While American streets, interstates, and highways have become safer over the last few decades, they’re still quite deadly. As a responsible driver and a concerned citizen, you should do everything within your power to ensure you don’t end up on the wrong side of a statistic.
The Lowdown on Car Accidents
According to data curated by Driver Knowledge, there are 6 million car accidents in the United States each year. More than 90 people die every single day, while another 8,000-plus are injured. Roughly 6 percent of all auto accidents result in fatalities, while 27 percent involve non-fatal injuries. The majority of fatal accidents can be tied to one of three culprits: unauthorized substances, speeding, and/or reckless driving.
According to the Lichtenstein Law Group, the most accident-prone states are as follows: California, Minnesota, Utah, South Carolina, Washington, Nebraska, Maine, Virginia, Idaho, and North Dakota, respectively. But even outside of these states, millions of accidents occur annually. No matter where you live, safety must be a priority.
Preventing an Auto Accident
Whether you’re a new driver with a crisp license in your hand, or you’ve been driving for decades, there are certain steps you can take to lower your risk of being in an auto accident. Take a look:
Distractions are deadly. If you want to significantly lower your risk of being involved in a dangerous collision, you need to eliminate as many distractions as possible.
The number one distraction for most drivers is technology. More specifically, smartphones and texting are to blame for thousands of auto accidents every single year. But in addition to putting your phone away, you also need to avoid eating while driving, messing with your car’s knobs and dials, and reaching into the backseat to deal with kids.
Avoid the Fast Lane
Many people find speed limits to be a major nuisance, but they exist for a reason. In 2017, the NHTSA reports that speeding killed 9,717 people in the United States. This accounted for roughly 26 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Speeding simply isn’t worth it. Every time you exceed the limit, you’re putting your life in danger. Abide by the rules, avoid the fast lanes, and monitor your speed. It’s better to arrive a couple of minutes late than to not arrive at all.
Scan the Road
It’s really important to be aware of your surroundings out on the road (without being distracted by them). You can do this by constantly scanning the areas ahead of you.
Don’t just look at the car in front of you. You should also be watching the traffic that’s in front of that car. This will increase the amount of time you have to react to any sudden changes in speed and lessen your chances of rear-ending the car in front of you.
Be Aware of Blind Spots
Blind spots are especially dangerous when it comes to driving on multi-lane roads. While mirrors can be positioned to eliminate most blind spots, you should never trust your mirrors alone. Physically turning your head before making a lane change will give you the confidence to merge without any guesswork.
Perform Regular Maintenance
Proper car maintenance is important to keep your investment protected, but it can also help lower your risk of auto accidents. In particular, you need to focus on maintaining your brakes, buying new tires, topping off fluids, checking your engine’s main systems, and keeping lights in good working condition.
Utilize Advanced Car Features
While many of today’s newer vehicles have a plethora of distractions, they also come with built-in safety features that make it possible to avoid deadly accidents.
Read up on your vehicle and learn how to leverage key safety systems like forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and blind spot warning.
Adding it All Up
It’s not enough to expect that other drivers are looking out for your safety. To decrease your odds of being involved in an auto accident, you must make smart, proactive decisions.
Hopefully this article has armed you with some helpful tips to get you moving in the right direction.