The last thing any driver wants is to be involved in a car accident. Even the best drivers on the road can’t control the actions of others, which means the possibility of a car accident is always present. With that in mind, learning how to prevent a car accident and the steps to take if you are ever involved in one is important as a driver.
How Common Are Car Accidents?
While it may not be an enjoyable topic to think about, car accidents are incredibly common. In fact, around 13 car accidents occur every single minute according to the latest statistics. While each of these car accidents is not automatically fatal, they may result in serious injuries that take a large amount of time to resolve. Even minor injuries resulting from a car accident may require physical therapy or treatment to overcome, which can cost a person both time and money.
Who is Most at Risk of Injury in a Car Accident?
Generally speaking, women are more in danger of suffering an injury or dying in a car accident. In fact, a woman has a 72% higher chance of being injured in a car accident. The primary reason for this is due to the fact that the test dummies used to rate a car’s safety are not adequately designed to reflect a woman. Additionally, women sit further up towards the wheel in a vehicle which is not taken into account with the test dummy. These factors mean that a car’s safety rating is not as applicable for female passengers, so these individuals should be even more vigilant on the road.
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What Are the Common Causes of Car Accidents?
The first step towards learning how to prevent a car accident is identifying the common causes of accidents on the road. Most notably, the majority of car accidents are caused by:
- Drivers getting behind the wheel while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
- Distracted driving via checking a cellphone, passenger distractions, eating, and more
- Driving during poor weather conditions that you are inexperienced in
- Speeding or reckless driving where a person does not obey traffic laws
- Driving while drowsy or not fully aware mentally
While some of the above causes are avoidable by taking action yourself, such as never drinking and driving, there are additional causes that require the use of other tips to avoid an accident.
Avoiding a Car Accident 101: Tips to Follow
With cities such as Dallas having over 37,000 car accidents alone in a given year, it’s clear that an accident could happen at any time. To give yourself the best shot at avoiding such as event, use the following tips:
1. Scan the road at least twelve seconds ahead of you
All drivers should watch the road at least twelve seconds ahead of them at any given time. This will allow for adequate reaction time in the event of traffic or some type of road hazard that may cause a driver to need to make a quick decision.
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2. Leave enough following distance between cars
As a general rule of thumb, all drivers should leave at least three-to-four seconds of space between themselves and the cars in front of them. This will allow for the most reaction time if the driver in front of you makes a sudden move. You can test this by waiting for a driver to pass a landmark on the road, and then seeing how long it takes you to reach that same point.
3. Avoid driving in poor weather conditions
Poor weather such as heavy snowfall or rain can make for dangerous driving. If you have never driven in these conditions, it’s best to stay inside instead of getting out on the road unless absolutely necessary.
4. Be defensive on the road
All drivers need to be defensive on the road as opposed to offensive. This means not reacting emotionally if you see another driver acting dangerously, and simply giving them space so they don’t run into you.
5. Obey all traffic laws to the best of your ability
Finally, it should go without saying that one of the best ways to avoid a car accident is to ensure that you are following all traffic laws on the road. Even if you are in a rush to go somewhere, it is better to arrive late than to not arrive at all.
Steps to Take if You Are Involved in an Accident
As mentioned, avoiding a car accident is not always possible out on the road. To that end, learning what to do and how to respond in the event of an accident is the next best choice. Follow the below steps to resolve the matter as quickly as possible and to ensure no one is injured in the accident:
- First, you should assess yourself and your passengers for injuries following an accident to make sure no one is badly hurt. Afterwards, check on the other driver(s) involved in the crash.
- Assuming your vehicle is still operable, get it out of the road and onto the shoulder as soon as possible so that another accident isn’t caused by oncoming traffic.
- Take photos of any and all damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle so that you can prove matters in an insurance claim.
- Exchange contact information and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident.
- Even if no one is hurt, contact the authorities to inform them that an accident occurred. If there is debris in the road, they will likely need to send a unit out to clean it up.
The Bottom Line
Even the best drivers can find themselves involved in an accident at some point in their lives. No matter how many countermeasures you take to avoid an accident, one may still occur. Should an accident occur, regardless of who’s at fault, it’s important to know how to respond and what to do in the situation so that everybody stays safe.