According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), human error is responsible for 93% of all car crashes. We can’t prevent other drivers from making dangerous mistakes. However, by avoiding them ourselves, we can be better prepared for the unexpected — like unsafe drivers.
The insurance company Esurance offers some simple tips that drivers can follow to help avoid being involved in a crash. These include the following:
Don’t exceed the speed limit. Speeding is the leading cause of fatal crashes. The faster you’re going, the harder it is to slow down or stop if you have to.
Don’t multi-task. Distracted driving doesn’t just include texting or talking on the phone. Eating, drinking, putting on makeup, changing the radio station or anything that takes your eyes off the road and/or hands off the wheel is distracted driving. A lot can happen around and in front of your car in a few seconds of distraction, and you may not have time to react to it once you notice.
Know what’s in your blind spots. Too many drivers rely on their mirrors and blind spot detection technology to tell them if someone is in their blind spot. However, to be safe, you need to look over your shoulder before changing lanes. New drivers are taught the handy pneumonic SMOG (signal, mirror, over your shoulder, go) to remember the steps to take every time. It’s also wise to avoid driving in other motorists’ blind spots.
Regularly scan your surroundings. Many people focus their eyes on what’s directly ahead of them. However, it’s wise to know what’s going on at least 10 seconds ahead so you can be prepared to stop or change lanes if you need to. Regularly check all your mirrors.
When you’re passing cross streets or you’re in a neighborhood with driveways, make sure you look to both sides. Even if you have the right-of-way at an intersection, you can’t be certain another driver will cede it to you or even sees you. Looking in every direction and ahead of you helps you be prepared for the unexpected, which most crashes are.
Of course, even if you do everything right, you may be injured in a crash caused by another driver. Make sure you seek the compensation you’ll need to cover medical bills, physical therapy, lost wages and other expenses and damages.