It seems like driving has gotten decidedly more dangerous these days. This is because there are a lot of distracted drivers as well as people driving aggressively. This doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it or that you need to stop driving to avoid getting into an accident. It simply means that you need to be proactive in making sure that you are able to stay safe.
This involves taking on some defensive driving habits to avoid getting into a car accident even if it wouldn’t be your fault. These habits will keep you as safe as can be and will help you keep the streets much safer for everybody else, too. You could still get into an accident and need the services of a law firm like Fontes Law Group, but reducing the likelihood should be the goal.
It doesn’t take a lot of effort, but it does take knowing what the basics are when it comes to defensive driving. In this article, we will go over several tips to help you drive defensively.
1 – Put the phone away
One of the biggest causes of accidents these days is the fact that people are texting while they drive. It is quickly surpassing drunk driving as a cause of accidents due to how prevalent it is. The reason it is so dangerous is that it takes the driver’s eyes off the road for too long. Since things happen fast when driving, it causes an accident.
When you get a text, read it, and then respond you are taking your eyes off the road for up to eight seconds at a time. This doesn’t seem like a long time, but if the car ahead of you stops and you don’t know because you are texting, then you will hit them from behind at full speed in less than a couple of seconds. There are a number of other things that can happen in the meantime that you will also not be able to avoid such as a pedestrian crossing the street, or driving off of the road.
The best thing to do is to put your phone away while driving. If the temptation is too great to read and respond to a text then shut it off and wait until you are at your destination to turn it back on.
If you do keep it on then when you get a text, pull off to the side of the road to read it and respond. The same goes for a phone call coming in while you are driving.
2 – Keep your hands on the wheel
Distracted driving is not just about using a phone. Anytime your hands are off the wheel doing something else, you are not able to react quickly enough to what is happening on the road. For instance, if you are eating a sandwich while you drive then you only have one hand on the wheel. If you have to avoid something on the road then you will lose precious seconds trying to put it down so you can control your vehicle.
This also includes putting on makeup, drinking coffee, or using an electric shaver. If you are driving, focus on driving with both hands on the wheel and leave those things for before you get in the car.
3 – Know what’s happening around you
The key to avoiding an accident is to predict when one will happen. This means that you can see things happening that could lead to an accident and then prepare a reaction to them. The only way that this is possible is to be aware of everything happening on the road around you.
Always use your mirrors to scan the area behind you and to the sides of your car. If you know what cars are around and how fast they are traveling then you can avoid a car being in your blind spot. This involves checking all of your mirrors every few seconds and making a mental note of the cars you see behind you.
You need to also be looking ahead. Try to look beyond the car in front of you to see if there are cars turning across your lane, or if there is an intersection ahead where a car could enter suddenly.
When approaching an intersection, make sure to slow down and watch for cars that don’t seem to be stopping at their red light or stop sign so you can stop in time.