Auto accidents happen more often than you think. According to the US Department of Transportation–National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 31,720 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes from January to September 2021. This is a 12% increase from the first nine months of 2020 and the highest since 2006. While some accidents are inevitable, most traffic crashes are preventable and avoidable. Sometimes it’s the minor things that lead to the worst impacts.
Auto accidents can increase your insurance policy, injuries, or property damage. In some cases, you may need to seek help from a car accident lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve after an accident. So how do you drive safely and keep your family safe? Here are a few tips you can utilize.
1. Develop the Right Attitude Towards Driving
Driving is a skill you master with practice, patience, and common sense. It’s essential to develop a good attitude towards driving and taking responsibility for your actions. If you’re just learning to drive, get as much supervised driving practice as possible. You can also take tests and earn certificates that you can show to your insurance provider to get lower premiums on your auto insurance policy.
2. Focus on Driving
Once you’ve buckled your seatbelt, focus on the road and remove all distractions. Never drive a car if you feel sleepy, intoxicated, stressed, tired, injured, or while under medication. Avoid using your phone or eating as you drive, and pay attention to what is happening on the road.
3. Plan Your Trip Ahead
If you’re planning to tour a different region or going on a road trip, it’s prudent to plan your trip meticulously and focus on essential details of the trip. Know what you intend to do at your destination, check the roads you will be using, and pack necessary supplies, including tools you will need to fix your vehicle in case of a breakdown. If you’re visiting a different state, check the traffic regulations and laws regarding signaling, speeding, passing, and maintenance.
4. Drive Defensively
Driving defensively is all about keeping to the required speed, maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front, slowing down during bad weather, and simply using all accident prevention techniques to avoid collisions or crashes. When you drive defensively, you’re more focused on what is going on around you, which allows you to act on time and expect the unexpected. It’s essential to keep in mind that some motorists may try to do something unexpected, so prepare to take action to prevent it.
5. Avoid Driving in Bad Weather or At Night
Driving at night comes with its own risks that increase the chances of an accident. Additionally, the risk of a fatal crash is three times higher at night than during the day. While there may be fewer vehicles on the road, poor visibility can massively impact your judgment. Poor weather such as rain, fog, and snow can affect your visibility and the mechanical aspects of the car. The cold can affect your engine, tires, and other critical parts of the car.
6. Keep Up With Routine Maintenance
Your vehicle is your primary companion. For this reason, you want to make sure it is in good condition every time. Routine tune-ups help fix problems and ensure your car drives smoothly for the longest time. Regular servicing also helps prevent costly repairs or replacements. If you’re a frequent traveler, check your vehicle before leaving the driveway, change the oil a week before your trip and conduct a yearly inspection to keep the car registered. Replace lights and tires as needed and make sure everything is in great shape.