According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, there are roughly 5.25 million car accidents in the U.S. every year. That means there is an accident every 60 seconds. In other words, there is a significant chance a driver will be involved in an accident this year.
So, what can you do to avoid being in an automobile accident? While there are numerous steps all drivers can take to avoid accidents, there are specific actions you can take now to minimize the chances you’ll be involved in any type of vehicle accident.
During the pandemic lockdown, the number of miles driven in the U.S. went down considerably, but the overall rate of traffic fatalities went up. The Highway Safety Administration concluded that drivers increased their speed, which resulted in numerous types of vehicle accidents and more deaths than normal. Higher speeds appear to contribute to more accidents, but there are other factors to consider as well.
Here are 11 tips commonly recommended to minimize your chances of being involved in any type of accident involving a moving vehicle.
1. Slow Down
As noted above, speed kills. Driving the posted speed limit reduces your odds of being involved in an accident. Remember that road conditions may require driving below the posted limit to avoid spinouts, uncontrolled skids, and other threats.
2. Avoid Distractions
It’s easy to be distracted by passengers, electronic devices, and things happening around you. Pay attention to the road, not what your passenger is saying or a cellphone call. Talking on a cell phone leads to roughly 1.6 million accidents per year, so don’t be a statistic.
3. Get Plenty Of Rest
Driving when you’re tired is never a good idea. Far too many people fall asleep at the wheel and crash or simply don’t react quickly enough to avoid an accident when they’re overtired. If you’re tired, stop driving.
4. Pay Attention To Pedestrians
Pedestrians and bicycle riders don’t always behave in ways you expect to see. That means drivers need to be vigilant and pay close attention to what pedestrians and bike riders are doing.
5. Read All Road Signs
Ignoring signs is easy because there are so many of them. However, those signs are designed to provide important information. Today, digital signs dot the landscape, and their messages change as driving conditions evolve. Paying close attention to all signs reduces the chances a driver will be surprised by curves, bad weather, or stopped traffic.
6. Don’t Follow Too Closely
Rear-end accidents are all too common, and most of those incidents can be avoided by allowing enough space between your vehicle and the one ahead.
7. Wear Your Seat Belt
While wearing seat belts has been required for years, some people still don’t bother to use them. In an emergency, a vehicle restraint system may help drivers avoid accidents as well as reduce injuries in the event an accident occurs.
8. Check The Tires
Worn tires and tires with improper air pressure cause or contribute to countless accidents every year. Proper tire maintenance reduces the odds of catastrophic tire failures that cause accidents.
9. Relax As Much As Possible
Stress makes it harder to react properly while on the road. Try to relax as much as possible while still focusing on maintaining control of your vehicle. Stress is certainly a factor in road rage, so avoid driving when you’re feeling overstressed.
10. Watch Cross Traffic
Even though all drivers are expected to obey the rules of the road, not all do. Drivers routinely run stop signs, ignore yield signs, or turn when they should not. Always pay close attention to all vehicles around you.
11. Expect the Unexpected
Finally, always try to anticipate what will happen during a trip, but also be prepared for just about anything. The weather changes, cars malfunction, and other drivers will do things no one expects to see. Always expect the unexpected.
Of course, there are other things you, as a driver, can do to avoid accidents. The important thing is to be alert and ready to respond to events around you whenever you’re on the road. Avoiding all accidents isn’t possible, but there are ways to minimize the chances of being in an accident.