According to the Insurance Information Institute, an estimated 42,060 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020. While a lack of seatbelts was once a common cause of death when involved in a car accident, the data shows that speeding led to more than 17 percent of fatal car accidents followed by being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication. Nearly 6 percent were caused by a distraction such as a cell phone.
Of course, when you’re involved in a crash, even if it’s not fatal, it can cause everything from minor to serious injuries, damage to your vehicle, and a ton of other headaches like having to miss work while recovering along with a mound of paperwork and insurance companies to deal with. While a Columbia MO car accident lawyer or an attorney wherever you live can help, it’s best avoided in the first place.
Obviously, you can significantly reduce your chances of getting into an accident by following the posted speed limits, driving sober, and staying focused on the road by not texting or talking on the phone. But what else can you do to avoid getting into a car accident?
Always keep your distance from the vehicle in front of you as tailgating isn’t just an annoyance – it’s dangerous. As tempting as it may be when you’re running late, it’s a major cause of car accidents. Make sure there is at least a three-second space between you and the car in front of you. When there are less than perfect weather conditions, you’ll want at least a four-second cushion.
If you’re dealing with a tailgater, try to stay away. When you see someone driving dangerously close to another vehicle, look for a clearing in the traffic so that you can get as far away as possible. As slower traffic should drive in the right lane, moving over to the farthest right lane is a good way to steer clear of tailgaters. If you’re on a two-lane street and the driver can’t or won’t pass, try to pull off the road, on a side street, into a parking lot or driveway so they can. Try to stay calm and don’t slam on your brakes in hopes of getting them to stop, as you can easily get rear-ended.
Not only should you keep your eyes on the road and the car in front of you, but you should also look ahead to where you’ll be in another 10 to 12 seconds and occasionally scan the entire area when you’re driving. If someone up ahead were to suddenly stop, it can help you avoid a potential multi-car accident. And remember, just because someone is in the other lane, it doesn’t mean they’ll stay there. When you approach an intersection, be sure to look both ways before crossing, even if there is a green light just in case someone runs the red light.
Take Care of Routine Maintenance
Be sure that your car is properly maintained by following a routine maintenance schedule that includes checking the tires and replacing them when necessary. When your tires are in poor condition, there’s a much higher likelihood of an accident.
Always Keep At Least One Hand on the Wheel
Phones aren’t the only distraction that can cause serious car accidents. Reduce all potential distractions, such as eating or changing the radio station, by keeping at least one hand on the wheel at all times. Momentarily taking both hands off is taking a big chance as a pothole, blown tire, or even a gust of wind could send your car into another lane.