With international travel strictly limited this summer, Americans are taking to the roads! AAA estimates that over 700 million people will take trips via automobile in 2020.
With this number of people out and about in their cars, the probability of getting into an auto accident rises significantly. But by taking a few basic precautions, you can protect your car, your family, and yourself.
Here are some basic tips to help keep you safe from getting into a car accident.
1. Avoid Distractions
Distracted driving was responsible for close to three thousand deaths in 2018.
Talking on the phone is a big distraction. Even if you have a hands-free device, during an animated discussion, your attention may not be on the road in front of you. Why don’t you just pull over to the shoulder if the phone rings for an important conversation that requires your full attention?
Eating and drinking can also be dangerous distractions. If you spill hot coffee on your lap, or your sandwich slops onto your shirt, you make take your eyes away from where you are going and fail to see that oncoming vehicle.
Save your snacks for a break.
2. Don’t Drink and Drive
The most important advice for driving safety is to never drink alcohol before getting behind the wheel. You should also beware of any prescribed or even over-the-counter medications that might make you groggy.
Any time your perceptions are muddled by drugs or alcohol, your car becomes a dangerous weapon. Your reactions will be slower, your coordination is impaired, and your decision-making abilities are reduced.
The consequences may dramatically affect your own and others’ health, property, and lives. You may face criminal charges which could impact your life for years to come. Check out these tips from lawyers on how to avoid this awful situation.
3. Keep Your Car in Top Shape
There’s a reason why you need to get your car inspected regularly. If your auto does not comply with emissions and safety regulations, you put yourself and others in danger.
Even failing to fill up on gas regularly or getting quarterly oil changes can put you at risk. If your car breaks down on a busy highway or runs out of gas, you could have a bad accident while simply trying to get out of the way or fix the problem.
4. Plan Ahead
Everyone knows how stressful it is to get lost in an area you do not know. It’s easy to get flustered and panicked, which leads to distraction and thus accidents.
Plan ahead when you decide to take a long car trip. Figure out places to stay and where to gas up. Anticipate the need to eat and sleep, so you are not driving while you are exhausted.
5. Drive Defensively
Just like you learned in driver’s ed, defensive driving is the best protection against having a car accident. When you are behind the wheel, exercise extreme caution, and expect that others will drive carelessly.
Leave plenty of room between yourself and other cars. Yield if necessary. Stop at yellow lights instead of speeding up.
If you take a defensive driving course, you can even save money on your car insurance.
Avoiding an Auto Accident: There’s A Lot You Can Do
You cannot control the bad driving of others. However, you can take common-sense precautions to prevent getting into an auto accident.
By planning ahead, staying alert, and avoiding stressful or mood-altering situations, you can enjoy your car trip and stay safe.
For more tips on everything to do with cars, keep checking back.