10 Tips for Avoiding a Car Accident

August 29, 2016
In the past, I’ve talked about increasing safety on the road by not texting and drive and eliminating other distractions like eating or putting on makeup. These are things that can be easily avoided and will exponentially improve your attentiveness on the road. But just because you avoid texting or eating fast food while behind the wheel doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to be free from car accidents. There are still so many other variables! Some are totally out of your control, but other aspects of safety can be increased by remembering a few important tips. And who wouldn’t want to do all they can to be a safe driver? If everyone did these things, maybe there would never be any accidents 🙂 Read on for my 10 tips for avoiding a car accident: 1. Be a defensive driver. Defensive driving is the biggest way you can prevent accidents on the road. Just like in sports, being on the defense means anticipating the actions of others around you and being prepared to act in response. Rather than getting in a car accident because someone ran a red light, you could avoid the chaos by doing a few key things:
  • keeping your eyes moving
  • looking ahead and to the sides
  • not expecting other drivers to behave as they should
  • staying in control of the wheel and your speed
2. Know your car’s blind spots. Most car have spots where driver visibility is less than ideal. When you start driving a new car, be sure to sit in the driver’s seat and look in each rearview mirror and over your shoulders to see if any spots are blocked by head rests, passengers or the car body itself. Just knowing these blind spots will give you greater caution when making turns and lane changes. 3. Sit with good posture. Even if you slouch everywhere else, maintain an upright position the entire time you drive! It will give you the best visibility and control of the wheel. Refrain from getting casual with your position. Disaster could strike at any moment, and a slouching, one-hand-on-the-wheel posture won’t help you get control any quicker. 4. Avoid the fast lane. Did you know most freeway accidents occur in the left hand lane? Here, cars are going the fastest and also have the least room for escaping bad situations. By staying toward the right side of the freeway, you won’t feel pressured to go faster, and you’ll be able to make a quick exit or pull off onto the side of the road if needed. 5. Stay off the road in bad weather. This one might be common sense, but simply staying home in bad weather brings your chance of a car accident down to zero! When it’s snowing or even raining, plan your trips for later on and avoid the mess. 6. Drive the speed limit. Not only is this a good tip, but it’s the law! The faster you’re driving, the less control you have in the case of emergency. Though many car accidents still happen at a low speed, the most severe car accidents happen at high speeds. 7. Anticipate pedestrians. This is another key element of defensive driving, like we talked about at the beginning of this article. You never know when a person could run out into the road, so always keep your eyes scanning the street and be prepared to stop in areas with many pedestrians. 8. Pause after the light turns green. Sure, you’re eager to get going after waiting at what sometimes feels like eternity at a red light! But a slight pause before pushing the gas pedal could actually save your life! Cars that run red lights usually do so in the yelllow-to-red period just after the light turns, so you never know if a car could come barreling through the intersection even though it’s your turn to go. 9. Test your car’s limits in a safe environment. I recommend heading to a deserted parking lot to really get to know your car. Drive at a slow speed and see how your car handles if you need to make a sudden slam on the breaks or sharp turn, then learn how you should react in these situations. Because there aren’t any cars around and you’re going slow, you won’t be putting yourself or anyone else in danger, and you’ll learn valuable skills that could come in handy on the road. 10. Learn to drive a race car. Similar to learning your cars limits, many people recommend learning to drive a race car to really understand how to manage your vehicle. Not only is it a fun activity, but it will teach you a TON about handling the steering wheel, gas and breaks at high speeds. You could even make a date out of it!

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