Steps To Prevent Road Accidents
We all know speed is a major factor in many accidents. However, not all accidents are caused by speed and not all accidents are preventable. Yet there are steps you can take to help prevent accidents. Many accidents can be prevented and in those that are not preventable, the damage could be lessened. Here are some tips to help you prevent traffic accidents.
- Drive according to road conditions. Drive slower when the weather is bad. Road surfaces deteriorate in rain, ice or snow. The ability to stop quickly greatly reduces when the roads are not dry.
- Keep your vehicle in good mechanical order. Replace worn tires and brakes as needed. Keep windshield washer fluid full and change out windshield wipers on a regular basis.
- Wear your seatbelt. Not only do seatbelts keep you safe in an accident, it will help you avoid accidents as well. Seatbelts will hold you in place during an aggressive maneuver. If you make an abrupt maneuver, you may find yourself thrown to the passenger side of the vehicle. Remember to make your passengers buckle up, too.
- Avoid other vehicles. Back off and don’t tailgate or allow others to tailgate you. Try to avoid driving next to another vehicle in case it has to swerve to avoid an animal or debris that may be in the road.
- Watch out at intersections as many accidents happen here. Always slow down and look both ways at intersections. Don’t assume the other vehicles will stop just because the light is red. There is always someone trying to get through the intersection during a yellow light.
- Stay away from 18-wheelers. These large tractor trailer rigs require extra space when making wide right turns.Ttherefore, avoid the right side of one, especially if you think the driver will turn right. Don’t drive behind an 18-wheeler on the highway. A blown tire can cause an accident.
- Turn your head to check for traffic before changing lanes. Do not rely on your mirrors when making a lane change. All vehicles have “blind spots” in which your mirrors cannot see. Do not ride in the blind spots of other vehicles.
- Look extra carefully in parking lots or parking areas. Many fender-benders happen in these areas. Follow the rules set up in parking areas. These rules are for the safety of all drivers.
- Slow down. Obey the speed limit even if every other car is surpassing it. Remember that police officers often stay hidden from view while looking for speeders. If you’re caught driving too fast, they won’t hesitate to give you a ticket.
- Let others pass you. Defensive driving means letting others go ahead-not defending your position in traffic. Avoid the urge to be a vigilante (“Oh yeah? Let me show you what it’s like to be cut off like that!”) Accept the fact that someone is always going to think they’re in more of a hurry than you. These are the drivers you want to move far away from, not to ‘teach them a lesson.
- Try to avoid driving in bad weather. Always keep your windshield wipers going in the rain or snow. Defrost your windshield to keep it from fogging up. Turn on your headlights to help others to see you–this is also the law in some states. If possible, try to avoid driving in the snow at all, especially if your car is rear wheel drive. If you must go out in the snow, drive extra slow, use the brakes and gas pedal gently, and maintain an increased stopping distance.
- Never get into a car with a drunk driver. It is always best to have a “designated driver”. Never drive after you have had alcoholic beverages. Even one beer can alter your ability to drive safely.
- Wear a seatbelt. This is a must. By law in many countries, all cars must have a safety restraint. Buckling up only takes a second and can save your life in an accident. Children should always be in a booster seat or car seat until they are tall enough and heavy enough to sit by themselves. This generally includes children age eight and under. Never put a child in a car or booster seat in the front passenger seat or other seat with airbags. Children should generally be 12 and older when sitting in the front passenger seat.
- Keep your car and its accessories in good condition. Keep the tires properly inflated, the brakes adjusted, and the windshields and windows clean. Replace windshield wiper blades when they begin to streak, and all make sure all the lights are working properly.
- Use your signals properly. Always use your signal, even if you think no one is there. When changing lanes on the freeway, don’t signal as an afterthought or during the lane change. Signal at least a couple of seconds in advance so others know what you’re going to do before you do it. (Ever notice how most of the skid marks along the highway are just before an exit ramp? – this is where you have to be the most careful.)
- Don’t tailgate. No matter how slowly traffic is moving, keep at least two seconds of following distance between you and the car ahead. Any less and you won’t be able to stop in time if the driver ahead slams on the brakes.
- Don’t get in the habit of staring at the back of the car ahead of you. Periodically shift your eyes to the side-view mirrors, the rear-view mirror, and ahead to where you’ll be in 10-15 seconds. Doing this, you can spot a potentially dangerous situation before it happens.