The fact of the matter is, they can happen at any time, and any place, for any reason. The best you can do is to be acutely aware of your situation as it unfolds, and hopefully have the time to react and mitigate the damage.
The good news is that many “good driving habits” are also the same tips that will help you to either lessen the damage caused by accidents, or avoid the accident altogether.
Here are some tips to keep in mind EVERY time you buckle up to hit the road:
It’s the most obvious tip, but one that’s often ignored (it’s also the law!). While it won’t prevent you from getting into an accident, it’s your first line of defense to protect your body in the event of an accident.
Keep Your Distance!
The easiest way to avoid an accident is to allow yourself enough time to react when things go awry. This happens often in rear-end collisions where drivers are following the car in front of them too closely and don’t have time to stop to avoid hitting the car in front of them. You can also apply this precaution in many other instances, not just rear-end collisions. Allowing yourself time to react is always going to improve your chances of avoiding more serious problems.
Yes, it’s likely one of the first “rules of the road” you hear, but it’s one worth repeating, because it’s the root cause of so many accidents. Distracted driving is a problem, and one that isn’t going away. Do your part and make sure your focus stays on the vehicle you’re driving and the road ahead. (That means put your phone down!)
The more obvious thing to prepare for every time you leave your home is the weather you’ll be driving in. If it’s raining or snowing, be mindful that your stopping time will be far greater than normal with less than ideal road conditions. So be prepared to stop, and be prepared for a longer commute than normal to ensure everyone’s safety. The last thing you’ll want is to be rushing when the roads are at their worst!
Keep Your Vehicle Maintained!
Making sure your vehicle is road-ready should always be top of mind. There are a handful of daily checks to monitor (tire pressure, windshield washer fluid, gas level) to keep hazards at bay. In addition, being sure your vehicle is up to date on scheduled maintenance can also be the difference between accident and avoidance. That means oil changes, brake inspections, tire inspections, and various fluid checks, to name a few.
Sometimes, accidents are impossible to avoid. But oftentimes, the accident could be less damaging if drivers were to exercise a tad bit more caution. And it’s not just your vehicle’s damage you should be concerned with, but also the safety and well being of yourself and any passengers you might have.
The moral of the story? Be careful, be cautious and kick it into Safe Mode On The Road.