Thanks to overcrowded parking lots, narrow city streets, and record-breaking distracted drivers, road accidents are an unfortunate risk for all drivers. If you haven’t already been involved in an automobile-related scrape or two, chances are high you’ll experience one at some point in your life. However, some strategies might help you avoid accidents caused by common worse-case scenarios.
Here are some steps you can take to lower your risk of being involved in four different types of car accidents.
1. Accidents Caused by Car Malfunction
Cars nowadays go through rigorous testing at every stage of development and manufacturing to ensure their safety. However, mistakes can still be made, occasionally leading to malfunctioning car systems or parts. In fact, there were close to eight hundred different automobile recalls in 2020 alone, involving tens of thousands of vehicles.
To lower the risk of having an accident caused by auto defects, make sure to check the National Highway Safety Administration’s registry frequently to see whether your car is under recall. You can also mitigate the risk of malfunction-caused accidents by bringing your car in for regular inspections, increasing the chances that any potential problems will be spotted before they cause trouble.
2. Accidents Caused by You
Distracted driving, including driving while texting, eating, or talking on the phone, is by far the leading cause of driver-involved car accidents.
According to the CDC, over424,400 people were injured in car accidents caused by distracted driving in 2019 alone. Many people list thinking about work or trying to keep up with work calls and emails as being the main reason for their cell phone use while driving. However, there is no excuse for causing an accident for these reasons; you must do everything you can to avoid a concentration lapse and rear-ending another vehicle.
Decreasing your risk of causing an accident while driving starts with keeping your hands off your cell phone any time you’re behind the wheel of a car. Make sure to give the road your full attention, and ask any passengers in the car with you to keep quiet if road or traffic conditions are dangerous.
Try to resolve any outstanding work issues before you get behind the wheel to ensure you’ll be focused on the task at hand rather than on a meeting you need to prepare for or an email you forgot to send.
3. Accidents Caused by Another Driver
Of course, even if you turn your cell phone off, there’s no guarantee another driver won’t be distracted by theirs and hit your car. With your own eyes on the road, you won’t necessarily see that another driver is distracted or doesn’t have proper control over their vehicle until it’s too late. Car crashes can happen very fast, especially on the highway, so there’s often very little time to react to a potential problem.
One of the best ways to keep yourself alert and aware of potential hazards around you is to learn about defensive driving practices, which involves thinking ahead and avoiding possible dangers before accidents even occur.
Check your state’s DMV website for a list of government-approved training courses that teach drivers how to reduce the risk of accidents caused by other drivers around them.
4. Accidents Caused by the Weather
Driving and hazardous weather conditions just don’t mix well, especially at night or in times of reduced visibility. If you’re ever nervous about driving in the rain or snow, it’s best to listen to your instincts and stay out of your car. We would avoid many weather-related car accidents if more drivers made an honest assessment of their abilities and comfort level before getting behind the wheel during a storm.
Accidents Happen, But You Can Help Prevent Them
With car crashes continuing to be a leading cause of injury and death year after year, all drivers need to do everything they can to stay alert and avoid potential hazards while driving.
You may not be able to escape a minor fender-bender here and there, but if you implement these four strategies for avoiding different types of accidents, you’ll be less likely to cause or suffer a more serious wreck.