Are you doing everything that you can to avoid accidents on the road? While it’s true that there are outside factors in car accidents (other people, sudden hazards, natural disasters, and more), it’s your responsibility to do your part to prevent accidents.
Car accident prevention is easy. You learned how to do it in driving school. You can’t control other people’s driving, but you can control yourself and decrease your chances of an auto accident.
Keep reading to learn how to avoid car accidents with our top driving safety tips.
1. Assume That Everyone Else Is a Bad Driver
This is one of the best driving tips that too many people are afraid to offer. Did you know that 76% of people think that they’re excellent drivers? Does this match what you see on the road?
Everyone does something unsafe from time to time, and it’s possible that you’re also overconfident in your driving ability, but make sure that you’re assuming that everyone else is also overconfident.
So why would you do this? Why not give everyone the benefit of the doubt?
When you assume that everyone else is paying attention, you start to expect that they’ll drive based on your assumptions (or, in other words, based on common sense and the rules of the road).
In reality, this often isn’t true. Many people neglect turn signals, don’t look before they merge, go over the lines, and overall engage in unsafe behavior.
When you expect them to do this, you stay on alert. You can avoid accidents that other people could cause by acting as if you’re in a dangerous situation. Engage in defensive driving.
In the event that someone else causes an accident anyway, here is what you should do after an auto accident.
2. Tired? Find Somewhere to Rest
Do you find yourself driving when you’re exhausted? While it’s normal to get sleepy after a long day at work or first thing in the morning when you’re heading to work or school, if you’re unusually exhausted you should pull over or find a rest stop.
Many of us are so used to being exhausted that we don’t think that it will affect our ability to drive. Unfortunately, falling asleep at the wheel is more common than you think. It results in thousands of accidents (many fatal) per year.
Put aside your pride and be willing to take extra time to give yourself a break. Even getting a snack, taking a 10-minute nap, or taking a walk can be enough to finish your drive.
3. Adjust for Weather Conditions
Even if you’re the best driver in good weather conditions, poor conditions can change everything (especially if you’re new to an area with snow, black ice, or excessive rain).
If you’re not used to extreme conditions, take steps to prevent an accident. This can mean investing in snow tires or chains, driving slower than you would otherwise, or taking steps to improve your visibility.
Don’t be afraid to drive slow when you’re new to weather conditions. While this is dangerous on highways, going a few miles below the speed limit in bad conditions is normal and it’s better than risking an accident.
4. Stay Focused
Do you engage in distracted driving?
Everyone knows that it isn’t safe (or legal) to text while driving. That said, there are other ways to drive while distracted that we don’t always consider.
Holding a phone while driving isn’t safe. You should have both hands on the wheel. If you have a car with a phone connector available, consider using that instead (as long as talking doesn’t distract you).
You also shouldn’t try to change CDs while in the car or reconnect a phone or mp3 player.
Another thing that might distract some drivers (especially new ones)? Eating while driving. While a milkshake or drink is acceptable, driving while snacking or even eating full meals may stop you from paying attention to the road.
Exercise caution when you’re hungry on the road.
5. Obey Speed Limits
Let’s face it, we all go a little bit too fast from time to time. On back roads or straight highways with no other people present, it’s tempting.
That said, you shouldn’t assume that you’re alone. It’s always possible for someone (or something) to show up unexpectedly. A pedestrian or animal could get in the way of your vehicle, or someone could turn in from a side road that you don’t see.
It’s also important, in good weather conditions, to make sure that you’re not going too slow. If you must drive slowly, stay in the rightmost lane so people are able to pass you.
You may encounter aggressive drivers that tailgate you despite you following the speed limits. Remember that you’re in the right, but consider letting them pass anyway to avoid an accident.
6. Keep Your Eyes on the Road
This is related to the problem of distracted driving, but with a few extra hazards.
Have you ever watched a television show or a movie with a scene featuring two people together in a car? They’re talking to each other and looking at each other for long periods of time. This isn’t realistic.
In reality, this is an accident waiting to happen. When you’re not focusing on the road you’re not looking out for hazards or paying attention to road lines.
This is also true if you’re on a long drive and drift off into looking at your surroundings. No matter how beautiful nature is around you, keep your eyes on the road.
These Driving Safety Tips Could Save Your Life
If you want to be a better driver, use these driving safety tips or teach them to the younger drivers in your home. You can’t prevent car accidents entirely, but you can make sure that you’re not the one causing them.
Road safety is crucial. You’re driving a two-ton machine that can injure or even kill other people. Don’t forget that.
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