In Florida alone, there are greater than 400,000 car accidents a year; more than half of these result in injury, and sadly, there are over 3000 deaths annually. At the LaBovick Law Group, we take your rights, and your safety, very seriously. Whenever you head out on our beautiful highways and byways, please exercise every caution to avoid a vehicle accident. Here are some safe driving tips to keep in mind.
Vehicle Accident Prevention: 10 Ways to Stay Safe on the Road
- Don’t Drive Distracted
Driver error is far and away the biggest cause of car accidents. Distracted driving is dangerous; in fact, 25% of all crashes involve cell phone use. We think we can multitask, but in reality our brains can only focus on one task at a time. When you blink away from the road to read or answer a text or take a call, that’s all the time it takes to cause an accident.
Do not let distractions put you – and others on the road – in danger. Put the phone away and avoid any other devices or factors that divide your attention.
- Never Drive While Intoxicated or Under the Influence of Drugs
There are over 5000 alcohol-involved car crashes in Florida, resulting in over 350 deaths each year. It is the top cause of fatal accidents in the state. Drinking or drug use impairs judgement, decision-making, response time, vision, etc.. Even if you are “just tipsy” or “buzzed,” these functions are impaired.
Call a friend, call Uber, call a cab, say no to another drink, walk… do whatever you have to do so you do not climb behind the wheel intoxicated or under the influence.
- Don’t Drive When You’re Tired
A yawn here and there on your morning commute is relatively normal! But if you feel sleepy or fatigued, do not drive. The effects on the body and mind are similar to those caused by alcohol. Driving while tired can be just as dangerous, and deadly. If you can delay a trip until you’re rested, do so. If you need to stop and take a rest in a safe area, do that. Do not put yourself and others at risk.
- Follow the Speed Limit
The speed limit is posted for a reason! They help you maintain control of your vehicle and increase safety for pedestrians and other drivers. Speeding is hazardous, especially for new drivers (which account for the majority of speed-related accidents).
Speed limits are calculated based on ideal road conditions. So if it’s raining, storming, foggy, etc., it may be too fast. You can be cited for driving too fast for conditions. Slow down. It may sound cliche but it really is better to be a few minutes late than killed or injured in a vehicle accident.
- Do Not Tailgate
Not only is this an irritating habit, it puts you (and the person you’re tailgating) at risk. What if the other driver has to stop suddenly? You need to allow a safe following distance so you can react and respond appropriately.
- Buckle Up
It only takes a second, but buckling your seatbelt can save your life – and it’s one of the easiest safe driving tips to follow. One in seven people do not wear their seatbelt, but this piece of equipment reduces the risk of injury by 50% and the risk of death by 45%. You are 30 times more likely to be ejected from the vehicle if you are not wearing a seatbelt – and this increases your risk of serious injury and death dramatically.
If you are transporting children, make sure they are buckled properly into car seats or booster seats, depending on their age, weight, and height. Small children should not ride in the front seat, and they should be buckled at all times.
Children can also be a distraction. Bring games, let them watch a show or movie on your phone (you don’t need it at the moment!) … do what you can to keep them calm during the ride.
- Maintain Your Vehicle
Keep your vehicle in good, safe shape. If, for example, you’re running worn brakes, it can significantly increase your stopping distance. If your tires are threadbare or soft, it is difficult to maintain adequate traction on the road. There are a lot of moving parts – make sure to take care of them so they will take care of you.
- Watch Your Blind Spots
Mirrors are great – use them! But be aware that there are still “blind spots,” or areas not covered by your side and rear view mirrors. Turn around to check that your good to go when pulling out into traffic, passing another vehicle, etc.
Also remember that other drivers have blind spots too! Try to stay out of them as much as possible. When driving near tractor trailers, be aware that their blind spots are much bigger. Don’t linger right beside the truck, for instance. The driver cannot see you from his/her mirrors.
- Use Your Turn Signals
These do just what they say: signal to other drivers that you’re about to make a turn or change lanes. If you do not alert them, you increase the risk of getting into an accident.
- Learn About – and Use – Your Vehicle’s Safety Features
Your vehicle may have safety features, such as lane departure warning, auto-braking, collision warnings, etc. Take a bit of time to learn about these features and how to use them. You don’t want to rely on them exclusively to keep you safe – paying attention, using good judgement, and following traffic laws are critical. But, still, they can be a useful tool.
Vehicle accident prevention is in your hands. Use these safe driving tips every time you go out on the road, even if it’s a quick trip. Don’t let your guard down.
Stay safe out there!