You pull out at an intersection and then suddenly, out of nowhere, a big truck slams into the side of your car. How did this happen? Maybe they ran a red light or maybe you didn’t look both ways. At the end of the day, your car is still totalled and you may have even sustained injuries that could last the rest of your life. To prevent this situation from becoming a reality, there are a number of simple things you can do to reduce your chances of being in an accident now. However, if you do end up in a car accident, make sure that, after you see your doctor or go to the hospital, you schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers to make sure you get the representation — and the compensation — you deserve.
This list is broken into two sections: Basic Tactics and Advanced Tactics. Basic tactics are things you should already be doing and are primarily useful as a reminder of the basics of safe driving. Advanced tactics are things that people who want to maximize their security on the road should consider doing. If you haven’t already checked out the previous post on accident-preventing mindsets, be sure to check that one out as well. Now, that all being said, let’s begin!
9 Basic Tactics that Will Help Prevent Car Accidents:
Look both ways before pulling out into traffic. Four-way stops, train tracks, and other types of intersections bring with them a higher potential of accidents. These are the points on the road where drivers are changing direction, speeding up, etc., which makes them some of the more dangerous types of situations you will face on the road every day.
- Wear your seat belt while driving. As surprising as it may be, even to this day, when the safety benefits of seatbelts is indisputable, nearly 14% of Americans still don’t wear a seatbelt. Wearing a seatbelt will help protect you in the case of an accident, however, the very act of putting on your seatbelt demonstrates your commitment to stay safe while driving, which has a trickle-down effect in the rest of what you do.
- Never let go of the steering wheel while driving. You never know what kinds of obstacles are waiting for you around the corner, and you have to be able to act fast in most situations if you are to prevent a car accident.
- Don’t back out blindly. With the rise of video cameras in cars to help with backing out, some people get in the habit of not turning their heads to see what is happening behind them before they back out. When you back out blindly you are putting yourself, your passengers, and your fellow drivers all at risk due to your negligence. Why put yourself at risk of getting in an accident when looking over your shoulder will help you verify that the road is clear and safe, reducing your risk of getting in an accident.
- Don’t make any maneuvers blindly. To expand on the previous point, in general you should prioritize being aware of where you are pulling your car into. Blind maneuvering is risky driving, and risky driving is the kind of driving that increases your chances of being in a car accident.
- Avoid cellphone use. It can be difficult to avoid responding immediately to the latest messages on your phone, but these sudden distractions are responsible for an increasing number of car accidents on the road.
- Deciding before you drive that you don’t look at text messages will help you stay focused on the road with less distractions. Even better: while driving, turn your phone to airplane mode. You can check your messages after you get to your destination. How common are text messages that can’t wait an extra 15 minutes to respond to?
- Don’t change CDs or fiddle with audio devices while driving. It’s obviously the case that if you are fiddling around with devices in the dash, you aren’t going to be watching the road. Decide what if any music you will be listening to before you leave, or just forego music altogether.
- Stop at yellow lights. Yellow lights don’t mean “speed up”. Stopping at yellow lights will help protect you from your fellow drivers who may be in a hurry and want to get going before their light turns green, or from drivers who are trying to get through the light as fast as possible.
- Focus on the road. The overarching basic tactic for preventing car accidents is to focus on the road while driving. The more aware you are of what is happening around you, the more time you will have to respond to unexpected situations, and the safer you will be while driving.
3 Advanced Tactics that Will Help Prevent Car Accidents
- Wait a moment after a light turns green at stoplights. One common place that car crashes happen is at intersections when someone decides to race through a red or yellow light. Be careful after the light turns green for yellow/red-light runners. Waiting a second after it turns green could save your life if there is a driver who is rushing to make their light after it has already turned red. Better safe than sorry.
- Get in the habit of scanning the road. Scanning the road is something that we all do to a degree, but that, with active practice, can be improved and supplemented with an awareness of specific things to look for.
- Active Driving. What it means to engage in active driving is that you are bringing together all these great tactics into one synthetic approach to driving. Staying alert, thinking ahead, and practicing safe driving practices, even when the drivers around you are not, will help turn you into an active driver.
What all these tactics come down to is safety. Safety for you, safety for your passengers, and safety for fellow drivers on the road. If you do end up getting injured while driving though, first thing’s first: make sure you go to the hospital or see your doctor, no matter how minor your injuries may immediately appear. Sometimes it takes a while for injuries to become noticeable, and other times you are just in so much shock that you don’t realize how serious they are.
After you seek out medical advice, consider the benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney to help you get the representation you need. At Fredson Statmore Bitterman, we have extensive experience helping our New Jersey clients get fair, full compensation for the injuries they have sustained from motor vehicle accidents as well as other types of injuries. Contact our New Jersey motor vehicle injury lawyers today.