If you are involved in a car accident in Orange County, California law will protect you with the help of a car accident lawyer. However, the surest way to protect yourself on the road is to learn how to avoid car accidents.
Here are some of the steps you have to take to make sure your time on the road is safe and pleasant for you, other drivers, and your passengers.
Stick to the Right
Your driving can be safer if you drive on the right lane of the highway. Statistics show that most road accidents happen at a highway’s left lane. This is probably because the left lane offers fewer exit options than the right lane. Also, drivers on the left lane tend to drive at higher speeds. This means drivers on the left lane have a very short time to respond to an impending crash.
Driving is an activity that requires total concentration and alertness. You may be tempted to take driving on the road for granted because you do it daily. You may even be using the same route every day. This habit creates a false sense of safety and laxity.
Even when driving on a road with the best conditions, your best reaction time will be about 1.5 seconds. Also, the average car will take a minimum of 2.3 seconds to come to a complete stop. For example, if you are driving at a speed of 65 miles per hour and something unexpected occurs in front of your car, you will move about 40 meters before you can start to engage the brakes. Also, the reaction time increases if you’re not alert.
Recognize Blind Spots
Your car’s blind spot is a place on the road that you can’t see because your mirror system can’t reach it. You need to identify and understand your car’s blind spots. Many road accidents happen because drivers made turns or switched lanes without seeing a nearby vehicle.
Position your mirrors correctly so as to have an uninterrupted vision of all the sides of your vehicle. Nevertheless, mirrors alone can’t provide a complete view of the road around you. You have to physically look around you to see all objects clearly. While you are behind the wheel, you must try and avoid bikers’ blind spots.
Additionally, you should know other cars’ blind spots. Avoid them and be prepared for any dangerous action from the other drivers.
Position Your Hands Correctly
Driving with only one hand on the steering wheel is common but dangerous. The danger with this position is that one hand doesn’t give the driver enough power to manage the vehicle properly. If something unexpected happens, you may not be able to control your car and move it to safety.
You can avoid this situation by placing your hands on the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock locations on the wheel. This move will increase your capacity to control your car and move it away from objects. Rather than holding the wheel in a lazy manner with a single hand or both hands at the lower part of the wheel, you should maintain the 9 and 3 positions to enable maximum control.
Maintain the Right Sitting Distance
Some drivers tend to sit either too near the steering wheel or too far. Each of these sitting positions has its disadvantages. If you sit too far away from the steering wheel, your hands will get tired quickly and loosen their grip. Also, your feet may not step on the brake pedal with enough force.
On the other hand, if you sit too near the steering wheel, your grip will be inefficient and ineffective. You may also step on the accelerator accidentally, leading to a collision with other objects on the road.
The recommended sitting position is to be seated with your back on the seat and your wrists pressed against the wheel.
Know There Are Vehicles Around You
You can be involved in an accident even if you are observing all road safety rules. This happens when other road users are not using the road correctly. As a driver, you must be aware of how the other drivers around you are behaving. Sudden lane shifts, weaving, and swerving are indications that a driver is not following road safety precautions. If you notice a driver doing any or all of these activities, you should slow down and maintain a cautious distance.
Don’t Drink and Drive
You probably have heard this warning many times before, but some drivers still drink and drive. A substantial percentage of car accidents are occasioned by drivers who are not sober.
Driving under the influence of alcohol can reduce your attention span and double your response time. You can even doze off while driving. Therefore, avoid getting behind the wheel if you are not sober.
Be More Alert at Night
You may prefer traveling at night because you want to avoid traffic, but this will expose you to new challenges. You might be tired or drowsy after a long day at work.
Statistics show that fewer car accidents happen during the day than at night. The low visibility at night makes it harder for drivers to see objects. Your eyes can become more tired in the darkness, particularly if the oncoming vehicles have bright headlights. Also, there are likely to be more drunk drivers on the road at night than during the day.
All of this increases the chances of an accident happening at night. If you can’t avoid traveling at night, make sure that you are careful and keep a safe distance between your car and other vehicles.
Avoid the Fast Lane
Driving on the road is not a race; you’re just trying to reach your destination alive. Avoiding the fast lane of the highway, where the majority of the accidents occur, is a smart move. If you’re driving along the middle lanes, you have access to several exit options when something unexpected occurs.
Always Be Alert
As a cautious driver, you should always drive carefully and be on the lookout for potential hazards. If another vehicle is carelessly changing lanes or you see a vehicle that is approaching too quickly, be ready to hit the brakes, or move to safety. Your first act is to create some distance between your car and the careless road user.
Study a Car’s Condition
You can determine a driver’s cautiousness by the condition of their car. Inattentive drivers usually have cars with dirty windows or damaged windscreens.
Understand Your Vehicle
Every vehicle has limitations, and so you must determine what your car can do. You may lean when you are negotiating corners, or your car may have difficulties going uphill. Also, know how your car’s tires and brakes behave in certain situations. If you do, you will know the right way to respond to a hazardous occurrence.
Maintain Your Car in an Optimum Condition
Each car comes with a user manual that outlines the car’s maintenance schedule. These guidelines explain how to drive and park your car. Therefore, you should use these recommendations to steer, accelerate, and stop your car. The guidelines will also state when tires are supposed to be changed.
Appreciate Other Road Users
You are not the only person using the road, so ensure that you show respect to other drivers and pedestrians. If there’s a driver moving at a speed that is too low, this shouldn’t be an excuse to reduce your following distance. Maintain a cautious distance, or overtake the vehicle when it is safe to do so.
Whether you are driving a short distance or across the country, keep away from all distractions when you’re behind the wheel. In Orange County, it is illegal to use your phone while driving. If the passengers in your car, especially your children, are fighting or screaming, pull over, and solve the problem. Distracted driving is a leading cause of road accidents.
Scan the Area
Keeping your eyes on the vehicle in front of you is important, but you should also scan the area around the road. A person driving on a different lane could switch to your lane in an instant. When you reach an intersection, glance both ways to make sure another car isn’t ignoring the red light. Your driving may be excellent, but the same can’t be said of other road users.
Don’t Drive While Drowsy
A fatigued driver can make mistakes easily. If you haven’t had sufficient rest, don’t get behind the wheel.
Change Lanes Carefully
Cutting in front of other cars, shifting lanes recklessly, and ignoring turn signals are some of the things that can cause road accidents. Adhere to the lane-changing guidelines.
Don’t Drive With Rage
Drivers who drive while angry are likely to be more aggressive and reckless than other road users. These drivers will pick arguments with other motorists and increase the chances of a car accident occurring. Don’t get behind the wheel if you think you are in a foul mood.
Observe Speed Limits and Use Safety Belts
Different roads have different speed limits. You will not reach your destination too early if you drive above the speed limit. For example, if your destination is 50 miles away, doubling the speed from 60 miles per hour to 120 miles per hour will gain you about 10 minutes. Can you risk your life for just 10 minutes?
Car manufacturers design seat belts that will offer maximum safety. Seat belts save thousands of lives each year. Airbags can’t replace seat belts, but they offer increased safety.
If you forget to buckle up, your airbag becomes useless and may even be hazardous. So, cultivate the habit of wearing your seat belt, and make sure all the other car occupants have done the same.
Understand Road Conditions
Each road has its unique conditions. Tire traction dramatically reduces when you are driving on a dusty or wet road. Therefore, you should slow down to reduce the risk of sliding. If you are a frequent user of snow-covered roads, purchase snow tires to use during the winter.
Many intersections are also blackspots. If you see a traffic light changing to green, pause before stepping on the gas pedal. Waiting briefly helps you avoid colliding with a vehicle running the red light.
Keep Your Car in a Pristine Condition
You should keep your vehicle in an optimum condition to avoid road accidents. Think of the grave situation that would develop if your brakes stopped working while you were behind the wheel. You can avoid mechanical failures by having your car serviced by a qualified car specialist.
Alternatively, you can handle some of the maintenance tasks yourself. Whichever way you choose to service your car, make sure that the vehicle gets timely repairs and inspections.
Beware of Animal Crossings
You may have heard stories of a deer being hit by a car. Hitting an animal while driving is a grave situation that can be avoided. Thus, you should be careful when approaching an animal crossing sign. Use your headlights when driving in forested areas where animals are likely to be found.
Beware of Construction Sites
Some construction zones are designed in a way that can be confusing. Identify the cones and follow them closely. Be wary of other motorists who might not be aware of the cones or the construction zone. It’s important to slow down when driving along a construction zone to avoid making mistakes.
In Case of Rain
A heavy downpour can lead to treacherous and slippery road conditions. You cannot avoid driving your car in the rain, but you can take steps to make your travel safer. If your vision of the road is poor, you can pull over and let the storm pass before proceeding.
Avoid Running Red Lights
It may look obvious, but some drivers still ignore red lights. A red traffic light means you halt and wait. This is the applicable rule even when there is no other car on the road apart from yours. In short, there is no excuse that can justify running a red light.
Driving on the road should be an enjoyable and safe activity. By using these tips, you can drive defensively and avoid car accidents. Contact us for more information.