There are few things more distressing than becoming entangled in a traffic crash, and this is the case even if you are not physically harmed. Researchers have found that more than 9 out of every 10 vehicle crashes are the result of human error and were wholly avoidable. These numbers are frightening indeed and really are cause for concern when you stop to consider your own driving habits and whether you are taking sufficient precautions.
Though it is certainly jarring to learn that over 90 percent of all crashes are preventable, it does also give us the necessary motivation to hone our driving skills and take available steps to reduce the number of wrecks. The following paragraphs outline some key methods of driving with greater attention to safety and preventing serious accidents.
- Always retain your composure.
Though the errors you witness other drivers can make your blood pressure rise, it is very important to maintain a sense of calm no matter what. Issues of aggressive driving and road rage are very real, and they can lead to a loss of focus as well as errors in judgment. There is no reason for road rage to cause any injuries, despite the frequency with which it still does.
Though it may seem easier said than done when it comes to keeping a cool head in stressful situations, it is vital that we do just that. If you become angry at something another driver has done, what is the right way to remain calm? This seems counter to the way emotions actually operate. First, make sure that nobody has been injured to the point of requiring emergency help. Move all vehicles out of the way of traffic and get in touch with your insurance company, local authorities and, if needed, an experienced auto accident attorney.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has created a useful road rage document full of pointers to help all drivers navigate such scenarios. These include:
- A) Try not to drive when stressed or upset
- B) Avoid situations when you are running late to an appointment
- C) Work hard at not showing anger, even when that emotion is warranted
- D) Do not leave your vehicle for the purpose of confronting other motorists
- Maintain the condition of your car.
Making sure your automobile is in proper shape is another useful technique for reducing the risk of accidents. Some easy maintenance steps, performed regularly, can keep your car in top condition at all times. It is important to routinely check the car’s oil level, water, tire tread depth, headlights, taillights, electrical system and brakes. Having a schedule for which you perform the checks is a helpful way to ensure that they are done.
- Boost your own visibility.
In terms of making certain that other drivers can anticipate your maneuvers, be certain that you are clearly visible on the roads. Accidents are common when drivers cannot easily see what other motorists are doing. Therefore, using headlights as well as turn signals will go a long way toward helping avoid misunderstandings and mistakes before it is too late.
- Watch for escape hatches.
Regardless of the road type you are driving, try to operate your vehicle in such a manner that allows you an escape route no matter what occurs. You will then be able to make a rapid exit if someone near you does something that is ill-advised or dangerous. A large volume of accidents can be prevented if folks can simply get themselves out of the way first.
- Keeping a safe distance.
Drivers need to remind themselves of the critical nature of spacing between vehicles. Stopping distance must always be taken into consideration, and following too closely can result in an inability to break in sufficient time to avoid a crash. Allowing just a little bit of additional space can make all the difference in your fortunes on the road.
Also, maintaining a healthy distance facilitates a better overall view of what is happening on the road and with other motorists. There is really no downside to this strategy.
A gap of roughly 2-3 seconds between your car and the one in front of you is ideal. This can be done by selecting a fixed object and then counting from the point the front-positioned car passes it until the time you pass it. If 2-3 seconds pass in the interim, you are drive safely. If things happen more quickly, it is best if you slow your pace.
- Be mindful of rough weather.
It goes without saying that rain, ice and snow create serious hazards for any driver. Much greater distances need to be maintained in order to allow for safe braking. Visibility also tends to be reduced in such scenarios, and this can add to driver stress.
Therefore, when rough weather strikes, operate at lower speeds, leave yourself extra time to get to your destination and stay on heightened alert for dangers. Whenever the conditions deteriorate, a bit of care and vigilance will keep safer.
- Always stay focused.
This sounds intuitive, but the fact is that many collisions happen each day simply due to a lack of driver concentration. Distracted driving is a massive problem today, with serious injuries and fatalities increasing at an alarming rate.
Ideally, you should keep all electronic and other distractions out of sight while behind the wheel. Even a hands-free phone can cause mental distraction that is truly dangerous. Leave phone calls and text messages for later if you want to ensure the safety of your passengers and yourself.
By heeding the advice presented above, it really is possible to greatly reduce the volume of preventable accidents on our roadways and act as responsible motorists each and every day. Everyone with whom you share the road will benefit, and you can steer clear of costly, inconvenient and painful car crashes.