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The thought of being involved in a collision is enough to make many drivers think twice about getting behind the wheel of a car. And some drivers are so scared about car crashes that they refuse to drive farther than a mile from their home.
This is no good.
Obviously, you need to know exactly what to do if you are in an accident, such as taking photos of damage, filing an insurance claim and calling an experienced injury lawyer. But preventing those accidents in the first place would be a whole lot better. So here are five of the best ways to prevent car accidents.
The first step to preventing an accident is to keep your car in good working condition. Keep all your windows and windshield clean for maximum visibility. Fix cracks in the windshield that could impair visibility. Keep your tires properly inflated. Replace bald or worn out tires. Repair brakes and mechanical systems when needed to prevent stalls or loss of braking power.
Safe driving begins with proper understanding of traffic laws, right-of-way and basic driving practices as taught in driver’s education classes. You might have taken such classes in high school, but if not—or if it’s been many years since then—it can be helpful to take a refresher course through a private company in your area or online.
When you’re out on the road, one of the safest things you can do is to increase your following distance. This will depend on your speed, so it is often recommended to measure following distance in terms of time rather than distance. Try to stay at least four seconds or more behind the car in front of you to allow plenty of time to react to sudden changes ahead. To figure out your following distance, pick a light post ahead, start counting when the car in front of you passes it and see how many seconds it takes until you reach the post.
It goes without saying, but you should always follow all posted speed limits and obey all traffic laws. When an accident occurs, it is often because someone didn’t follow the rules. So use your turn signals, come to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs, slow down in school zones and yield to oncoming traffic before turning across their lanes.
Patience is your best friend when trying to prevent accidents. If you are in a hurry, it will often reflect in your driving behavior, and that can create problems. You’ll be more likely to drive above the speed limit, make sudden lane changes and take unnecessary risks.
You should also be vigilant and not assume too much about what other drivers are going to do. Sometimes they’ll signal that they’re going to turn, but then they change their mind at the last second and continue driving straight. Things like this can cause accidents, so always stay alert to unexpected moves by the cars around you.
If you are a new driver or have had your license for years but rarely drive due to fear of getting in accidents, you don’t have to avoid driving at all costs. Just improve your skills and knowledge and spend more time on the road. Follow these five safe driving tips, and you’ll feel a lot more confident about driving your car without that constant fear of getting in an accident.