As winter settles in, it’s more important than ever to make sure you are driving with the utmost care. Icy roads and snowfall can make driving more risky and difficult. During any season, reckless driving can lead to serious legal consequences, injury, or even death to you or another driver. Luckily, you can decrease your risk of automobile accidents by being vigilant and taking precautions on the road. Here are our top five ways you can be a safer driver:
1. Eliminate Distractions
It is essential that you are not driving while distracted. Even looking away for a quick second to read a text message or get something from your purse can cause a serious accident. When you are driving, make sure you are giving the road your full attention. Turn off your phone and place it out of reach. Never text and drive. Do not eat, apply makeup, or any other tasks while behind the wheel. Your full attention can help prevent you from getting in an accident.
2. Abide by the Speed Limit
Posted speed limits are tailored to the conditions of the road. If you are driving above the speed limit, there’s a good chance your speed is unsafe for the road that you’re on and can put you or others in an unsafe situation. If you are driving too fast, it becomes more difficult to make a quick stop or to go around someone or something. It’s important to always maintain control of your vehicle, and the best way to do this is by keeping your speed down.
3. Maintain a Safe Following Distance
Rear-ending the vehicle in front of you can cause you legal and financial trouble and can severely harm you, your vehicle, or the other driver. You can help prevent this by always keeping a safe following distance to the car in front of you. When you allow enough space, you are able to stay in control if the vehicle in front of you makes a sudden stop. Ideally, you should be about 3-4 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you, depending on road conditions.
4. Stay Alert
The leading causes of auto accidents are driving while intoxicated and driving while drowsy. NEVER get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. Always call a car service or ask a friend for a ride home if you’ve been consuming alcohol. It is never worth jail, fines, and injury or loss of life to drive while intoxicated.
Also, make sure you are not driving while drowsy. If you find yourself getting tired while driving, stop to take a rest. Exhaustion can severely impact your focus and reaction time, creating a dangerous situation. If you are making a long trip, be sure to stop and rest frequently, and consider bring another person a lot to switch off the driving duties with.
5. Do Not Depend on Other Drivers
Remember: you are the one in control of your vehicle and your safety. Never assume other drivers on the road will get out of the way or stop for you. Always have room to stop, and do not allow yourself to get boxed in by other vehicles without an escape route. There is no way to know if other drivers are distracted or impaired.
If you were recently injured in an automobile accident and were not at fault, contact Attorney Christine M. Smith, R.N., M.S.N. to discuss your case. Give us a call at (603) 647-7200 for more information.