Motor vehicle accidents occur more than any of us would like. There are ways in which to prevent being in a crash so that we do not end up being a statistic. Become the type of driver that prevents car collisions instead of causing them.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has a list of three P's for safe driving - the P's stand for Prepare, Protect and Prevent. Being prepared for a drive across town or a trip across country allows you to take your time and get there safely. Protecting yourself and your car's occupants by using the safety features, such as seat belts, properly is also a big plus. The final P is Prevent and that is what we are going to discuss.
Around 120 people died each day due to a motor vehicle crash. This roughly equates to one car collision related death every 12 minutes. This is why motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for every age from 3 through 33 year olds. To not become part of this statistical database you need to prevent crashes on the road and not provoke them.
Preventing car collisions is part of a driver's duty. Most ways to stay out of being collisions are common sense. First and foremost do not get behind the wheel of a car if you have taken any drugs or alcohol. Both of these items can impair your driving abilities, response time and capacity to think clearly.
If you decide to drive a vehicle after drinking or ingesting illegal drugs you are likely to hurt not only yourself, your vehicle but others as well. If you are caught the penalties are harsh and severe. Many pedestrian deaths are caused by such bad decisions as driving under the influence.
Pedestrians can surprise you if you are not paying attention to the road. Remember in some states pedestrians always have the right away if in a crosswalk. Be aware of those individuals walking after night in dark clothing. It is your job as a driver to avoid people walking or riding their bikes, just because your car is bigger than them does not give you the right of way.
It takes more concentration to drive at night. Street signs are not as easy to see, some rural areas do not have street lights and sometimes it is hard to see with headlights shining in your eyes. This is why it is important to focus on your driving and drive slower if you must to drive safely at night.
Another problem that you can encounter, during the night or daytime, is fatigue. Do not drive while drowsy. Some studies suggest it is worse to drive while tired then to drive while drunk. If you have a long trip ahead of you get plenty of rest. If you are tired and begin to not be able to focus on the road, pull over immediately. You can try tricks of rolling down your window or stopping and getting some fresh air but it is likely you will become tired again within a half hour of driving.
The best thing to do if you are feeling fatigued is to stop at a motel or rest area. Get some sleep or change out drivers. When you have a clear head that can concentrate on the road and is not foggy from fatigue you can get back on the road. Midnight to 3 am on Saturdays and Sundays prove to be the deadliest hours so keep that in mind if driving during that time period.
While on the roadways always keep plenty of distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you. This allows for you to have plenty of stopping distance and you will not collide if the freeway comes to a sudden stop. Always drive the speed limit since that has been found to be the optimal speed for the roadway you are on. If weather gets bad drive even slower. Do not drive beyond your means.
Always use proper lookout and reasonable care when driving. Just because you have the right of way does not mean that if you can clearly tell that another driver is going to say run a stop sign that you do not have a responsibility to try and avoid an accident from occurring. If you can stop your vehicle before the either hitting or being hit by the person running the stop sign you have prevented an accident. If instead you take the attitude I have the right of way and I'm going no matter if that car is stopping or not and it results in an accident in many states you can be found partly responsible for the accident since you had what is referred to as a "last clear chance" to avoid the incident and did not.
If you could have avoided the accident than you probably would be mad at the other bad and inattentive driver for a bit and then forgot about the incident. When you can and do not prevent an accident there is now damage (property and perhaps bodily injury) to the vehicles and occupants involved plus everyone loses time as they wait for police. Time is also taken by the police to take the report and file it, time is needed by insurance companies to investigate the claim, determine fault, and if the claims cannot be settled with insurers than time is taken up in court to settle any disputes arising from a car accident. That is why it is important to prevent an accident if you have a last clear chance to do so.
Car collisions can include just one car. Over fifty percent of fatal crashes each year involve only one vehicle. Thirty-nine percent of fatal crashes also involved alcohol. Be a safe driver. Do not impair yourself as a driver with alcohol, drugs or even fatigue. If you see another driver doing something that would cause an accident but you can use evasive moves to avoid and prevent an accident, do it.
Remember the 3 P's - Prepare, Protect and Prevent. As a driver you need to stay focused on the roadway and give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. By doing these simple things we discussed you can protect yourself from collisions by not being the cause.