Being in an accident is a traumatic and possibly life-altering experience. A car accident could cause permanent harm to your body, brain injuries, or worse.
Sadly, the majority of accidents could have been avoided, even the ones that claim lives. The fact is, over 90% of car accidents occur due to an error by one or both of the drivers. Whether the driver was distracted, moving too fast, or made a simple error, an accident is rarely the car’s fault.
Accident prevention and awareness is key to staying safe in your vehicle. While you can never control other drivers, animals on the road, or weather conditions, you do have 100% control over your own actions.
Keep reading to learn our top tips for doing your part to prevent accidents. It may just save your life.
Top Tips for Accident Prevention
Driving safely is about more than just taking a driver’s education course and getting a driver’s license. While having insurance is necessary and advisable, it too lacks the power to make you a good driver.
No, driving safe is about being cognizant. It’s about taking accident prevention seriously and not allowing yourself to become complacent behind the wheel.
In the event that you’re in a terrible accident that isn’t your fault, you can hire an accident law firm to get compensated for injuries and damages. However, if you cause an accident that ruins someone else’s life, you have to live with that for the rest of yours.
1. Never Drive Under the Influence
While it seems to be the most obvious and overly-stated accident prevention rule, many people still drink and drive. In fact, over four million Americans admit to driving after they’ve had a few drinks. However, most of us know that those numbers are pretty conservative.
In reality, it’s probably much worse. However, drinking and driving is one of the leading causes of accidents and cause thousands of deaths each year.
2. Put Your Phone Down
A staggering 96% of Americans own cell phones, the majority of them being smartphones. While the advancement in phones has benefited the world in a myriad of ways, they’ve also created a large source of distraction for drivers.
People talk, text, email, play with their music and more while driving. Many states have incorporated several laws prohibiting phone use while driving. However, more people use their phones than drink while driving, and all it takes is second of being distracted to cause an accident.
3. Don’t Eat While Driving
Another mistake people make negating accident prevention is trying to eat while driving. While it’s relatively uncomplicated to drive and eat a candy bar without getting into an accident, most people take it much further.
For example, trying to eat your lunch while operating a vehicle is unwise. All it takes is something falling out the bottom of your sandwich, sauce dripping on your pants, or your drink spilling to distract you. This brief distraction could lead to you making a critical error.
4. Don’t Allow Your Passengers to Distract You
Passengers can be a terrible distraction for drivers. However, as the driver, it’s your responsibility to remain focused and create order if necessary in your car.
While no one wants to seem “uncool” in front of their friends, if you have to tell them to simmer down while you’re driving, there’s nothing wrong with that. Alternatively, if it’s your children, you can simply lay down the law and make them be quiet.
However, if you plan on lecturing them, maybe pull over before you do. It’s too easy to take your eyes off the road when arguing with your kids!
5. Secure Your Pet
Most of us who own pets have them in the car from time to time. While some pets really don’t like car rides, many of them take right to it. We allow them to run around in the back seat and even up onto our laps.
While the sentiment is endearing, it’s also incredibly dangerous. Unsecured pets are a major cause of accidents. Whether it’s because we’re distracted by telling them to lay down or because they get in our way, a pet on the loose can easily distract you to the point of making an error.
For maximum accident prevention, make sure any pet you have in the car is crated or otherwise secured.
6. Don’t Mess With the Music
Who doesn’t love music? Listening to it is one of the best parts of driving. You can zen out in your car listening to whatever makes you happy.
However, just make sure you have your playlist set and aren’t constantly changing music and messing with the radio, CD player, or phone to find the perfect song.
7. Use a Hands-Free Device for Talking on the Phone
As we mentioned before, cell phones are a huge distraction for drivers. However, there’s nothing wrong with having a conversation while driving, even if it’s on the phone. The only thing is, you need a hands-free device.
In terms of accident prevention, a hands-free device allows you to drive safely while carrying on a conversation with someone on the other line. You may think it’s okay to hold the phone up to your ear with one hand, but if you might need that hand in the event of an emergency.
8. Don’t Drive Emotionally
One of the biggest distractions almost every driver is vulnerable to is their own emotions.
Our emotions not only distract us, but they change the way we drive. For example, if you are susceptible to road rage and the car in front of you cuts you off, you’ll drive more aggressively.
Driving aggressively makes you speed, drive too close to cars, make quick lane changes, brake too conservatively, etc.
Alternatively, if you’re going through a hardship such as a breakup or the death of a family member, driving may not be a good idea. Your attention is likely not going to be on the road.
9. Keep Your Eyes on the Road
Finally, you need to keep your eyes on the road to maximize accident prevention. This seems overly-obvious, but it’s all too easy to get distracted by sunsets, rainbows, clouds, road-side accident, etc.
Having a good sense of awareness about the things around you is good. However, don’t get so focused on your surroundings that you forget about the things directly in front of you.
Accident prevention mostly comes down to common sense. Be aware of your surroundings, don’t allow yourself to become distracted, and make good choices!
The most important thing is maintaining your safety and the safety of others. It’s one of your primary responsibilities as a driver and as a human being.
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