It is not always possible to avoid the unexpected, but many car accidents can be prevented. Car accidents resulted in an estimated 43,000 deaths in 2020 with over 4.8 million people who sustained serious injuries or disabilities as a result of collisions.
While driving can be dangerous, drivers can take certain steps to help prevent collisions.
Communicate your intentions to other drivers - changing lanes abruptly without signaling, or slowing down abruptly before making a turn can increase the likelihood of a collision.
Here are a few things you can do to be more predictable to other drivers on the road:
Instead of stopping suddenly, slow gradually when approaching a stop sign, red light, or when preparing to turn.
Turn your signal light on before reaching your turn or lane change.
Check your signal lights to make sure they are working properly.
This check should include your headlights, brake lights, and turn signals in the front and back of the car.
Every day, reckless drivers cause fatal collisions that could have been avoided if they had taken a few basic safety measures. A few ways you can drive defensively include:
Wear your seatbelt
Have situational awareness
Do not tailgate
Be careful at intersections
Follow posted speed limits
Remember, you cannot control what other drivers do, so do not base your driving decisions on them. Instead, focus on what you can do.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that around 3,000 lives were claimed in 2020 due to distracted driving.
Distractions, like talking on the phone or eating, make a driver less able to see potential problems and properly react to them. Even hands-free devices can distract drivers and increase the chance of collisions. Anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the road is a form of distraction. All drivers need to remind themselves to stay focused.
You have a lot of things to think about when you're behind the wheel: road conditions, your speed and position, observing traffic laws, signs, signals, road markings, following directions, being aware of the cars around you, checking your mirrors — the list goes on. Staying focused on driving — and only driving — is critical to safe driving.
Many accidents are caused by vehicles following each other too closely. If you rear-end another vehicle, it is almost guaranteed that you will be found at fault. Maintain a safe distance and do not advance until it is safe to do so. Collisions frequently happen at yield signs and in merge lanes because of drivers' incorrect assumptions. Just because the car in front of you has started to move forward does not mean it will not suddenly stop. Use the 3-to-4 second rule to help you establish and maintain a safe following distance and provide adequate time for you to brake to a stop if necessary.