No one wants to be involved in a car accident. You and your loved ones can be hurt during the collision, and the financial toll can be immeasurable. On top of huge medical bills and rising insurance premiums, car crashes can be traumatic and emotionally taxing.
While it’s impossible to predict a car accident, you can take precautions to help avoid one. With a few easy steps and reminders, you can avoid the toll that a car accident can have on your life.
- Don’t Text and Drive
Now that smartphones are an essential part of our lives, it’s easy to impulsively check your phone and respond to a text while you drive. Sadly, this is also why in 2018, 400,000 drivers were injured in crashes caused by distracted driving from texting.
Because of how prevalent smartphone use is in relation to car accidents, Virginia has passed a law, that went into effect in 2021, that bans the use of any handheld cellphones while driving.
Before you hit the road, make sure to turn off your phone so you won’t be distracted by the sound of a text or a phone call. If you absolutely must take a call or respond to a message, safely pull off to the side of the road and park your car. After you’ve finished your conversation, resume your trip without any distractions.
- Avoid Distractions
While texting and driving is a major distraction, there are plenty of other common ways an accident can be caused by not paying full attention to the road.
- Eating food
- Tending to your children
- Changing music
- Reading billboards
- Having a conversation with people in the car
These are just a few common distractions. While you can’t avoid all distractions while driving, you can still make good choices while you’re on the road. Choose your music before starting the car, set the navigation before you put the vehicle in drive, and pull over to talk with your children.
- Don’t Drive Under the Influence
Speaking of making good choices, you should never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. On top of being dangerous to yourself and the other drivers on the road, driving while drunk or high is also illegal. If you’re charged with driving under the influence (DUI), your life could be changed forever.
That’s why it’s important to make a plan before you go out if you are going to be drinking, even if it is just a glass of wine/beer or two. Make sure to have a designated driver, or at least plan to use a rideshare service. Also check up with anyone you go out with to make sure everyone makes it home safely.
- Avoid Speeding
In general, it’s important to follow the posted speed limit, as they inform you of the safest speed to travel the road. In Virginia, if your vehicle is going 20 miles above the posted speed limit, or if you are going over 85 mph, it is reckless driving.
By staying within the speed limit, you can more easily respond to anything happening on the road, from other vehicles stopping to making exits in a safe manner.
- Keep Your Distance
Try to avoid tailgating at all costs, especially on highways. If you follow too closely behind another car, you have less time to react to a car stopping in front of you. The rule of thumb is to always stay at least one car length behind the car in front of you for every 10 mph you drive.
- Keep Your Eye on Blind Spots
When driving, it’s important to properly set your rearview and side mirrors before hitting the road. These mirrors are vital in keeping up with the other vehicles on the road. By knowing where the other drivers are on the road, you can keep tabs on them when they drive into your blind spots.
- Drive With Your Hands in the Right Position
The best position for your hands on the steering wheel is at the 3 and 9 o’ clock positions. By driving with your hands on either side of the steering wheel, you can more easily respond to what’s happening on the road.
- Avoid Driving While Tired
Do not drive when you are tired. You are more likely to be involved in an accident if you are driving at night or when you’re drowsy. Even with your high beams, it can be difficult to see everything that’s on the road. If you’re tired, your decision-making abilities are compromised, making accidents more likely. If you are driving at night or while tired, try to pull off to the side of the road and rest before continuing your trip.
- Be Aware of Inclement Weather
Be it rain, sleet, or snow, weather conditions can change your car’s ability to respond to other drivers on the road. Your wheels can slip on slick roads, or your vehicle can hydroplane in deep water. Rather than going your normal speed, it’s best to slow down, turn on your headlights, and be cautious of the other drivers around you.
If the rain is torrential or the snow a blizzard, it’s always safest to stop on the side of the road and turn on your hazards. You can either wait out the storm or wait until the conditions become better for driving.
- Regularly Check Your Vehicle
One of the best ways to avoid accidents on the road is to have your car regularly inspected. This means checking under the hood, the quality of your tires, and changing your oil. By keeping up with these checks, you can prevent a mechanical failure with your vehicle while you’re driving.
Some Accidents are Unavoidable
Even if you do everything you’re supposed to do to drive safely, you can’t account for every other driver on the road. Unfortunately, sometimes another person’s poor decisions can lead to us being involved in an accident. This is why you should always concentrate on the road and be a defensive driver.
If you or a loved one is the victim of a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, then you need a reliable car accident attorney on your side. The experienced attorneys at Epperly and Follis understand Virginia’s traffic and vehicle laws. We will represent you in court and do everything in our power to return your life to normal.
Contact us for a free consultation with our car accident attorney to start building your case.