There are approximately 34,000 fatal car accidents each year in the US, with people from 16-20 in the most fatal crashes in 2018. While these are sobering numbers, the good news is that many car accidents are avoidable if you follow the right defensive driving strategies.
Don’t Drive in the Fast Lane
On the highway, most car accidents happen in the fast lane. People are driving faster and more aggressively, so rear-end crashes are incredibly common. And when people are driving at high speed and hit each other, the resulting accidents can be catastrophic.
Scan the Road Ahead
Never focus on just the vehicle in front of you. Look to the sides and the cars far up the road as well. You can often avoid accidents by scanning far ahead and see trouble coming before it gets to you if you are behind a vehicle that obstructs your vision, back off so you can see around it.
Remember Blind Spots
Many serious car accidents happen because people rely on their mirrors too much. Your rear and side-view mirrors are helpful tools, but they do not show you everything.
Even when correctly adjusted for you, there are still blind spots on the sides of your car. Always take a look over your shoulder when changing lanes, keeping in mind that some vehicles’ blindspots are worse than others.
Keep Both Hands on the Wheel
It is easy to get complacent after you have driven for a long time. But when something unexpected happens on the road, you will react faster when your hands are at the nine and three o’clock positions.
Look at the Condition of Other Cars
We do not judge people by appearances, but it is fair to judge a driver by how their car looks. If it is dirty, beaten up, and looks ready for the junk heap, the driver could be inattentive. Inattentive drivers are more likely to get in accidents, so keep your distance.
Avoid Driving at Night
Some people like to drive at night for less traffic. But even with good headlights, it is harder to see at night. Animals can run into the road, and you cannot see them until the last moment. There also are more drunk drivers at night, so drive when the sun is shining if you can.
Know the Limits of Your Car
Every vehicle handles differently, and knowing how yours feels in an emergency is essential to avoid accidents. If you are in a big SUV, you should drive like it is a 4,000-pound vehicle, which means taking turns slower and taking more time to stop behind traffic.
It also matters if your car is front or rear-wheel drive, especially in bad weather. These cars handle differently in adverse weather conditions.
Always drive the speed limit, and make sure you slow down when the weather gets bad, or it is dark outside. People going too fast get in more accidents, and more of them are fatal because of the higher speeds involved.
Never Drive Distracted
It seems common sense to pay attention to the road and nothing else when your vehicle moves but distracted driving causes thousands of car accidents per year. Seniors who drive alone have an increased risk of accident, if you are one be sure to have an alert like a Medical Guardian if you plan to drive alone, especially at night. Shut off your cell phone and do not look at it when you are behind the wheel.
Do not be distracted by passengers like screaming children or teens asking you to change the radio, let them do it. Also, make sure you can pay attention to the road, whether you need eyeglasses, sunglasses, or other medical devices, get them. If you have trouble hearing you should get hearing aids to have better awareness on the road.
If you follow these tips and still get in an accident, everything will be okay. It always is a good idea to talk to a car accident lawyer if another driver caused your accident. You could be entitled to compensation.