Driving a car is dangerous - the number of fatalities due to car accidents in the United States proves that fact. In 2016, over 37,000 people lost their lives in over 34,000 car accidents. Even though passenger vehicles are safer than ever, human error still looms large when it comes to driving safely. What can we do?
We can be more attentive, more careful, more aware of what surrounds us when we're on the road. We can drive more defensively with fewer distractions. If each of us tries, we can together lessen the danger of driving. In this article, we'll discuss six tips for safer driving that might surprise you.
This is something that nearly everyone does wrong. When you’re sitting in the driver’s seat, you have a blind spot on either side of your vehicle, as you are probably already aware. The thing is, these blind spots can be eliminated if your side mirrors are adjusted correctly.
To do so, simply angle each side mirror outward until you can just barely see your own car in the mirror. When you adjust your mirrors this way, any car that passes you on either side will be visible in at least one of your mirrors at all times.
While it’s true that road signs can give you a heads-up as far as what to look out for when you’re behind the wheel, you’re much better off relying on your own observations while in traffic. Especially when there are just so many signs to keep track of. Signs can give you clues as to how traffic should be behaving, such as yield signs, stop signs, and slow-down-road-constructions signs. But those signs depict ideal situations. Drivers should slow down and stop at a stop sign, and they should yield when the sign directs them to...but whether they do or not is something only your observation will detect. If you keep your eyes open and continually scan the traffic around and ahead of you, as well as off-road spaces as you drive, you’ll end up much safer than simply reading signage and taking it as gospel.
There’s just something about driving around with the music up loud. It feels good. But it may not be the safest thing to do, even if you’re listening to relaxing music. In fact, research has suggested that listening to any type of music at all serves to placate you - making you less aware of your surroundings and at a greater chance of having an accident. The study showed that when drivers drove in silence, their heart responded appropriately to different stimuli one would expect while driving. The drivers in the study that we listening to music showed no fluctuation in heart rate, suggesting that they were more intent on the music than the road. So it appears that driving in silence may be the safest way to go.
Most newer vehicles have daytime running lights, but if you have an older vehicle, just keep your headlights on all the time. It’s been proven to reduce the risk of accidents by up to 32%. The reason for this is simple - when you have your headlights on, your car is more visible. And when your car is more visible, it’s more likely to be seen by tired and distracted drivers of other vehicles, thereby lowering your chances of getting into an accident. So if your car doesn’t have automatic headlights or daytime running lights, just flip your headlights on when you’re driving...all the time, in all kinds of weather.
We bet that you didn't know that if you never use your parking brake (sometimes called emergency brake), which are basically steel cables that override your hydraulic braking system, they will rust and corrode and eventually become useless. You can avoid that unfortunate scenario by engaging the parking brake every once in a while. Then, if you truly do have an emergency like your brakes suddenly going out, you can use your parking brake without fear that the cable will snap.
If one of your tires suddenly has a blowout, your knee-jerk reaction will be to slam on the brakes. But that is the worst thing you can do. If you put on your brakes during a blowout, you’ll begin fishtailing and may even flip your vehicle over into oncoming traffic. So what is the proper response to suddenly losing a tire to a blowout?
It might seem counterproductive, but what you should do is keep your foot on the gas. Don’t speed up, but very slowly release the pressure on the gas pedal, while maintaining control of the vehicle. As your car slows down, make your best attempt to steer the car out of traffic, if you can do so safely.
While these suggestions won’t solve every traffic problem, adhering to them and adopting newer and safer habits while driving will help keep your chances of having an accident at a minimum.
If you have been injured in an auto accident that wasn’t your fault, we invite you to come in for a free, confidential consultation. We are personal injury law experts with decades of experience successfully handling cases like yours. Call us today at (916) 788-7100 or contact us online.