While we post a lot about what to do when you are involved in an accident, the truth is we don’t want you to be injured in the first place. Sometimes accidents just happen and are unavoidable. However, many are avoidable and there are definite steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting into an auto accident. Here are 4 steps you can take today to increase your safety on the road.
1. Cut Out Distractions
The recent maxim has been that distracted driving is just as bad as drunk driving. Without making the comparison, let’s assume that it is best to neither drive drunk nor distracted. We live in a high distraction world – billboards, stereo, cell phones, and even passengers compete for our attention and can distract us from focusing on the road.
Thus, the first step to reduce your risk of being in an accident is to focus your attention on driving. Ignore the billboards as best you can, don’t text (texting and driving is illegal in many jurisdictions including Wisconsin, as we have discussed), avoid calls or use hands-free devices, and use your passengers to help out with the radio and other tasks while driving.
Remember, roads can be dangerous. Multi-ton vehicles traveling at high speeds can result in horrific accidents. By reducing distractions, you put yourself in the best place to avoid an accident.
2. Do not Follow too Closely
For starters, no one likes being tailgated. You have been tailgated before, I’m sure, and it is not a good feeling. It’s annoying, and it can make you feel uncomfortable. It is also dangerous. Following too closely can cause accident, and typically, the car that rear ends the car in front of it is at fault. Following too closely could also cause you to not see a bottleneck or traffic jam ahead.
Follow the two second rule. This rule states that in any situation, you should be two seconds of time behind the car in front of you. If the speed limit is higher, make it three seconds. This tactic is easy to implement. Pick an object ahead of you on the side of the road, perhaps a tree or a sign, see when that car reaches that object, and count zero… one… two. If you are past that object before you get to two, you are too close.
Another good rule of thumb is to put one car length per every ten miles per hour of speed between you and the car ahead of you. If you are traveling sixty miles per hour, you should be about six car lengths from the car ahead of you.
3. Drive within Posted Speeds and Appropriately for the Conditions
Follow the speed limit. Speeding can cause you to be liable in the event of a car accident, and often times, speed limits are posted because it has been determined that this is the safe speed to travel to avoid injury in an accident.
Also, if it is raining or snowing, it is appropriate to drive below the speed limit. Even though it’s a judgment call, you can be cited or held liable for traveling at an unsafe speed for the weather conditions. During extreme weather conditions, exercise restraint.
4. Wear Your Seatbelt
Just do it. Seatbelts were designed to keep you safe. The injuries that occur from a car accident happen because of violent changes of speed. Your vehicle was designed to crumple and decelerate at a rate to keep you safe in the event of an accident. Your seatbelt will help you to slow down at the same rate that your vehicle is slowing down. This is a good thing.
Without your seatbelt, because of the laws of physics, instead of slowing down with the crumpling of your car, your windshield, or another object will slow you down. This will cause much more serious injuries than if you slow down with your car, especially if you are traveling at high speeds.
You Can’t Prevent Everything
Taking these four simple steps will reduce your risk of getting into an accident, as well as reduce the severity of injuries if you do get into one. However, as stated previously, not every accident is preventable. If you do find yourself in an accident, it is important to reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer. At the Groth Law Firm, we have the experience and drive to help injured people seek justice. Contact us today for a free consultation.