes (visual), such as when you’re looking at something else.
And lastly, there’s cognitive distraction, which is when your thought process distracts you; for example, when you’re very angry, sad, or stressed out.
Texting is considered the most dangerous because you’re visually and manually distracted.
You can avoid car accidents by ensuring that you never use your phone while driving. In fact, invest in a Bluetooth system to answer important calls. Don’t eat while you drive, and try not to drive when you’re in a negative emotional or mental state.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident because of someone else’s distracted driving, then contact a car accident lawyer. You can find out what to bring to your first meeting here.
Never Drive Under the Influence
It goes without saying that driving under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is an absolute no-go. You are not only putting yourself at risk of a fatal car accident, but you are endangering other people’s lives too.
You’ve read the statistics a number of times. You know that your coordination becomes impaired and that your reactions are slower when you drive buzzed. However, so many people still drive intoxicated.
If you end up getting carried away and having one too many drinks (we’ve all been there), make another plan to avoid driving. You could call a taxi and pick your car up the next day or ask a sober friend to drive you.
You could also book yourself into a hotel room, have a couple more drinks, treat it like a vacation, and drive sober the next day.
Engage in Defensive Driving
Defensive driving is the best way to avoid collisions and keep you and others safe on the road. With defensive driving, you use safe driving strategies to prepare, predict, and identify potential hazards on the road.
The most important thing about defensive driving is to never assume that a driver is going to do what they’re supposed to do; for instance, stop at a traffic light. You cannot control how other people drive and you always need to be aware that the unexpected may occur at any second.
To be a good defensive driver, there are a couple of rules on the road that you should always follow. Of course, stay focused and free of distractions. Always be aware of your surroundings by checking mirrors frequently and scanning the road at least 30 seconds ahead of you.
Always follow the 3- to 4-second rule. This means you should maintain a following distance of at least 3 seconds from the car in front of you. This will give you enough time to brake and react if necessary.
It’s also important to have an escape route. This is identifying a path out of the road and traffic if your current path is suddenly blocked.
Keep Your Speed Down
There are speeding regulations for a reason: to help you avoid a car accident. Speeding is one of the most common causes of car crashes, so simply observe and obey the speed limits.
Making it to your meeting on time is not worth your life or someone else’s. When you drive too fast, you have less time to react and the impact is much greater on collision. It’s also easier to lose control of the car.
It’s especially important to obey the speed limit in school zones or high pedestrian areas, as the risk of hitting a person with your car is high.
Maintain Your Car
In order to be safe on the road, you need to be driving a safe, maintained vehicle that is in tip-top condition. Don’t drive on old tires that could blow out and regularly check that your brakes aren’t too worn.
If you do regular maintenance and services on your car, then there’s a decreased likelihood that you cause an accident due to a mechanical failure.
You Can Lower the Risk of a Car Accident With These Simple Steps
While you cannot control how everyone else drives, you can control how you drive. Choosing to obey the rules of the road, engaging in defensive driving, and avoiding all distractions will significantly reduce the risk of a car accident.
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