Safety Tips for Avoiding Car Accindets
Getting behind the wheel of a car any time soon? You’ll want to keep some basic tips in mind for staying safe.
General Driving Tips
To avoid becoming Virginia’s next traffic fatality, the Highway Safety Challenge website provides the following safe driving tips:
- Buckle up
- Avoid distractions
- Share the road
- Drive drug & alcohol free
- Obey speed limits
The National Safety Council (NSC) also offers a list of 7 Pre-Start Safety Guidelines that every driver should follow before getting on the road:
- Buckle seatbelts and make sure they’re properly fastened
- Adjust mirrors
- Position seat and head restraints
- Secure loose objects
- Turn off cell phones
- Look for engine warning lights
- Check your fuel level
It’s the simplest advice, but the best – wear your seatbelt. The good news is that 79% of Virginians already buckle up in the car – however this means that 21% do not. According to Virginia’s Highway Safety Challenge, not wearing a seatbelt contributes to more fatalities than any other driver behavior. In fact, 62% of Virginia automobile drivers and passengers killed in an accident were not wearing their seatbelt.
We can’t emphasize this point enough – wear your seatbelt – the life you save might just be your own. In addition, please take the time to make sure that all the passengers in your car are all strapped in to age-appropriate restraints.
Drinking and Driving – Just Say No
Drinking and driving don’t mix – it’s a message we’ve all heard, but it bears repeating. The holiday season makes this message even more important. 40% of crashes between Christmas and New Years Eve involve an impaired driver (BAC equal to or greater than 0.08) compared to 28% during the rest of December. Don’t use the holidays – or any celebration – as an excuse to get behind the wheel after having a drink. And please – don’t let your friends and family drive while intoxicated either – keeping a tipsy loved one off the road could save their life, or the life of an innocent stranger.
Use Extra Caution Driving at Night
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), death rates are three times greater during nighttime driving than during daytime driving. When you drive at night, your vision is limited and your depth perception, color perception, and peripheral vision are compromised. Not surprisingly, alcohol is a major contributor to nighttime accidents. Older drivers are also more susceptible to accidents at night, as are tired drivers and young drivers who don’t always have the knowledge and experience to make good driving decisions.
To reduce accidents at night, the NSC offers the following tips:
- Prepare your car for night driving. Clean headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows (inside and out) once a week, more often if necessary.
- Have your headlights properly aimed. Misaimed headlights blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see the road.
- Don’t drink and drive. Not only does alcohol severely impair your driving ability, it also acts as a depressant. Just one drink can induce fatigue.
- Avoid smoking when you drive. Smoke’s nicotine and carbon monoxide hamper night vision.
- If there is any doubt, turn your headlights on. Lights will not help you see better in early twilight, but they’ll make it easier for other drivers to see you. Being seen is as important as seeing.
- Reduce your speed and increase your following distances. It is more difficult to judge other vehicle’s speeds and distances at night.
- Don’t overdrive your headlights. You should be able to stop inside the illuminated area. If you’re not, you are creating a blind crash area in front of your vehicle.
- When following another vehicle, keep your headlights on low beams so you don’t blind the driver ahead of you.
- If an oncoming vehicle doesn’t lower beams from high to low, avoid glare by watching the right edge of the road and using it as a steering guide.
- Make frequent stops for light snacks and exercise. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
- If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible. Warn approaching traffic at once by setting up reflecting triangles near your vehicle and 300 feet behind it. Turn on flashers and the dome light. Stay off the roadway and get passengers away from the area.
Virginia Car Accident Lawyer
Richard J. Serpe is concerned about your safety on the road and wants you to stay safe when you get behind the wheel. However, sometimes the worst happens even to those with the best intentions. If you or somebody you love has been involved in a serious car accident, please contact the Serpe Firm immediately. The Serpe firm is a Virginia based practice serving Norfolk, Tidewater, Virginia Beach, and Richmond areas. He can help you recover from the devastating effects of an automobile crash and get you the compensation you deserve.