Any driver who has been in an accident knows the feeling of surveying the damage afterwards and wondering whether it could have been prevented. Although there are times when there’s nothing you can do to prevent an accident because you’re the victim of another driver’s negligence, most accidents are preventable. Keeping yourself from getting in an accident not only saves you from having to make an insurance claim, but also protects your health and the health of others on the road. Here are some strategies to keep yourself from getting in accidents.
Don’t Multitask: Many accidents occur because of divided attention. If you’re trying to do something else while you drive, less of your mental focus is on the road, other vehicles around you, and traffic signs and signals. Therefore, if at all possible, avoid multitasking while you’re behind the wheel. This includes obvious culprits like talking on the phone, texting, and putting on makeup, but also some less obvious behaviors. Eating while you drive, talking with people in the car, and even changing the radio station can all take your attention off the road.
Learn Defensive Driving Habits: Taking a short online or classroom defensive driving course equips you with the basic skills to learn how to recognize and avoid potential accidents. In some cases, you’ll even qualify for a discount on your auto insurance after successfully completing a course. Some of the most important skills include scanning the road ahead of you for potential hazards (which include hazardous drivers), always having an escape route in mind, and driving in the center lane to give yourself more options for escape.
Know Your Condition: Never drive drunk, and when in doubt of whether or not you’re drunk, play it safe. In addition, don’t drive when you’re tired. That deductible on your policy, and the subsequent premium increase, is much more expensive than a night in a hotel in the middle of a long road trip.
Maintain Your Vehicle: A vehicle in good condition is more able to respond quickly in a situation in which an auto accident needs to be prevented. Replace your tires when they’re getting worn, maintain your brake pads and braking system, and check your fluid levels to keep your systems in top conditions. These will help your car respond as you’d like it to when performing accident avoidance maneuvers.