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How to Avoid a Car Accident

Driving has become such a routine part of everyday life; it is often easy to forget that cars are powerful machines that should be handled with the greatest care. The National Highway Traffic Administration estimates that 5.25 million accidents occur in the United States each year. Most of these accidents are completely avoidable with a little forethought and caution.

Those who drive while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, put the lives of themselves and others in grave danger in the most irresponsible way. Planning ahead for transportation before drinking should be done every time. Bartenders and partygoers should monitor departing guests to ensure they have safe transportation arrangements. Impaired driving can also occur if the driver lacks adequate sleep or food. Those planning on operating a vehicle, should ensure they are fully rested and refreshed before attempting to drive.

In recent years, cell phones have become ubiquitous and their devastating effect on the nation’s drivers is becoming increasingly apparent. So many avoidable accidents occur while the driver was text messaging or talking. Investing in a hands free device for talking, or installing a voice recognition program can significantly lower the distraction of a cell phone. While these devices are convenient, they should only be used when absolutely necessary. All cell phone use, except in emergency situations, should be conducted while the vehicle is parked in a safe location.

Many careless driving mistakes are made while the vehicle operator is in a hurry. Allowing plenty of time to reach a destination can eliminate the temptation to make irresponsible errors. A preplanned route, with an alternative backup in case of traffic, can go a long way toward ensuring timely arrival at a destination.

Every person has a different temperament. Some are quicker to anger and frustration than others. Those who have impulsive temperaments, should consider studying coping strategies to help manage the anger and frustration that can arise in certain driving situations. Rampant emotions can cause the driver of a vehicle to engage in rash behavior that may lead to an accident. Anger management therapy is available and recommended, though it can be expensive. Anger management support groups are also helpful and are generally free to participants.

People who spend a great deal of time traveling in their vehicles, sometimes forget they are the sole operator of thousands of pounds of heavy machinery. This is not the time for eating, applying cosmetics, or any other form of distracting behavior. Children should be coached on the potentially life or death need to respect the driver and to hold all requests and complaints until it is safe to do so. Distracted drivers are more likely to breeze through stop signs and traffic lights.

New drivers are often dangerous drivers. New drivers can avoid accidents by driving slowly and adhering to traffic laws. Extreme speed and inexperience often mix into a deadly combination. Inexperienced drivers should avoid inferior road conditions until they gain more experience. Participating in a driver’s safety course is also a good idea for those new to driving, as well as those more experienced drivers.

Regularly scheduled eye exams can go a long way toward preventing accidents. A few seconds can be a big advantage in accident prevention. The sooner an obstacle is perceived, the more likely it is that a collision will be avoided. Potholes, animals, unexpected curves, oncoming vehicles and pedestrians are all possible obstructions. Frequently checking vision is desirable to detect changes in prescription and night blindness. Most cities offer free or discounted eye exams to those who cannot afford them. Taking this small precaution can significantly decrease chances of collision.

Unfavorable weather is uncontrollable. Conditions such as high winds, fog, rain, snow and sleet are very dangerous to drivers. If weather conditions pose a danger, travel should be suspended until the danger passes. No event is important enough to risk lives by driving on unsuitable roads.

Regular auto maintenance ensures that the vehicle is in perfect working order. Malfunctioning automobiles account for a large portion of yearly accidents. Routine, preventative maintenance severely limits this risk by catching problems early. Headlights and airbags can also be checked for proper functioning during these inspections.

All states require a written test based on a driver handbook in order to obtain a license, but many require no additional tests for license renewal. It is a good idea, however, to periodically brush up on driving laws and check to see if new ones have been enacted. Obeying all traffic laws to the letter is an easy way to avoid unnecessary accidents. Following too closely, failure to heed road signs, and not following lane changing procedures are all common causes of traffic accidents. Following traffic laws is also a good way to avoid costly traffic tickets.

Even if all safety measures are followed, an accident still may be unavoidable. An individual can control the safety measures taken, but the sad truth is that many other drivers will not be that conscientious. In the event that a collision occurs, being prepared can significantly lower chances of injury.

When a car is suddenly stopped, in the case of an accident by a collision with another object, all objects in the car continue to move at the same rate the car was moving when it collided. For this reason, wearing a safety belt is a must. This will slow down the individual at the same rate as the car and prevent the driver and passengers from flying into the console or windshield with deadly force. Keeping vehicles free of clutter prevents objects from hurling through the car unobstructed. Keeping a fully charged cell phone and a thoroughly stocked first aid kit can be very useful. Those with dangerous or unusual medical conditions, should wear a medical bracelet detailing this information, as well as any medications being taken.

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