The idea of getting into a car accident is disturbing. Fortunately, you can avoid most accidents by taking a few simple precautions. Sometimes these precautions help you avoid accidents completely. At other times, they help minimize property damage and physical injury.
More Accidents In 2015
According to a recent article in Newsweek that quoted statistics from the National Safety Council (NSC), the rate of car accidents has gone up: “The United States is on track to have its deadliest traffic year since 2007, the National Safety Council says, with nearly 19,000 people killed as a result of motor vehicle accidents between January and June—a 14 percent increase over the same period last year. The number of injuries and the costs associated with traffic accidents also rose significantly…. In a similar upward trend, the estimated costs of these crashes—including medical expenses, wage and productivity losses and property damage—increased 24 percent, to roughly $152 billion.”
7 General Safety Tips
Observing some general driving tips can go a long way in preventing an accident. General safety tips include sticking to the speed limits, using seatbelts, adjusting the head rest, cleaning the windshield, holding the steering wheel properly, avoiding driving under the influence, and not texting while driving.
Let’s take a closer look at these 7 ways to stay safe on the road:
1. Stick to the speed limits.
It may be tempting to go fast if you have a powerful car engine. Slow drivers irritate you. Or you may see no reason to crawl when you have an open road in front of you. But one of the main causes of fatalities is excessive speed.
2. Use your seatbelts.
Although it is illegal in many state not to buckle up, many people still don’t do it. They find buckling up uncomfortable and avoid it unless they are on a street with traffic police. This completely defeats the purpose of a seatbelt. After an impact, your seat belt stops you from incurring serious head injury. It prevents you from smashing your head against the steering wheel. It can even stop you from flying through the front window.
3. Adjust the head rest of your seat to the proper height.
It is not meant to support your neck, but your head. If another car rear ends your car while you’re waiting at a stop light, it will minimize whiplash.
4. Clean your windshields.
During summer months, it’s difficult to see ahead when dirt reflects off your windshield. Visibility is particularly difficult at sunrise or sunset. During winter months, a frosty windshield makes it almost impossible to see ahead.
5. Hold the steering wheel in the proper way.
Experts recommend holding it at 3, 4, 8, or 9 o’clock. These positions stop your hands from flying into your face after a collision releases the airbags.
6. Avoid driving under the influence.
Besides the risk of killing yourself or someone else, you face the risk of getting a DUI. Each state has its own penalties for a first offense.
Penalties may include
· Your car could be impounded.
· You could be fined for thousands of dollars.
· You may have to get an ignition lock that prevents you from starting the car if the monitoring device detects alcohol.
· You could face probation.
· You could go to jail.
· You could have your driving license revoked.
· You may have to do community service.
· You may have to complete a substance abuse class and pay for it out of your own pocket.
If you get stopped for driving under the influence, you will have to go to a traffic court near you. This could be a city or county courtroom. If you live in Las Vegas, for instance, you will have to go to the Las Vegas traffic court.
7. Don’t text while driving
The FCC has compiled some frightening statistics about texting and driving: “Forty percent of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger, according to a Pew survey. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. Eleven percent of drivers aged 18 to 20 who were involved in an automobile accident and survived admitted they were sending or receiving texts when they crashed.”
It’s Worth the Small Effort
Most of these rules are reminders. The reason people often don’t pay attention to them is because they are in a hurry to get somewhere. Sometimes, time is not an issue and they simply don’t realize the importance of these guidelines. But it only takes a small effort to drive safe. The reward is more than worth it: you avoid risk of injury and even death.