Getting into a car accident is one sure way to ruin your day. One minute you’re driving along fine and the next thing you know you’re on the side of the road dealing with an accident. Now you have to worry about things like how you’re going to pay for the repairs, how you’re going to get to work, and possible even deal with some injuries.
Unfortunately, if you drive regularly, car accidents are just a part of life. But with a few simple tips you can make their occurrence a lot less likely. Here are a few things to keep in mind the next time you’re going to get behind the wheel.
Follow the Laws
First, and perhaps the most obvious tip, is to follow your local traffic laws. These laws are in place to not only make it safer for you to drive, but for everyone else on the road. As you’re driving, force yourself to pay extra close attention to all the rules you’re supposed to be obeying. For instance, make sure you’re not going over the speed limit. You also shouldn’t hurry through yellow lights, follow too closely behind another car, or run through stop signs. Following these laws may mean you get to your destination a few minutes later, but that’s better than not getting there at all.
Another major thing you can do is limit the amount of distractions while you drive. Distracted drivers are one of the leading causes of accidents, and while you can’t control what other drivers do, you can at least control what you do.
For starters, keep your cell phone away while you drive. Many cars now have voice command options that allow you to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, so make use of these. If you do need to use your phone, pull over to the side of the road first or wait until you come to a red light.
Another common distraction is music. If the music in your car is too loud, you’ll have a hard time hearing what’s going on around you. Then if some car is coming towards you and beeping their horn, you won’t be aware of it. Lastly, if you have kids, do your best to limit how much they distract you. Every parent knows that kids can be distracting in the back seat, but if you can limit your interactions with them – such as handing them something – until you’re stopped, you’ll make everyone in the car safer.
Avoid Bad Weather
Bad weather is common cause of car accidents. When it becomes harder to see where you’re going, or the road become slippery, accidents are much more likely. Sometimes driving in bad weather is unavoidable, but if it’s possible, you should try. Check the weather before heading out and make sure there are no major storms nearby. Sometimes waiting just an hour or two can make the conditions on the road much safer.
If you do need to go out in bad weather, make sure you’re prepared. This means having tires with plenty of tread, wipers and lights that work, and solid brakes. You should give your car a quick inspection before you go to ensure everything is in working order.
Don’t Drive Impaired
Finally, it’s important to be at your best so you can drive safely. We all know that you shouldn’t drink and drive, but there are other things that can limit your awareness as a driver. For instance, if you didn’t get much sleep the night before, you’re likely to fall asleep behind the wheel. You should also consider any medications you’re on and whether they can make you drowsy. Sometimes the best way to stay safe on the road is to not get behind the wheel in the first place.
What to do if You’re in an Accident
Even despite the precautions above you may still find yourself in a car accident. When this happens, take a moment to calm yourself down, then work through the standard accident procedures. This includes getting yourself and your car to a safer spot on the road, swapping information with other drivers, and taking pictures of the scene. You may also need to call for some assistance during this time, such as the police, a tow truck, or an accident attorney.
Staying Safe on the Road
By using the tips above you’ll make getting into a car accident less likely. This is good for not only your own safety, but for that of your passengers and others on the road. The important thing is to not take any unnecessary chances and to follow the rules that are there for everyone’s benefit. If you can do this, you’ll make yourself a lot safer.
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