11 Defensive Driving Tips

Getting behind the wheel, while an everyday occurrence for most of us, is more dangerous than you may think. Car accidents are so dangerous, that they are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.

Many accidents occur at the fault of other drivers. However, you have a significant impact on your likelihood of getting into an accident. By engaging in safe and defensive driving practices, you can lower your risk of getting into a serious car accident. Read the following tips to be safe on the road.

Focus

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents. Things like talking on the phone, eating, texting, loud music, etc. can slow your reaction time down and increase your risk of getting into an accident. The NHTSA reports that drivers under 20 are the most prone to distractions while driving. In fact, 11 percent of teens and young adults are involved in fatal crashes due to distracted driving. It is essential that you stay focused on the road.

Do Not Speed

Speeding creates a bigger impact when you crash, resulting is some of the deadliest accidents. The U.S. Census states that there were 33,808 fatalities due to speeding in 2009. Make sure you stay at the speed limit and go with the flow of traffic.

Buckle Up

This seems obvious, but so many lives could be saved each year if this simple rule was followed. According to the National Safety Council, seat belts reduce your risk of injury in a crash by 50 percent. The National Safety Council also claims that 75,000 lives were saved by seat belts between 2004 and 2008.

Obey Traffic Lights and Signs

Avoid intersection collisions by stopping at a stop sign, yielding and stopping at a red light. Practice patience by slowing down when the light turns yellow and being aware and cautious when crossing an intersection.

Don’t Rely on Other Drivers

Expect the drivers around you to make mistakes so that you can best prepare for an accident. By only trusting yourself, you are more in control of the situation and can anticipate what a driver might suddenly do.

Use Blinkers

According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, neglected or improper turn signals account for 2 million car accidents per year. It is best to err on the side of caution and make any lane changes or turns very clear to the other drivers.

Use the 2-Second Rule

Tailgating is another major cause of car accidents. The NHTSA claims that about 1/3 of all traffic accidents are caused by tailgating. These accidents can be prevented by allowing at least two seconds of time in between you and the car in front of you. In bad weather or in the case of night driving, increase this time to three to four seconds. This space between you and the other driver will allow you more time to brake if necessary.

Account for Bad Weather

When there is fog, rain or snow, there is an increased risk of getting into a car accident. You must account for the slick roads and decreased visibility by slowing down and allowing more distance between you and the other cars. Visibility can also be enhanced by using your headlights effectively. Remember to only use your high beams in low-traffic areas.

Get Rid of the Road Rage

Road rage impairs your judgement and can lead to serious, even fatal, accidents. Overlook someone cutting you off in order to prevent you and the innocent drivers around you from getting hurt. You never know who could be behind the wheel of the other vehicle.

Do Not Drive Under the Influence

According to the NHTSA, 28 people die everyday from drunk driving accidents. If you are under the influence of a mind altering substance of any kind, do not reach for the keys. It is essential that you are alert and can react quickly as a driver. Alcohol and drugs can affect this reaction time. This goes for sleepy driving as well, which also impairs judgement. Make sure you are fully rested before getting behind the wheel.

Properly Maintain Your Vehicle

Prevent your car from becoming disabled by regularly taking it in for oil changes, tire rotations and fluid checks. In the case that your car does break down on a busy highway, try to pull over to the breakdown lane by watching for fast cars and using your turn signals. If you cannot get to the breakdown lane, exit the vehicle when it is safe and stand away from traffic as you seek help.

Uplift Legal Funding

In the event that you get into a car accident and you suspect negligence from the other driver, file a claim. You could be entitled to compensation to help cover car damages and injuries. Uplift offers car accident loans to plaintiffs nationwide. Learn more by giving us a call at (800) 385-3660 or apply online.