Whether you’re new to the open road or a seasoned license holder, it’s safe to say that drivers of all experience levels would like to avoid getting into a car accident if it can be avoided. And in a time that has more distractions than ever, it’s important to know all the ways that you and your passengers can stay safe while you’re behind the wheel.
Here are a few tips to help you prevent an auto accident:
Tip #1: Avoid distractions.
Unfortunately, as drivers, we cannot do much about the distractions that happen outside of our vehicles: a flashy billboard, an accident scene, a point of interest, etc. We can, however, choose to not become overly attentive to the distraction, and instead stay focused on the road and other drivers nearby. We can also limit the number of things that can happen inside our vehicles that divert our attention, including texting/talking on the phone, eating and drinking, grooming, adjusting the radio or vehicle controls, reaching for objects in the backseat, and other similar distractions.
Tip #2: Make sure your car’s routine maintenance is up to date.
Accidents aren’t always caused by driver negligence. Many occur from postponing routine maintenance for too long and dealing with the aftermath when it’s too late. Anything from faulty brakes and worn-out tires, to unaligned wheels and more can cause an accident. Even skipping out on replacing your windshield wipers can be very dangerous to your visibility during a thunderstorm, and puts you at a higher risk for getting into an accident.
Tip #3: Abide by the rules of the road.
When we are running late, rushing home or overly eager to get to our next destination, we tend to bend the rules of the road a bit by speeding, running a red light, not fully stopping at a stop sign, not keeping a safe distance between cars, etc. Unfortunately, this puts our lives and the lives of others in danger, so be sure to know the rules of the road and abide by them. Additionally, if it appears that another driver on the road is not abiding by these rules, be a defensive driver and remove yourself from a potential collision.
Tip #4: Familiarize yourself with your area’s most dangerous roads/intersections, and find ways around them.
Accidents happen everywhere and some of them are just simply unavoidable. But most busy cities have a few intersections or highways that are notorious for car accidents. Learn more about these places within your area and see how you can avoid them, especially during rush hour.
Here are a few tools to help you prevent an auto accident:
Tool #1: Bluetooth
If you have to use electronics while driving, be sure to have hands-free options. If you have bluetooth availability within your vehicle, use that to talk to people on your cell phone, rather than physically holding it up to your ear. There are also apps that help prevent texting/calling while driving, which include Cellcontrol, Drive Safe Mode, OneDrive, Drive First, Focus and TextNoMore.
Tool #2: Traffic and Navigation Apps
There are a lot of navigation aids available to help avoid heavy traffic and prevent accidents from happening, but the best and most reliable ones are apps, such as Google Maps, MapQuest, Waze, Beat the Traffic and more. Unlike many of the standalone GPS devices, these free navigation apps are very frequently updated and offer the most current accident report data and detour routes. Other great apps include: USA Traffic & Weather, iTraffic, View2Road, PD Maps WorldWide Edition and MyLive Traffic.
Tool #3: A New(er) Vehicle
Although this is an expensive tool to use for driving as safely as possible, it can also be a major investment. Many newer vehicles come equipped with safety features that have proven to save lives. A few of these features include forward-collision alert/prevention, lane-departure warnings, blind spot warnings, anti-lock braking systems, electronic stability control, and more.
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