Even though driving a car is relatively easy for most people to learn, there is still a tendency for drivers to slip into autopilot and be less diligent when it comes to safety. This results in a much higher risk of accidents, and unfortunately, they do occur daily around the country.
Car accidents can happen for several reasons, one of them is distracted driving where an individual loses attention and focuses on controlling a vehicle due to adjusting something in the vehicle, eating, having a conversation on the phone, or texting. Another major cause of traffic accidents is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which impairs the ability to make the correct decisions and react in time.
The consequences of a car accident can be dire and often includes:
- Physical injuries such as broken bones, concussions, and injuries to the back, brain, head, neck, soft tissues, and spinal cord
- Financial difficulties and losses related to medical bills, auto repair bills, and lost earnings
- Emotional trauma; resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder which can lead to continuing anxiety when driving, trouble sleeping, and recurring flashbacks to the accident
If you are concerned about how to improve or maintain a good level of safety when driving, here are some useful tips to help you stay safe on the road.
Reduce Potential Distractions
Getting distracted is one of the major causes of car accidents. As noted by Midland car accident lawyers, drivers commonly become distracted by text messages and calls to their cell phones, other people in the car, or activities such as eating. Taking your eyes off the road even for a split second can be disastrous, so it is essential to reduce the risk of distractions when driving.
Distractions can be minimized by turning your phone onto silent mode and pulling over somewhere to make calls, eat a snack or take care of the kids.
Always Wear a Seat Belt
Seat belts save lives as they prevent the driver and passenger from being thrown around in the vehicle or ejected through the windows. To avoid serious injury, seat belts should be worn in all kinds of vehicles.
Don’t Drive Whilst Intoxicated
It has long been accepted that alcohol and drug consumption lead to short-term impairment of judgment, muscle coordination, reasoning, and reactions, which are all key abilities required to safely drive a car. Alcohol is well known to affect careful decision-making, whilst marijuana consumption slows reaction times, distorts perception, and impairs coordination. Even if you have only consumed a very small amount of alcohol or drugs, the best bet is to avoid driving until at least the following day after sobering up.
Only Drive When Fully Awake
Driving when drowsy or tired is considered to be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, this is because tired drivers also experience poor decision-making and slower reaction times. Closing your eyes whilst driving even for a moment can lead to disastrous consequences, therefore you should make sure you are fully rested before driving.
Keep Within Speed Limits
Driving at high speeds can soon lead to dangerous situations and life-changing accidents, therefore drivers should ensure they are keeping to the speed limits on each road which have been set according to the potential hazards a driver could experience.
In addition to following the speed limit set out by road signs, drivers should also drive at a speed that is suitable for the weather conditions, especially in rain and snow when stopping distances are much longer.
Ensure Your Car Is Well Maintained
To keep your car in an excellent condition that is both economical and safe, it is recommended to regularly check your car, this includes:
- Listening for any noises during braking and taking note of any small changes in braking performance
- Using a tire pressure gauge to ensure tires a correctly inflated and looking at the tread depth of tires
- Noticing trouble turning, which can indicate problems with a car’s shock absorbers
If you spot any of these problems with your car, you should take it to the mechanic for repairs immediately. Additionally, car owners should also take their cars for checkups at least once a year to ensure it remains in safe working order.
Be Ready For Breakdowns
Unfortunately, breakdowns often happen unexpectedly and whether it is on a quiet road or busy highway, motorists should have a clear idea of what to do. In the event of a breakdown, it is recommended to:
- Pull over onto the side of the road
- Turn on the vehicle’s hazard lights immediately
- Use your cell phone or highway emergency call box to request assistance
- Place safety triangles 20 meters behind your vehicle if it is safe
Fully Understand Dashboard Signals
There are several different signals and symbols on a car’s dashboard that are designed to make driving easier in addition to alerting the driver to problems with the vehicle. Due to the variety of icons on display in a car, it can be difficult to work out and remember what each one means, however carefully reading your car’s manual is an easy way to get familiar with them.
Prepare Emergency Items
In case of an emergency, which could happen at any time and in any location, it is advisable to carry some essential items such as a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, a flashlight, jumper cables, and a tire repair kit.
Fix Damaged Windshields
Windshields can become chipped or cracked at inconvenient and unexpected times, causing visibility to become affected. When experiencing a damaged windshield, it is advised to stop at the closest safe place and organize an appointment at the nearest repair shop or call for an emergency pick up.
Drive More Carefully At Night
During darker conditions, driving is much more dangerous as drivers usually have slower response times in addition to experiencing less accurate depth perception. To improve the safety of your driving at night, make sure your headlights are correctly aligned to ensure maximum visibility and always maintain a safe distance from other vehicles on the road.
Even though driving is something millions of people do every day, it still carries inherent risks. Several things can cause a car accident, although if you take the right precautions, maintain attention and follow some useful tips, your time on the road can be made much safer.