Fender benders might be part of life, but a bad car crash can leave more than your fender bent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans spend more than 1 million days in the hospital each year due to crash injuries. You can keep yourself and your passengers safe by practicing good driving habits.
You’ve got places to go and calls to make, but hopefully not at the same time. According to the National Safety Council, 27 percent of crashes involve a driver texting or talking on a handheld or hands-free cellphone. If you want to avoid a wreck – and possibly bodily injury – the easiest way to do it is to put the phone away.
Ease into the green
Any mediocre driver knows to stop at a red light. Good drivers know to wait a moment or two before hitting the guess when the light turns green. That’s the best way to avoid stragglers racing to beat the yellow light (often unsuccessfully). Sure, the crash won’t be your fault, but getting T-boned is a good way to ruin your day.
Don’t designate a driver
. . . designate two! Sure, one driver is great, but once the drinks are flowing and the night grows late, your designated driver could be feeling a little bored with sobriety. By designating two drivers, however, you’ll have a pair of friends who can enjoy the evening together – sans margaritas.
Skip a meal
Well, not for long. If your meals tend to be “grab and go,” it might be time to savor your food. Distracted driving is the No. 1 cause of driver error-related car accidents. If you’ve ever eaten a Big Mac while on the freeway, you know a thing or two about distraction. To keep yourself safe, eat once you arrive safely at your destination – your waistline might even thank you.
Get in the middle
Everyone likes life in the fast lane, but when you’re on the freeway, camping out in the left lane can actually put you at greater risk. When a problem arises – like an object in the roadway – you only have one option: swerve to the right. But if you’re in the middle or right lanes, you’ll have an easy escape route to the shoulder or an exit.
Never go blind
You wouldn’t drive with a blindfold on, so ignoring blind spots – the areas you can’t see with your mirrors – is not only unwise, it’s dangerous. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, collision avoidance systems, like blind spot sensors, are dramatically preventing car crashes in the United States. Blind spot sensors are particularly effective in lane-change crashes.
Practice car love
If you love your car, show it. Follow your manufacturer’s recommended maintenance to keep your car performing optimally. Get in the habit of checking your tires and brakes frequently for wear, as worn brakes and bald tires increase your risk of getting in a crash. You won’t be happy you put off new tires when you find yourself slip and sliding on wintry roads.
Avoid the night hours
Your mother was right; nothing good happens at night – at least as far as driving is concerned. Driving takes concentration and energy, both of which may be depleted in the late-night hours. In addition, driving late at night increases the odds that you’ll be on the road with drivers who are drowsy or intoxicated.
Take the high road
Road rage is real. And it causes accidents. If you encounter an aggressive driver who’s speeding or cutting others off, ignore, ignore, ignore. Playing games will only make an aggressive driver angry – and more aggressive. Slow down or move over to let them pass. The more distance between you, the better.
Accidents can happen and victims need an attorney they can trust. The attorneys at Ed Bernstein & Associates have more than 40 years experience in personal injury law and understand its finer nuances. Visit edbernstein.com or call 702-240-0000 to find out how to get started on the road to recovery.