There are two ways to prepare for a car accident. One is to know what to do if you ever get involved in a crash. The other much better option is not to get in a car accident in the first place. While it is important to be prepared for every scenario, prevention should be your number one priority. This article will show you everything there is to know about staying safe on the road.
Wear a Seatbelt
As obvious an instruction as it is, many overlook seatbelts, often wearing them improperly just to stop the seatbelt alarm from sounding. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, seatbelts saved a little under 15,000 lives in 2017. In addition, 55% of those killed in nighttime accidents weren’t wearing seatbelts. There is no shortage of evidence of the importance of seatbelts. In the event of a deadly crash, they can keep you from getting ejected through the windshield. In the event of a light crash, they can keep you from smashing your head on the steering wheel and losing consciousness. When weighed against the one con which is slight discomfort, the pros win, every single time.
Tailgating is a dangerous habit that often kicks in when we’re in a hurry. The fact of the matter is, driving too close to the car in front of you gives you less time to react. If the car ahead makes any sudden moves, you’re guaranteed not to have enough time to react. You’ll either rear-end the car ahead or brake violently or swerve away, smashing into the other nearby cars instead. For everyone’s safety, if you’re driving under 20 mph, leave a distance of two to three cars’ length. The faster you drive, the further apart you need to be to allow yourself the necessary reaction time.
Always Pay Attention
Driving requires active attention. Given that, for most of us, driving is an automated function, we are already in danger of mindless driving. Of course, it only takes one close call for one to wake up. The main problem is when your attention is non-existent rather than just passive. This happens when you’re texting, driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, or driving while extremely exhausted/sleepy. Brooks Law Group lists these common car accident causes as the majority of those resulting in the car crashes that occur in Tampa. Negligent driving is considered a real offense, especially if it results in heavy damages. Not to mention, it compromises your safety. The next time you’re on the road, pay attention to what’s happening around you, regardless of how tempting it is to zone out.
Many underestimate the importance of headlights during nighttime driving. If you’ve ever tried looking in your rearview mirror for a car driving at night without its headlights on, you’d know that it’s almost impossible to see, until it’s too close. To be safe, once it starts getting dark, turn on your lights. That said, there is a huge difference between low-beam headlights and high beams. Low-beam headlights are a helpful reminder to the cars ahead of you. High beams are a brash announcement that temporarily blinds the drivers opposite and ahead of you, potentially causing them to crash.
Don’t Keep Them Guessing
This is the most important driving tip you’ll ever get. While a little mystery is great in many areas of life, driving is not one of those. Any sudden moves from you can faze another driver. Keep in mind, you may be fully aware of what’s happening around you, but they may not. In fact, they could be miles away thinking about the fight they just had with their partner or obsessively checking their phone for an important text/e-mail. That is why it’s important to think about how the other drivers will react to what you do on the road. When driving, make sure you brake slowly, use turning signals, switch lanes gradually, and leave sufficient distance between you and any car you decide to whizz by. Newbie drivers often get startled by cars that come too close too fast.
Think of driving as an experiment. You’ve got yourself, a constant, and everything else, the variables. In any experiment, you can always depend on the constant, but never on the variables. In other words, don’t put yourself in a situation where the outcome is something you are unsure of. This is all it takes to stay away from accidents and to stay blame-free if you were ever involved in an accident.