Technology is amazing. It allows us the freedom to do things that our ancestors may not even have dreamed of doing. We can cross oceans and fly through the sky. We can also visit our friends and families in other states by simply driving our cars, and we can travel just about anywhere we’d like to explore.
As more and more people take advantage of the freedom to travel provided by affordable vehicles and reasonable gas prices, the highways are full of distracted drivers and accidents waiting to happen.
Even with the advent of safety features in cars like warning alerts when something is too close to your vehicle and back-up cameras, accidents have been increasing in frequency in scary numbers. The factor that affects traffic accidents and fatalities the most directly is how many miles are traveled annually. As the more miles you travel increases, so does your risk of accidents – logically.
However, there are many things that you can do to reduce your risk of injury or fatality from a motor vehicle accident and still continue to enjoy the freedom of travel that makes living in this era so amazing. You can’t predict the behaviors of other drivers, but you can be an alert, cautious, and careful driver yourself.
Keep these 5 car safety trips in mind every time you travel, no matter how long or short the distance, so you can avoid becoming part of the statistics.
You don’t have to stay locked up in your home to be safe. Life isn’t meant to be lived in a bubble. There is a whole great big world out there to explore, so it is perfectly okay for you to go do it. However, you have to be aware of the dangers so that you can avoid them.
Statistics show that fatalities from motor vehicle accidents have increased steeply from 2014 to today. There are over 40,000 deaths and millions of injuries projected to occur in 2019 from distracted drivers, defective car parts, driving under the influence, and more.
States like Oregon, Florida, Texas, and Washington are among the top in the country for increasing statistics of fatalities. But California’s breathtaking views, popular tourist attractions, and temperate climate attract millions of visitors every year and result in excessive accidents, too.
To keep our state’s residents and visitors safe, California promotes safe driving habits and enforces strict rules, such as strong anti-texting and driving laws. On top of common sense, you can practice safe driving habits with the following 5 tips:
1. Life in the fast lane isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For many people, driving in the fast lane is the only way to travel. You get where you are going faster, and you don’t have to avoid those who don’t seem to be in a hurry to get to their destination. But it’s not necessarily the safest way to drive.
When you are driving in the left lane, which is the “fast lane,” if you have a problem come up and have to avoid it, there is usually not an escape route for you to quickly get to. You can pull right, which may be another car because it’s the middle lane, or you can pull left, which is usually a median or barrier.
Driving in the center lane or the right lane gives you a better chance of avoiding a potential accident, and it also keeps you from attracting the watchful eye of the long arm of the law, since they are trained to look for those speedsters in the left lane.
2. Use the eyes in the back of your head, too. You know we all have them at times, but in the case of your car, they are your rear and sideview mirrors, as well as your own eyeballs. We have frontal vision, but we also have peripheral vision and we can turn our heads. You have to use all of your own natural safety features when you are driving, especially to be on the alert for blind spots.
Don’t just look at what’s in front of you. Your brain should be constantly scanning for potential problems down the road and around you. You should be watching the car in front of you, but the cars in front of them, as well. If a car three spots in front of you slams on their brakes but you don’t notice until the car in front of you does, chances are you won’t stop in time.
If there is a person walking on the side of the road one hundred yards in front of you, you have to notice them in time to slow down and move over, as well. If you are distracted, not only will you cause an accident, but you may even kill someone.
3. Keep a watchful eye on other drivers. There are many telltale signs that give away a driver’s state of mind. Police officers are trained in these little nuances, and you can be, too.
Little things such as drifting to the left or right, jerking movements of the vehicle, and entering lanes without a turn signal can alert you that a driver is not quite paying attention. If their car is dirty enough that you can’t see them through the windows, they can’t see you clearly, either. If they speed up and slow down frequently with no apparent rhyme or reason, you want to get away from them.
All of these little actions point to a driver who should not be behind the wheel. If it looks unsafe, you may even want to call the authorities and report their car’s, make, model, license plate, and location and help prevent an accident. But even if you don’t think it’s that extreme, you still need to get away from them quickly.
4. Keep an eye on your own condition, too. One drink is one drink too many, no matter how tolerant your system is of alcohol. If you are under the influence of prescription or illegal substances, don’t get behind the wheel of the car. It’s not worth the lifetime consequences if you end up causing an accident and someone else gets hurt or dies.
But you know what’s just as dangerous as driving under the influence? Driving while distracted. Texting and driving and other distracted driving instances accounts for an average of 9 fatalities and over 1000 injuries every day in the United States, and those statistics are rising as people become addicted to multitasking, even behind the wheel. Many of these California accident victims are seen by the attorneys at Hershey Law – we don’t want you to be the defendant.
Know your own mental state. If you are upset about a conversation you had or are having, don’t drive, or pull over. If you are in an important discussion, at a minimum go hands-free, but even better, pull over. Don’t text and drive, complete your beauty regimen, eat your meals, or do anything else that would be considered a distraction on the police report if you get in an accident.
5. Keep your car in shape. No matter how new or old your car is, it could be subject to recalls for faulty parts. Don’t ignore those recall letters. Get your car’s oil changed regularly, tires rotated, and whatever else needs to be done to keep your car in good driving condition.
Many accidents are caused by neglectful owners who ignore recalls and end up driving their cars until the faulty part breaks or drive their cars when they know they shouldn’t be safely on the road. You may be willing to deal with the extra cost of repairs, but are you willing to deal with the court fees and stress of a lawsuit when your car’s breakdown causes an accident that results in injuries or fatalities?
Instead of being accused of negligent vehicle ownership and driving, take the easy way out and keep up with your vehicle. Even a blown tire can be enough to land you in the courtroom being sued for negligence for an accident you inadvertently caused.
There are literally thousands of ways that you could end up as a victim of injuries from a motor vehicle accident, no matter how safe and cautious you yourself are when you are behind the wheel. The good news is that you have expert attorneys in your corner at Hershey Law to help you through the motor vehicle accident court process if you are injured.
Sure, it’s a bumpy road out there when it comes to traveling, but you should not let it be a detour on your way of living life to the fullest. Instead, practice safe driving, keep these 5 tips in mind, and call us at Hershey Law for your free consultation if you ever find yourself in need of a personal injury attorney on the road of life.