The last thing any driver wants is to be involved in a car accident, let alone a car accident that causes severe enough injuries where your daily life is impeded upon.
To that end, learning the most effective ways to prevent a car accident can help anybody keep themselves and others safe on the road.
While it isn’t a pleasant thought, it’s important to recognize just how common car accidents are nowadays. On a yearly basis, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.35 million people are killed on roadways around the world. Every day around 3,700 people are killed globally in car crashes, bus accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bicycle collisions.
Given the prevalence of car accidents globally, all drivers should be looking at ways to avoid a car accident. While there are a number of things drivers should avoid doing when a car accident occurs, such as fleeing the scene, the below ten tips can help you prevent an accident from ever happening in the first place:
1. Stay at least three seconds behind the car in front of you
Following the three-second rule of driving is a great strategy for allowing yourself plenty of reaction time while driving on the road. This rule means that you leave three seconds of space between yourself and the driver in front of you. To measure this, wait until that driver passes a landmark on the road and then start counting. By the time you get to three, you should just be reaching that same point in the road.
2. Avoid driving in poor weather
Poor weather is a leading cause of car crashes. In fact, nearly half a million people are injured in weather related crashes on a yearly basis. This danger becomes even higher in states or countries that don’t typically receive poor weather, as the drivers in those areas have less practice driving in less-than-ideal conditions. Avoid driving during poor weather if possible.
3. Take care of preventative maintenance
Preventative maintenance is the regular and routine maintenance of your vehicle to ensure all parts under the hood are operating at peak condition. Tasks such as replacing the oil and filter, rotating the tires, changing the battery, replacing windshield wipers, and more are all included in this type of maintenance. This can help to reduce the risk of accidents by preventing major mechanical breakdown from occurring on the road.
It should go without saying that driving under the influence is both illegal and a quick way to cause a crash. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or any drugs in your system that may impair your ability to drive safely.
Similar to the three second rule of driving, the twelve second rule also allows you to have ample reaction time to hazards on the road. This rule involves scanning the road twelve seconds in front of you to spot any hazards that may arise out in front of you. This way, you will be able to react to them before you reach the hazard.
6. Limit the amount of night driving you do
Night driving is inherently more dangerous as it reduces the visibility that a driver has on the road. If you can, avoid driving during the nighttime as much as possible to reduce the risk of a crash stemming from not being able to see hazards in the road.
7. Handle business on your phone before leaving
In the modern age, phones have become a natural part of daily life. They are unavoidable, but never use your phone while you are driving. Take care of any texts, calls, or music changes while your car is still in park.
8. Limit the number of passengers in your car
Passengers are a distraction if you have too many and can’t handle the stimulation. If this applies to you, limit the amount of people you let into your car at any given time to reduce the risk of accidents occurring.
9. Drive defensively, not offensively
At the end of the day, a defensive driver is the safest driver there is. If you see someone driving strangely up ahead on the road, allow them plenty of space rather than trying to catch up to see what is going on. Additionally, watch all around your vehicle as you drive for any signs that something may be happening on the road.
10. Always keep your attention while driving
We’ve all been guilty of accidentally zoning out on a drive we’ve made hundreds of times before. However, as drivers, it’s important to always have maximum attention when behind the wheel to help ensure that we are being as safe as possible. This means not zoning out even if you could describe the drive you’re on like the back of your hand. Instead, stay focused as you never know what is going to pop up in the middle of the road.
In some cases, a car accident will be inevitable no matter how many preventative steps you take. Use the following pieces of advice to handle the situation in a calm and quick manner:
- Inspect yourself and others for injuries
- Move vehicles to the side of the road if possible
- Contact the authorities to let them know what occurred
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver
- Take photos of the damage on your vehicle and theirs
- Call a tow truck if necessary
- Contact your insurance company to tell them what happened
Even the smallest car accidents can cause major injuries depending on the speed you’re traveling, which is why preventing a car accident altogether is the best way to stay safe. Use the above ten tips to improve your driving and to stop a car accident from ever occurring.