Most people know there are dangers existing behind the wheel, but it’s easy to forget that it is the experienced driver who feels like he’s seen it all. While some drivers are definitely better than others, mistakes happen to everybody and none are exempt to that rule. Furthermore, public roads are just that: public. You are not the only one driving on the road, which means you have to take into account other drivers as well, while expecting them to make mistakes.
Keeping in mind that there are some actions you can take in order to reduce your risk of getting into car accidents.
Give yourself enough space
When driving on crowded roads, ensure you leave enough space between your car and the vehicle in front of you. When roads are covered in snow during winter time, we recommend that you double or even triple your normal distance between cars, giving you adequate time to react and come safely to a stop in case of emergencies.
Don’t just keep an eye on the car in front of you – ensure you have a general idea of the traffic far ahead as well. Keep an eye out in advance for stoplights, stop signs and turns in the road, so you have enough time to prepare and steer through them.
Don’t text or do anything else that distracts you
Whether it is texting your best friend while hauling around cargo in your Ford Focus or drinking your morning coffee, all of these activities can distract you and take your attention away from the road, increasing your risk of getting into a car accident. While you might consider fiddling with the radio controls or turning up the heat harmless acts, they are distracting you by taking your eyes away from the road, if only for a few seconds. Those few seconds could make all the difference in bad weather or traffic, so wait until you are at an intersection before taking care of any other business. Until then, keep your eyes on the road!
Need sleep? Pull over
In Canada, a major cause of car accidents is when people drive while tired, choosing to navigate the streets instead of staying under the sheets. According to SmartMotorist.com, driver fatigue can strike at any time, but is most common between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. In many cases, drivers might not even realize they are tired or drifting asleep while driving, which makes them a major hazard to both themselves and others on the road. Even nodding off for a split second can cause major accidents, especially when driving in winter conditions.
There are a few major reasons why tired drivers are at an especially huge risk for accidents. Firstly, driver’s reaction times are delayed greatly, and if you are asleep for a few seconds while in the midst of an accident, you will fail to make the emergency maneuvers necessary to avoid the crash, resulting in an even more deadly crash. Keeping this in mind, remember to get off the wheels if you catch yourself yawning one too many times. Instead, find an alternate mode of transportation.
Bring your car in for regular check-ups
Following your manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule will help keep your car in optimal working condition, ensuring that everything functions as it should in case of emergency.
When your car is in good shape, it’ll be more able to handle the issues that tend to lead to getting into accidents. Ensuring the tread on your tires is sufficient and the brake pads are solid will go a long way in keeping you safe. Furthermore, ensuring regular oil changes are done will go a long way in maintaining the health of your new vehicle’ engine.
If it’s 4:30 PM and there’s suddenly snow blowing at 70 km/h in your windshield, you sure don’t want to be out of windshield washer fluid or using old wiper blades.
Follow the rules of the road
One of the simplest yet most overlooked causes of accidents is simply not following the law. Ensure you are familiar with the roads and rules in your area, ensuring that no signs of vehicles take you by surprise. Know how to yield and merge carefully and always give the right of way to those who deserve it.
Avoid driving in poor weather conditions
If it’s raining cats and dogs outside or the roads are covered in black ice, don’t risk driving anywhere. It’s not worth it. Poor weather conditions lower visibility and increase the probability of loss of traction. Either way, poor weather conditions have been a major cause of car accidents, even with experienced drivers. Knowing that, try and avoid driving in such weather as much as possible. If you simply must drive during poor weather conditions, lower your speed and be extremely attentive to your surroundings.
Don’t drive impaired
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16- to 25-year olds, and alcohol and/or drugs are a factor in 55% of those crashes. Most people do not realize how few drinks it takes to exceed the 0.08 blood alcohol content limit when taking a breathalyser test. For the average-sized person, three or four drinks could easily place you in the “impaired driver” category. It is certainly not rational to drink and drive, so for your own sake and the safety of everyone else on the road, never get behind the wheel when your judgement is impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Accidents are nobody’s idea of fun, so now that you are aware of these seven most common causes of car accidents, keep them in mind and put them into action. They might just save your life the next time you’re out on the road. Got any more to add to the list? Feel free to comment below or send us a tweet @Unhaggle.