Many car accidents occur due to a driver’s own negligence. Common examples include drivers who speed, drive while intoxicated, and drive while distracted. Drivers may also cause accidents because they violate local traffic laws. All drivers need to anticipate that other drivers may cause accidents for these very same reasons. While you can’t control how other drivers operate their vehicles, you can take defensive steps to reduce the risk of one of these negligent drivers hitting your car.
- Drivers should focus on all aspects of their driving. This includes having your eyes on the road, both hands on the steering wheel, and your mind on the traffic all around you. You should know your speed, be aware of traffic signs and signals, and use your side and rear-view mirrors. Drivers, especially teenage drivers, need to avoid distractions. This means don’t use your smartphone while driving, and don’t eat or drink while driving.
- Understand common risks. It’s generally wise to stay away from trucks. Give motorcycle riders the space they need to operate. Steer clear of anyone who is trying to help a vehicle on the side of the road. Let angry drivers pass you. Don’t get involved in confrontations.
- Be alert and aware of your fellow travelers. If you feel like you’re getting tired, pull off the road and rest. Either stop at a rest-stop to relax and refresh or stay over at a motel. Pay attention if drivers around you are going too fast. If they are, move into another lane, let them pass, or get off the roadway. Drivers should also be at the lookout for pedestrians and bicycle riders – especially at intersections.
- Think about your safety. This means checking the car regularly, including checking the tire pressure, to make sure your car can handle the trip. Wear your seatbelt. Inspect your car at least once a year.
- Don’t assume the other driver will make the right decision. Never assume that other drivers will do the right thing, like stopping fully at red lights or signaling before they try to merge. You can’t control them, but you can control how you react.
- Use the 3-4 second rule. Teens Health states that you should anticipate it will take you 3-4 seconds to fully stop when you hit your brakes. This means you need to leave enough distance between you and the car in front to stop in 3-4 seconds. If the weather is bad, budget for even more time to stop. Allow more time if the roads are bad such as near a construction area.
- Communicate with other drivers. Using your lights, your turn signals, and proper hand communications can help reduce the risk of a car accident.
- Keep to speed limits. It’s harder to make good decisions when you’re driving too fast. It’s also harder to control your car, especially in turns, when you’re going too fast. If you need to travel a little slower than the speed limit, that’s okay – just stay to the right, and use your four-way blinkers if necessary.
- Have an escape plan. You should try to position your car so that if an emergency occurs, you have an alternative route – such as shifting into another lane or to the shoulder of the road.
- Take a course. Your local AAA business or local DMV office may offer defensive driving courses or have defensive driving literature. Online courses may be available.
A car accident can happen in the blink of an eye. Rest assured that when a car crash does occur, the seasoned Memphis car accident lawyers at Bailey & Greer, PLLC, can help you get justice. We work aggressively to hold all responsible parties liable for the death of a loved one and for any type of injury. To speak with a strong advocate, call us at 901-475-7434 or fill out our contact form. We have offices in Memphis and Jackson, and serve all of West Tennessee.
As founder of Bailey & Greer, R. Sadler Bailey has battled his fair share of insurance giants and wrongdoers and has achieved numerous multimillion-dollar results for the victims of catastrophic injuries and their families. What’s more, he has been involved in more than 40 appellate court decisions affecting Tennessee personal injury law, including many landmark appearances before the Tennessee Supreme Court.
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