More than 32,000 people die every year in car accidents in the United States and 2 million are seriously injured. Although accidents will happen, there are certain precautions we can all take to be safer on the roads.
According to the Center for Disease Control's Vital Signs report, drivers and passengers can help to increase safety on the roads by:
- Using a seat belt on every trip, no matter how short
- Keeping children buckled up in a car seat, booster seat or seat belt, whatever is appropriate to their age, height and weight
- Obeying speed limits and other traffic signs
- Driving free from distractions, especially from phone calls, texting and cell phone apps
- Not driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Keeping your car in good condition
Equally important is to share the road with motorcycles and bicycles and watch for pedestrians.
Other keys to crash prevention include defensive driving techniques. In addition to avoiding distractions, buckling up and obeying traffic signals, drivers can:
- Scan the road - Avoid staring straight ahead, which can potentially lead to daydreaming or dozing off. Instead looks about 10 to 12 seconds ahead of your car, look to the sides, be aware of blind spots and never rely completely on your mirrors.
- Maintain a safe driving distance - Keep at least two seconds of time between your vehicle and the car in front of you. To do this pick a fixed point and make sure you pass it at least two counts after they do. If someone is tailgating you, try driving slower to encourage them to pass you. If that doesn't work, move into another lane when it is safe to do so.
- Allow for proper stopping distance - Give yourself space to perceive an obstacle, react and then time for actual braking. Typically this is about 25 feet at 20 mph, and four times that distance if you double your speed.
If you are in a car accident, get medical attention immediately for any injuries and protect your legal rights with help from an attorney.