Things happen at such a high rate of speed on the highway that our human capacity with normal “perception/reaction” time makes driving exceptionally dangerous. The problem lies in the fact that, after a short time, we get the feeling that driving is easy. It is true that driving itself, keeping a truck or car in a lane without hitting the people around you, is not difficult IF you have lots of clear distance to your front, back and sides. The problem, of course, is that as soon as you are close to another vehicle things can happen, due to the other driver’s negligence, which can cause terrible accidents and injuries. Those accidents are at an honest level unavoidable by the best of drivers simply because we can’t perceive all the things necessary to avoid other people’s negligent driving. Here are some tips to keep you as safe as you can be while traversing these dangerous highways and byways. I am not going to talk about texting and driving. I am going to take that leap of faith that you all know NEVER to drive drunk, and NEVER text and drive.
Let’s talk about some other hints to help stay safe.
- Take your foot off the fast lane! Multiple lane roads and highways use the left lane for passing. When you are on those roads stay in the middle or right side lane. Let the speed demons go by without incident. How many times have you seen a speeding driver run right up on a slower driver in the fast lane? At our law firm, we see it all the time. Our practice is filled with people who were driving in the left lane and had to break for any number of reasons (slow traffic, someone cutting into their lane, debris on the highway, etc) only to have a speeding person rear-end them at 85 MPH. Keep in mind, when you are in the middle or right lane you have two side directions for an escape route. Many times the left lane doesn’t have a shoulder big enough to safely move into to avoid an accident. Slamming on your breaks in the right and middle lane also gives the drivers behind you more opportunities to avoid the crash. So think about those small differences when choosing your cruising lanes.
- Keep your head in the game! Driving can be mesmerizing. It is so easy to just cruise and drift off into other thoughts. Recognize that driving is dangerous. You have a weapon going 70 MPH on the highway. You can kill people in that moving vehicle easily. So, don’t get lazy about it. Accept the full responsibility of driving and stay aware of your surroundings. Whether you are traveling inside your home city of Lake Worth or going from West Palm Beach to Boca on the highway, constantly scan the traffic ahead and behind you. Stay a full clear 7 car lengths away from the car in front of you. Look way down the highway to see if any changes in traffic or weather are coming up.
- The hands have it, so use them properly. Always drive with both hands on the wheel, and use the safe driving positions by keeping them at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock on the steering wheel. You will be surprised how much better it feels to fully control the car with your hands not your pinky on the bottom of the wheel. Stop trying to look cool driving, and be good at it, not cool at it! If and when an emergency condition happens you will be ready to avoid the accident. Now, what happened to the old conventional wisdom to keep your hands at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock? The reason it was changed is because of the universal use of steering wheel airbags. You have less risk of wrist and hand injury at 9 and 3 than you do at 10 and 2. Plus you lose no significant control with your hands in the safer position!
- Maintain for safety. Recognize that driving a well-maintained car will help you avoid accidents in the future. Brakes that fail or stop your car poorly will eventually cause an accident. Statistically, well-maintained cars get into fewer accidents than poorly maintained cars. The thought is that people who work at keeping their car nice enough will drive safely to keep it safe as well. So invest some time and effort in that car; wash it; sweep it out; throw out that McDonald’s bag of garbage; tune it up; get good tires! Then drive that baby around proudly and safely. I understand you want to maximize those tires and brakes for as many miles as possible, but do not sacrifice economy for safety. Keep in mind that safe driving will also maximize the life of those expensive tires and brakes.
We at the LaBovick Law Group wish you a safe driving experience, but we also know that accidents are going to happen. If you or a loved one are ever injured in an auto accident due to the negligence of another, please contact us for a free consultation. Our South Florida personal injury attorneys are here to help get you the money and care you deserve.