Sadly, road accidents are one of the leading causes of death for people aged 1-54 years old in the U.S. More than 38,000 people die because of road accidents every year across the U.S., and 4.4 million other victims escape with mild to severe injuries.
Nevada reported 314 car crash deaths in 2020 alone, according to The Nevada Independent. These statistics are disheartening, especially considering that most road accidents are preventable.
7 Tips to Stay Safe When Driving
Motorists have a responsibility to ensure all road users’ safety. That responsibility starts with you, and your safety comes first. Here are seven tips to avoid car accidents and stay safe when driving.
Sharpen Your Driving Skills
Unskilled and unlicensed drivers pose a significant risk to themselves and other road users. While you may be confident about your driving skills, you may not be familiar with all the traffic rules.
Other drivers will assume that you know what you are doing, so your lack of knowledge will cause confusion when you don’t do what you are supposed to do. For example, you may misread a sign asking you to slow down and potentially cause a pile-on accident ahead.
As such, it is important to take driving lessons under the instruction of a certified driving instructor – you may also consider following up with a defensive driving course for better road safety awareness. You can also sign up for refresher driving lessons if you are concerned that your driving skills are rusty.
Ensure Your Car Is Roadworthy
You may be a good driver, but your car could be the problem. For example, it doesn’t matter how fast you hit the brakes when you spot an obstacle before you – you will skid right into an accident if your tires are worn out.
This is why it is always important to ensure that your car is roadworthy at all times through maintenance. Basic car maintenance includes:
- Checking the tires regularly to ensure that they have sufficient pressure and enough treading to prevent skidding
- Cleaning the headlights regularly and checking to see that they work
- Checking oil and other fluid levels, including the brake, transmission, and power steering fluids
- Inspecting the wiper blade to ensure that they work properly, especially when it is raining or snowing
It is also important to get your car inspected by a professional mechanic at least once every three months. More importantly, don’t ignore any problems, regardless of how minor they may seem to be.
Avoid Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicating Substances
One person dies every 50 minutes in the U.S. from road accidents involving impaired drivers. Unsurprisingly, driving while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs considerably increases your likelihood of getting involved in an accident.
Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it slows the brain’s and central nervous system’s speed. As such, you cannot notice hazards or react to them as fast as you would if you were sober. Other drugs such as marijuana and cocaine scramble your brain, influencing you to make irrational choices such as speeding on a busy highway.
Avoid Distractions & Concentrate on the Road
Distracted driving causes about 1.6 million road accidents every year. It can be just as dangerous as drunk driving as it resulted in more than 3,000 deaths in 2019.
One of the first and main lessons when learning how to drive is maintaining your concentration on the road, and the casualties of distracted driving prove why. The road can be uneventful most of the time, but accident-causing hazards can spring up at any time. For example, you will not see a deer spring up in front of you out of nowhere if you are busy texting on the phone.
Phones are not the only source of distraction when driving. For example, driving while tired will impair your concentration times. As such, the safest thing to do is to always ensure that your mind is fresh and focused before getting behind the wheel.
Stick to the Recommended Speed Limits
Speed limits are set for a purpose, not to frustrate you when you are in a rush. For example, speed limits around schools and residential areas are set to avoid accidents with pedestrians who may be using the road. It will be easier to brake when you are going at 35MPH when a kid starts running across the road than when you are doing 100MPH.
Going above or below the recommended speed limit will also put you on a collision course with other vehicles driving at the recommended speeds. It will also get you a ticket, a fine, and potential jail time.
Beware of Dangerous Weather
Some weather conditions also make it difficult to stay in control of your vehicle, thus increasing the likelihood that you will be involved in an accident. For example, snow and rain make the road slippery, essentially making your car’s brake system unreliable. Too much humidity and fog in the air hinders visibility, sometimes making it difficult to see two feet in front of your car.
It is prudent to check the weather conditions outside or get a weather update before driving, especially if you are traveling long distances. It is also advisable (and necessary) to modify your vehicle for the prevailing season, such as installing snow tires when winter comes.
Make Use of Driving Safety Technology
Technology is making it easier and safer to drive. There are dozens of safety driving technologies, including:
- Automatic emergency braking systems
- Lane departure and forward collision warning systems
- Electronic stability control
- Vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V)
- Auto-steering and traction control systems
- LED and adaptive headlights
- Blindspot detection systems
- Rear backup cameras
Most modern vehicles feature multiple driver assistance and safety technologies. You can also install some of these technologies into your older model.
Contact an Attorney for Help with Your Case
Sometimes car accidents are unavoidable, regardless of how many precautions you take. It is important to consult a lawyer as soon as possible following an accident.
Our lawyers at Pacific West Injury Law are always ready for that call, and we are dedicated to getting you justice and fair compensation for your damages. Get in touch today for a free case review and to learn more about our services.