Whether you drive a pickup truck, an electric car, or an 18-wheeler, it’s important that you exercise caution when you’re behind the wheel. Every year, 2.5 million Americans end up in the emergency room due to injuries sustained from motor vehicle crashes. And during the holidays, your risk of being involved in a car accident is even higher.
Safe driving should be your number-one priority. Here are seven quick tips to help you operate your vehicle safely.
Tip #1: Always Wear Your Seatbelt
This might seem like a no-brainer, especially with modern seat belt laws. However, there are still a lot of people who refuse to wear their seatbelts.
Accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. If you’re not wearing your seatbelt, you’re over 15 times more likely to be ejected from your vehicle in a crash, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Tip #2: Don’t Drive Intoxicated
This is another seemingly obvious tip, but the facts are sobering. The CDC reports that 29 people die each day in the United States as a result of drunken driving. If you’ve had anything to drink, or have used any other drugs, it’s best to avoid getting behind the wheel.
Tip #3: Drive Defensively
The idea behind defensive driving is that you should always be aware of the vehicles around you and be ready to react if they do something dangerous.
Part of driving defensively is leaving plenty of space between your car and the one ahead of you. The other part is driving in a predictable way yourself; don’t change lanes unless you have to, and don’t speed up and brake unnecessarily.
Tip #4: Plan Ahead
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going. If you’re running late, you’ll be more likely to drive aggressively.
If you do get a little behind, don’t try to make up time by speeding. When you speed, you have less time to react if you need to stop suddenly or drive around an unexpected hazard.
Tip #5: Don’t Drive Distracted
In the smartphone era, distracted driving is a big problem; if you’re looking at a screen, then you’re not looking at the road. You can turn off your phone, put it in driving mode, or silence it; just make sure that you’re not looking down at it while you’re driving.
Distracted driving isn’t limited to smartphone use. Things that people commonly do behind the wheel, like eat and converse with passengers, can prove distracting for the driver. Keep the conversation light, and park before you eat.
Tip #6: Maintain Your Vehicle
Keeping your vehicle well-maintained is an important safe driving practice. If your transmission won’t shift gears, or your car dies out in the middle of traffic, it can be very dangerous.
Make sure your brakes are working properly. If they’re squeaking or grinding, it’s probably time to change your brake pads. Also, pay special attention to your tires; blowouts at high speed are no picnic. Make sure they’re not under- or over-inflated, and have them rotated regularly.
Tip #7: Adjust Your Driving to Conditions
You’ve probably heard stories about multiple-car pileups during storms or heavy fog. When people fail to reduce speed during hazardous conditions, accidents inevitably result. You should always take extra precautions during inclement weather, along with operating under the assumption that nobody else is.
Another time to exercise extra caution is when you’re driving in a work zone. Work zones often have sudden lane shifts, unexpected bumps, and construction workers just a little too close for comfort. Driving too fast in a work zone can be a recipe for disaster.
Year in and year out, motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of death and serious injury for adults in the United States. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident, contact Attorney Teresa Williams.
She will answer your questions and, if necessary, help you make a claim for your injuries and your property damage.