If you own a car or drive regularly, it is essential that you do know the 5 key principles of defensive driving. These are:
- Avoiding distractions
- Driving sober and alert
- Purchasing a safe vehicle
- Following traffic laws
- Avoiding potentially dangerous situations
Although you cannot control the actions of other drivers, practicing defensive driving can minimize your risk of being involved in a traffic accident and reduce the damage caused by unavoidable accidents.
Drivers face dozens of distractions every time they hit the road, including cell phones, loud passengers, and accident scenes. It is not always easy to stay focused on the task of driving. The deadliest distractions are those that occupy your physical, mental, and visual abilities at the same time. Examples include texting and surfing social media sites behind the wheel.
Engaging in distracting behaviors not only puts your life at risk but also threatens the safety of your passengers and other road users. Here are a few tips to help you avoid distracted driving accidents:
- Put your cell phone on silent
- Do not eat or drink behind the wheel
- Do not apply make-up or adjust your clothing behind the wheel
- Tell rowdy passengers to behave
- Ask a passenger to adjust climate and audio controls for you
- Program your GPS before you depart rather than on the road
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Stay Sober and Alert
It is no secret that driving high or drunk will increase the likelihood of crashing. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 10,000 people died in drunk driving accidents in 2019.
What you may not know is that driving while fatigued can also be dangerous, with the NHTSA estimating that nearly 700 people died in fatigue-related accidents in 2019. Therefore, to truly be a safe driver, you should:
- Never drive after drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs
- Check the potential side effects of medications you are taking—if drowsiness is one of them, do not drive
- Get a good night’s rest (or consult a doctor if you have chronic sleep problems)
- Pull to the side of the road if you feel yourself falling asleep
- Plan adequate rest stops if you are taking a long trip
Purchase a Safe Vehicle
Your car is your best protection if an accident occurs. Make sure to take your car to the mechanic for regular check-ups and tune-ups, ensure the airbags are in working order and keep your tires properly inflated.
Thanks to new technologies, your vehicle can even help prevent accidents from occurring in the first place. You can purchase a vehicle that has advanced safety equipment such as:
- A backup camera
- Electronic stability control
- Lane departure warning
Follow Traffic Laws – and Make Sure Your Passengers Do the Same
Remember that traffic laws are in place for your safety. Sharing the roadway with others is a big responsibility. Everyone must keep both their safety and everyone else’s at the top of their mind at all times. With this in mind, you should not:
- Exceed the speed limit
- Drive faster than is safe for the conditions
- Make illegal turns
- Tailgate or follow another driver too closely
- Ignore traffic signs and signals
- Change lanes abruptly or without warning
If you have passengers in the car, make sure everyone is wearing a seat belt properly and that children are in age-appropriate car seats. If they have devices with them, ask them to keep the volume low and avoid showing you their screens while driving. It can be difficult to be firm with friends or relatives, but it may save their life or prevent a fatal distraction.
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Avoid Dangerous Situations
All of the above principles involve regulating your behavior. While this is very important, it will not stop others from driving recklessly and disobeying the law. If someone else is set on ignoring traffic laws, the best you can do is avoid situations where accidents are more likely to occur. For example:
- Try to limit your time on the road in bad weather and at night
- Reduce your speed in adverse conditions
- Avoid driving during rush hour and drinking holidays
- If another driver appears drowsy, drunk, or distracted, keep your distance
- Do not respond to road rage or aggression—and drive directly to the nearest police station if an angry driver decides to follow you.
Get Help from a Car accident Lawyer By Calling Our Office Today
Knowing the 5 key principles of defensive driving may save your life, but unfortunately, they cannot prevent all accidents. If you were injured in a crash that another driver caused, contact a car accident attorney from the Morris Bart law firm.
Our lawyers work on a contingency-fee-basis and will not charge attorney’s fees until you get compensation. We have 15 locations to serve clients. Call (800) 537-8185 to speak with a lawyer today.
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