As of 2021, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projected that almost 43,000 people died in a motor vehicle crash which was a huge increase from 2020. Sometimes the most obvious things get pushed to the back of our minds when getting behind the wheel. However, the harsh reality is that accidents do happen no matter if it was you on the road or the driver next to you. Here are 10 safety tips that can help to avoid an accident and remind you that safe driving can go a long way.
Safety Tip #1: Changing Road Conditions
Always be aware of road conditions, especially when they seem to change quickly. Slowing down and being more visible of what is in front of you can help you keep control of the vehicle. Keep your lights on at dusk, dawn, and during rain, as it is the law in most states. Understand basic vehicle dynamics, such as knowing how to recover from a skid and or knowing when the appropriate time is to pull over and regain control.
Safety Tip #2: Intersections
Intersections are the center of most accidents. When entering an intersection, look left, then right, then left again to ensure the area is clear. It is common for cars to go thinking it is their turn as you are already going through. If you arrive to the stop sign at the same time as another person, give them the signal to go first just to remain safe and avoid any collisions. Sometimes if not always, it is better be the defensive driver.
Safety Tip #3: Preparing for Unpredictable Behavior
There is always room for unpredictability on the road even if you are the “perfect driver”. Consider taking a defensive driving class to improve your ability to drive and be better prepared for the unpredictable behavior of other motorists. Driving courses are designed to help those on the road minimize risky behavior in order to be safer and more responsible.
Safety Tip #4: Every 15 Second Check
Most drivers have their side and rear-view mirrors already adjusted to their liking every time they get behind the wheel. Something that is not always taken into consideration is the different roads and conditions driven on that may slightly affect the view out of these mirrors. It may help to adjust mirrors properly and check the side and rear-view mirrors every 15 seconds.
Safety Tip #5: Maintain a Constant Speed
As the speed of the car increases the less likely you are to react to change on the road when needed. For example, as traffic on the freeway comes to a sudden stop, you need the correct amount of space to slow down and not rear end the person in front of you.
Not only that but maintaining an appropriate steady speed can help reduce any speeding or traffic tickets aside from accidents. Leave a safe distance between your cars and others. For every 10 miles per hour of speed, leave at least one car length space between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead.
Safety Tip #6: Road Rage
Crazy drivers making dangerous threatening decisions is never going away, it is just plain and simple there are angry drivers everywhere. The way you react can make or break those high tense situations. Choose the safer option and let the other aggressive driving behavior roll off your back or call the police. Losing your temper could worsen the situation.
Safety Tip #7: Service and Maintenance Checks
Properly maintaining your car can help avoid any car problems while in the middle of the road. Change things like your oil on a consistent schedule and do not wait until it is too late. Check tire pressure and rotate them by taking a monthly note of all four tires conditions. Always fill up your gas tank before driving too far or before getting stuck on the freeway, this can cause a multitude of different accidents.
Safety Tip #8: Texting and Driving
It is so tempting to pick up the phone while driving to text our friends or change the music. This can be avoided by keeping your phone in a hard-to-reach spot, so it is not a distraction, or even pulling over to make a phone call and answer a message. Create a car driving playlist so scrolling through music apps does not need to be done every time the song ends. Looking down and back up after checking our phones seems quick but is the same amount of time it takes to get in an accident. Minimize distractions.
Safety Tip #9: DON’T Drink and Drive
Nowadays, there are so many options to choose from before getting behind the wheel under the influence. It takes less than 5 minutes to call an Uber or Lyft, rather than putting yourself and others in danger. This can also be the difference between getting a DUI or not, which results in lifelong consequences. It is also important to keep in mind that buzzed driving is drunk driving.
Safety Tip #10: Wear a Seatbelt
Although this tip may not help you avoid an accident, it sure can save you from one. Making sure all passengers are wearing a seatbelt can keep everyone as protected as possible from the time you leave to the time you arrive at the desired destination. As a driver you may also avoid getting any tickets by putting this on every time, just one click and it can save a life.