No one wants or expects to get into a car accident when they’re rushing to work or running errands. Unfortunately, millions of traffic collisions occur in the U.S. each year – meaning you will likely be involved in one at some point in your lifetime. 

If you find yourself the victim of an auto accident, you should call a car crash lawyer to discuss your legal options. However, the best way to avoid this scenario is to follow some defensive driving tips, as discussed below. 

1. Don’t Speed – and Slow Down When Necessary

Everyone knows you can get pulled over and receive a traffic citation if you’re caught exceeding the speed limit. However, even though speeding is against the law, people continue to engage in this risky behavior, endangering themselves and others sharing the road. 

When you speed, you have less time to react in the event of an unexpected situation or hazard. You’re also more likely to sustain severe or deadly injuries in a speeding accident. This form of aggressive driving has been a leading cause of motor vehicle fatalities for over two decades.

Additionally, you should slow down when certain conditions warrant it. For example, if roads are slick due to inclement weather, traffic is heavy, or visibility is low, you should reduce your speed – even if that means driving below the posted speed limit.

2. Keep Your Attention on the Road

It seems obvious that you should always focus on the road ahead when you’re behind the wheel. However, distracted driving continues to be a widespread issue. It has led to national campaigns and the enactment of state laws banning cell phone use while driving.

While many of these measures have counteracted the dangers of phone usage while driving, they don’t address other distractions that cause crashes. Driving while distracted can include anything that diverts your focus from the road, such as daydreaming, grooming, eating, or talking to passengers. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to be proactive and remain attentive when you’re behind the wheel. This defensive driving measure will keep you focused on the road ahead, allowing you to react to dangerous circumstances and avoid collisions.

3. Don’t Get Behind the Wheel If You’re Impaired or Tired

Everyone knows – or should know – that you should never drive if you’re impaired by alcohol or drugs. Even so, drunk driving is a prevalent problem, leading to the unnecessary deaths of around 37 people in the U.S. every day.

When you consume drugs or alcohol, it impairs your brain function, hand-eye coordination, judgment, and vision – all of which are needed to drive safely. However, drowsy driving can cause the same adverse effects. That’s why it’s crucial to pull your vehicle over or let someone else drive if you’re feeling sleepy.

4. Follow All Traffic Laws

This is another obvious tip, but again, it must be mentioned because too many people disregard traffic regulations. 

Some of the most common rules of the road that people ignore, leading to crashes, include: 

  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Failing to use turn signals 
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating (following a vehicle too closely) 
  • Disregarding traffic signals and signs
  • Making illegal turns

Additionally, you and your passengers should always wear your seat belt, and young children should sit in the proper car seat

5. Maintain Your Vehicle

Many states have enacted car inspection laws that require residents to have their vehicles inspected for safety. However, even if your jurisdiction doesn’t have such requirements, you should always ensure that your car is safe to drive. 

For example:

  • Take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic for regular maintenance services, such as oil changes and tire rotations
  • Ensure that you have fully functioning headlights, brake lights, and turn signals
  • Regularly check your tire pressure and tread
  • Replace old or worn windshield wipers 

Taking these precautions can prevent things like tire blowouts or rear-end collisions caused by a broken taillight.

Following These Tips Will Help You Avoid a Collision

These are just a few steps you should take to stay safe on the road. The best thing you can do is remain diligent and clear-headed. Doing so will allow you to avoid causing an accident and promptly react to unexpected dangers.