Distracted driving is the # 1 cause of vehicle related accidents in the US, notes Joel Speyers of Prep4Travel. Over 80% are caused by distraction of one kind or another. This includes cell phone usage (texting or talking), chatting with friends or other passengers, trying to care for a screaming child, and some things even as simple as eating or taking a sip of water while driving.
Speed is one of the worst contributing factors in any car accident, adds Speyers. Speeding reduces your reaction time to avoid a potential crash, and increases the severity of the accident. Obeying posted speed limits itself will save many drivers from accidents and fatal consequences.
The last statistic I have heard related to drunk or intoxicated driving, says Speyers, was that 32% of all road accidents that end in a fatality are caused by drunk or intoxicated drivers. This is 100% avoidable by not drinking before driving, calling a cab or Uber, or having a designated driver.
Aggressive driving is another leading cause of road accidents, which includes: speeding, inattentive driving, failing to follow traffic laws or yield, following at unsafe distances (tailgating), and driving without a seatbelt on. The best way to avoid an aggressive driver is to try and keep your distance. Change lanes when it’s safe to do so, remain calm and do not interact with the driver through hand signals. If you truly feel endangered and cannot get out of the situation, call 911.
Inclement weather, this includes, rain, heavy rain, snow, fog, ice, and high winds. It’s especially important to obey traffic laws when running into inclement weather. Speed and distractions are the #1 cause of accidents during inclement weather. Paying 100% attention to the road and the changing conditions should be your only focus. This alone will help eliminate road accidents during inclement weather.
In addition to these tips, here are some other effective ways of avoiding the most common road accidents:
Take it Slow in the Acceleration
Don't floor it or do anything crazy, just ease into the bad road conditions, and keep your speed low, advises Tommy Pederson, CEO of Vekhayn. The faster you go, the harder it is to react to sudden changes like hitting a patch of black ice. Furthermore, the faster you go means less time for any gunk in your tire tread to get out, which can turn your tires into hockey pucks even faster.
Keep your speed slow, don't move the steering wheel in any fast or erratic motions, and slowly ease into your acceleration if you have to speed up. This will save you from the most common accidents in bad road conditions.
Wear a Seatbelt
Seatbelts are there for a reason, reminds Sherry Morgan, Founder at Petsolino. Oftentimes we find it uncomfortable to put on our seatbelts but never forget its main purpose is to protect you during collisions.
Get Off Your Phone
Did you know: Texting while driving is almost eight times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving, says Lance Wilkins, Founder of Call Outdoors.
Consider buying a phone cradle whilst driving to avoid having it on your lap or next to you. If you do not have a Bluetooth kit, drive with a set of earphones connected to your phone (preferably wireless) so that you can remain hands-free. Also, consider driving with your phone on airplane mode to avoid receiving texts or calls whilst driving if you are having trouble breaking the habit.
Buy a Dash Cam
Christopher Lee, Writer at Eyewitness Dash Cams suggests being proactive and buying a dash cam that has lane assist and forward collision avoidance features is a great way of upgrading the safety features of an older car. A dash cam can not only help prevent accidents, they also help you after an accident. Being able to review footage and submit evidence to truck insurance companies or law enforcement can relieve post-accident stress.
Watch Your Blind Spots
The most common places where tractor-trailer and car accidents occur are: (a) Off to the side just in front of the cab; (b) Just behind the side mirrors; (c) Directly behind the car or truck. Maintain caution before turning or changing lanes, recommends John Torgenson, Car Accident Lawyer at Torgenson Law.
Avoid Driving When Tired
Frederick W. Penney Esq., Managing Attorney at Penney and Associates, notes that it is safer to drive with someone and be careful when taking turns sleeping as there is nobody to wake up the driver if they start to fall asleep.
Beware of Intersections
Many accidents occur at intersections, often because people run red lights and stop signs. Keep your eyes peeled when passing through and intersection to make sure everyone is following the rules, warns Chris Emery, Editor of Ordealist.com. Don't assume that other drivers are going to stop just because the light is red.
Watch for Red Light Runners
When you’re at a traffic light and it’s your turn to go, make sure you wait a moment before pulling into the street, says Savannah Bilbo, Consultant for Superior Honda. Many red light runners have no intention of stopping and you can see that from miles away. Taking a second to make sure everyone in opposing traffic has stopped can prevent a car accident.