Car accidents injure and kill hundreds of thousands of people every year in the United States. Many of these accidents are negligence-based and are entirely preventable. While an accident can happen at any time and for any reason, you can still reduce your chances of being in an accident by being a more defensive driver. Below, we have shared some helpful tips that you can follow to help keep yourself and your passengers safe in the car.
- Keep your eyes scanning the area ahead. Instead of just looking at the car directly in front of you, try to also take in more of the big picture. Look at what the car in front of that car is doing as well. This will increase your chances of identifying a potential problem early on while you still have plenty of time to react, and decreases your chances of rear-ending the car in front of you if they need to make a sudden stop.
- Avoid driving in the “fast lane”. Not only does driving in the fast lane make you more conspicuous to law enforcement, but this is also where most highway accidents occur. By driving in the center lanes on a multilane highway instead, you allow yourself more escape routes should a problem arise.
- Drive with your hands in the 9 and 3 o’clock position. Instead of just gripping the wheel with one hand, grip the wheel firmly from both sides. This position maximizes vehicle control, especially if you need to make a quick maneuver to avoid an accident.
- Be aware of blind spots. Don’t just rely on your side view mirrors when you need to make a lane change. It is extremely important to also look over your shoulder to ensure there isn’t a car in your blind spot before proceeding with your lane change. It is also important to consider the blind spots of other drivers and minimize the amount of time you spend driving in them.
- Judge a driver by his/her car’s condition. If the condition of a vehicle indicates an inattentive owner because of things like dirty windows or body damage, this could easily suggest an inattentive driver, too. If you notice a driver who is preoccupied on their phone or is drifting between lanes, try to steer away from that person.
- Know your car’s limits. Pay attention to how your vehicle reacts in certain situations. How much grip do your tires have? How long does it take your vehicle to stop when you apply maximum pressure to the brakes? Does your car lean a lot when you are rounding corners? When you are familiar with how your car works, you’ll be doing your part to stay safe behind the wheel.
- Drive extra defensively during late-night hours. While many people opt to drive at night to avoid traffic, night driving comes with its own set of risks. Drivers may be fatigued. Field of vision is decreased. Be extra careful between midnight and 2 A.M. when people leave bars, sports arenas, or parties. Beware of joyriding teens. And finally, watch out for drivers who drive down dark roads with burned out headlights or taillights.
- Keep your car maintained. Many accidents are caused by vehicle maintenance failures, so make sure to keep your car in good shape. This means sticking to your manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, changing your tires when necessary, and having your brakes checked periodically.
Koenigsberg & Associates Law Offices has decades of experience handling car accident cases in Brooklyn and throughout New York City. If you or someone you know has been injured in a preventable accident, you may be eligible to pursue compensation. Contact our firm to learn more about your legal options during a free case evaluation: (718) 690-3132.