Car accidents can lead to devastating consequences, not just for your car, but also for yourself and any passengers who may be riding with you. Most car accidents occur because of a negligent party or because someone was driving under the influence of alcohol. After a car accident, there then comes the pain and stress of repairing your vehicle, treating any injuries caused to you, and then trying to get the proper compensation from insurance companies. But with safe, defensive driving habits, you can avoid those car accidents altogether.
There are number of ways to improve your driving safety. Below are some helpful tips on how to keep your driving safe.
Avoid Distractions, Focus on the Road
It’s a common problem nowadays—a person gets in an accident because they were texting and driving, or an accident occurs because a driver was trying to speak with a phone in one hand, possibly pushing buttons, while driving with the other. Cellphones and other electronic devices are being used in cars more than ever, and even with cities adopting rules that encourage or mandate hands-free communication devices, these accidents are still occurring as not everyone is following those rules.
As tempting as it can be, avoid using your cellphone at all while driving. If you must call someone, use a hands-free Bluetooth headset, or a hands-free cellphone mount for your dashboard to hold your phone for you while you talk through its speakerphone function.
Outside of electronic device distractions, be sure to opt on the side of safety and drive within the speeding limit. If you must slow down in a situation, slow down. The slower you drive, the more time you’ll have to react in the case that another driver nearby begins showing reckless behavior. Should a vehicle accident occur ahead of you, driving slower would grant you time to avoid becoming caught up in it as well, such as in the case of an icy road pile-up.
Plan Out Your Trip
It may seem like a trivial task but preparing for your trip in regard to your vehicle operation can pay dividends later in ensuring that your driving remains safe and you reach your destination in one piece. Here are some examples of how to keep your trip on the safe side:
- Check your seat and adjust it as needed.
- Make sure your rearview mirror and side mirrors are properly set.
- Take into account the time you’ll need to stop for restroom breaks, getting food to eat, and even for making calls. Remember, save the phone calls for when you’re not driving if you don’t have a hands-free method of communication.
- When you’re ready to have some food, find a place to stop the car so that you can eat without any distraction. Eating while driving means not having your full attention on the road—which can lead to greater risk of accident.
Defensive Driving is the Best Driving
To drive defensively is to maintain proper awareness of your surroundings as you take to the road while following all good practices of safe driving. Keep a fair distance from the vehicles in front of you, in case they begin to drive recklessly or even have an accident—this gives you a chance to slow down and avoid the potential danger. In the case of those driving in areas with snowfall and icy roads, keep an even greater distance away from the vehicles ahead of you—assume a distance that would take around 4 to 6 seconds to cross, so that you’ll have ample time to slow down and avoid a potential accident. Also watch out for smaller vehicles like motorcycles, especially when you’re about to change lanes—they are harder to spot and can sometimes be in your blind spots.
Check Yourself: Are You in the Right Condition to Drive?
Of course, nothing impacts your driving more than yourself. Before you take your keys and head out to your car, ask yourself some of these questions:
- Am I tired? Do I feel like I might need a nap?
Being tired at the wheel can be very dangerous. This goes for more than just being fatigued. If you’ve taken medication that can result in drowsiness or dizziness, or even muscle weakness—don’t operate a vehicle. Wait until you’re fully alert and functional before taking to the road.
- Have I had anything to drink?
Whether you’ve been drinking at home or out with friends, driving while intoxicated, even if it’s below the road-legal blood-alcohol content limit, can be incredibly dangerous for you and for others who may be nearby. If you’ve had anything to drink, especially if you’re feeling even a little bit tipsy, consider not driving and instead taking a taxi or a rideshare. Going out with friends? Discuss with your group about having a designated driver so that you can all be safe during and after your festivities.
Suffered a Car Accident? Know About Your Rights
Even the safest drivers can still get hurt in a car accident because of the negligence or recklessness of another driver. When that happens, it is important to know that you have rights to compensation for your pain, suffering, and vehicle repairs. But insurance companies will likely attempt to give you only the bare minimum.
Should you experience a car accident and you were not at fault, you should contact a car accident lawyer to begin learning more about your rights and what compensation you should be receiving for your injuries, repairs, and medical treatments. They are the experts when it comes to laws revolving around car operations, road rules, and the practices of insurance companies. With the help of a car accident attorney, you can make sure you have the money you need to afford your medical treatments and repairs, so that you don’t get burdened with extra bills just because of someone else’s wrongdoing.
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