Even if you consider yourself a careful and defensive driver, there are other motorists on the road at any given time that are not. These drivers put you at risk of getting into accident and sustaining serious and life-threatening injuries. After the accident, you also have to consider the legal ramifications and consult with a car accident lawyer for further action.
While you cannot control the actions of other drivers, you can take precautions yourself and develop healthy habits that maximize your chances of being safe on the road. Below are 6 of these habits that if implemented and practiced every time you are driving will decrease your chances of getting into a car accident significantly.
1. Turn on your lights
Your car has many safety components that if used will either minimize your chances of being involved in an accident in the first place or will save you from injury or death if one does occur. While your headlights may not be of much use on a clear and sunny day, it is definitely crucial to use them if it is dark, foggy, or snowing. On rural roads, high beams will offer more illumination and you will be able to better see in front of you.
2. Wear your seatbelt
Wearing your seatbelt should be a given precaution whenever you are behind the wheel, but the reality is a large majority of motorists do not wear them regularly. Seatbelts keep drivers and passengers secure in the vehicle when an accident occurs, decreasing the chances of being injured or killed dramatically.
3. Always signal
Turn signals is another safety component that will allow you to avoid collisions but like seatbelts they are not used consistently. These notify other drivers of your intention to turn or change lanes so they can maintain or alter their actions accordingly to avoid a collision with you.
4. Be aware
Being aware of your surroundings while driving will allow you to be safe on the road and drastically reduce your chances of an accident. When driving, avoid all distractions that could divert your attention from the road. This includes changing radio stations, talking on the phone, and sending text messages. Always be sure to check your blind spots, the area at the side of your vehicle that cannot be seen with your mirrors, before changing lanes to avoid colliding with anyone driving beside you. This can be done easily with a quick check over your shoulder to check for the presence of any cars.
5. Be alert
Similarly, try to avoid staying in the blind spot of other drivers by either reducing your speed or going just fast enough where you will eventually pass them. Do not follow vehicles in front of you too closely as you never know when they may have to stop abruptly. You also do not know when the vehicle in front of them will need to stop either so it is beneficial to look 2 to 3 cars ahead to avoid any surprises that could result in you getting into an accident.
6. Have an out
Most if not all people dread the thought of getting into a car accident and while some are unavoidable, you can nonetheless take precautions to avoid one. This should include having an escape plan, or an out, because it is impossible to always predict what other drivers will do. For example, if a car coming the opposite way blows a tire or swerves to miss an animal, they may swerve into your lane and therefore you need somewhere to go to avoid a collision.
While driving, keep your eyes moving to scan for places that you would go if needed to avoid a crash, whether it be the shoulder of a road or, if desperate, a ditch. While this out may result in you going off the road and your car sustaining damage, you will most likely avoid serious injury or death.