Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is a major responsibility that requires plenty of foresight and training. This is the primary reason why getting a driver’s license is so difficult, with the variety in vehicle types being why there are a number of different forms of driver’s licenses as well. Learning how to stay safe behind the wheel of a car is important for anybody, regardless of how long they have actually been driving. Below is a comprehensive guide for the leading causes of car accidents along with the best ways to avoid being in a dangerous situation on the road.
How Dangerous Are Car Accidents?
On an annual basis, there are over 5 million car accidents on average that occur in the United States alone. While only a relatively small portion of these are fatal, with tens of thousands of people dying annually, the number of people walking away with injuries is in the multiple hundreds of thousands. On top of this, women have a 2.5 times higher likelihood to be injured in a wreck compared to a man due to a variety of factors.
Leading Causes of Car Accidents
Learning how to protect yourself on the road starts with identifying whether or not a car accident is about to occur. To that end, there are five leading causes of car accidents that all drivers should be aware of:
- Speeding: Drivers who are speeding on the roadway can quickly lead to an accident by reducing the reaction time other drivers have. On top of this, speeding drivers can cause other drivers to make quick and rash decisions that can lead to an accident while they are trying to avoid the speeding driver.
- Poor Weather: Another major cause of accidents on roadways around the world is poor weather conditions that a driver is unfamiliar with driving in.
- Distracted Driving: In the modern day, the world is full of distractions, which has caused many drivers to get into car accident. Whether it’s a smartphone or simply a moving billboard, distracted driving can lead to a number of accidents.
- Driving Under the Influence: Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, or some other type of influence, driving without being completely sober can quickly lead to a car accident.
- Reckless Behavior: Finally, simple reckless behavior on the roadway can lead to car accidents. Whether it’s a driver making a sudden move without indicating their attention or they are not obeying the rules of the road, reckless behavior can lead to accidents.
8 Safety Tips All Drivers Need to Know
To stay safe on the road the next time you embark on a journey, use the following eight safety tips to avoid a car accident:
1. Scan the road 12 seconds ahead of your vehicle
One of the best ways to give yourself enough reaction time to stay safe on the road is to follow the twelve-second rule. This means to scan twelve seconds ahead of you on the road at any and all times. Doing this can allow a person to have plenty of reaction time whether it be spotting traffic, a hazard in the road, or some other item.
2. Follow the three to four-second rule
Another timing rule to follow is a three to four-second rule. This means leaving at least three to four seconds of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Therefore, if the driver slams on their brakes or makes a sudden move you weren’t prepared for, you will have ample time to react.
3. Practice driving in poor weather in a safe environment
With poor weather conditions being a leading cause of accidents on the road, practicing driving in different weather conditions is an important way to prevent a wreck. This can help any driver prepare to take off without needing to fear new weather conditions.
4. Take care of any distractions prior to getting in the car
Whether it be checking a text, eating a meal, or even something as simple as brushing dust off your car seat, take a minute to handle any distractions which may impact your ability to drive on the road.
5. Always buckle your seatbelt before taking off
Seatbelts reduce a person’s risk of death by 45% and cut the risk of serious injury by 50%, going to show the importance of buckling up. Never put your car into drive without first ensuring everybody in your car is buckled up and ready to go.
6. Pack an emergency kit in your vehicle
The last thing anybody wants is to have a breakdown while out on the road and not be prepared for it. The best way to prepare for this unknown is to always have an emergency kit in the back of your car that has the essentials a person would need to survive in the short term should they become stranded.
7. Be a defensive driver, rather than offensive
A driver can never trust that another driver will follow the rules of the road, which is why all drivers need to be defensive instead of offensive. Follow the rules of the road, but understand when you need to take evasive action.
8. Never drive under the influence of anything
Finally, never drive under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or anything else. This can impair your judgment and general driving ability, which is why all drivers need to exercise caution and safe judgment.
Protect yourself out on the road
Staying safe on the road is about more than just watching for road hazards and following the speed limit. A person can’t always trust that other drivers on the road will be safe, which is why being a defensive driver is one of the most important rules outlined above. On top of this, never drive under the influence so that you are always completely attentive when behind the wheel. In the event you are involved in an accident caused by the negligence of another, reach out to an injury lawyer who can help you build your legal case.