The last thing any driver needs is to see another vehicle barreling towards them on the road completely out of control. This situation can quickly result in an accident if you can’t get your vehicle out of the way quickly enough.
Unfortunately, car accidents have become increasingly common in recent years, with more and more being reported every year. Learning how to stay safe behind the wheel of a car should be the ultimate goal of all drivers, and this starts with learning how to avoid a wreck.
How Common are Car Accidents?
The unfortunate truth about driving is that accidents are common on roads worldwide. In fact, approximately 1.7 million rear-end crashes occur annually alone, meaning a person can imagine how many total accidents occur.
For those who aren’t quite able to guess, the average yearly number of reported accidents exceeds 5 million. It’s important to remember that this only includes reported accidents and not the undoubtedly many that go unreported.
The Leading Causes of Accidents
Before diving into the best ways to avoid a wreck on the road, it’s critical to look at the leading causes of accidents around the country and the world:
- Drivers who are speeding or breaking the traffic laws in other ways
- Driving in poor weather conditions that you are not familiar with
- Distractions take a driver’s attention away from the road
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving late at night when there is limited visibility or when a person is tired
8 Ways to Avoid a Wreck on the Road
Understanding the common causes of accidents on the road is only half the battle. The other half is learning how to avoid a wreck on the road using beneficial tips. To that end, make the most of the eight following tips:
Leave enough following distance between cars
One of the biggest mistakes drivers make on the road is not leaving enough following distance between their car and other cars.
Tailgating reduces a person’s reaction time on the road, which can lead to an accident. It’s recommended that drivers leave at least three to four seconds of space between their car and others to have enough reaction time.
Scan the road up ahead of your vehicle.
Similar to the prior point, drivers must take the time to scan the road ahead of their vehicle to maximize reaction time further. The ideal distance to scan ahead of your car is recommended to be twelve seconds, though feel free to look even further ahead if you can.
Handle preventative maintenance on your car.
Many drivers find themselves involved in a car accident simply because their vehicle breaks down on them unexpectedly.
To avoid this, consider taking care of preventative maintenance on your car, which handles routine maintenance tasks such as tire rotations, changing the oil, inspecting the conditions of parts, and other crucial items. Drivers can ensure their vehicle operates perfectly by taking care of these tasks regularly.
Avoid driving in poor weather conditions.
As mentioned, one of the leading causes of car accidents is poor weather conditions, which drivers are unfamiliar with. Whether that be heavy snow, torrential rain, or even blistering heat, poor weather can cause drivers to make irrational decisions. Focus on avoiding driving in poor conditions at all costs but assuming you live in an area with constant conditions, try to train in a safe environment so you know how to handle it.
Limit the amount of night driving that you do
Again, as mentioned, night driving can result in many accidents due to limited visibility, and people tend to be drowsier at night.
Both factors can be dangerous, so limiting the amount of driving you do at night is crucial. Even if that means waiting an extra day to run an errand, staying safe should always be the top priority.
Never take drugs or drink before operating a vehicle
Daily, roughly 37 people die in drunk-driving accidents in the United States. This equates to around one person dying every forty minutes in the country. A driver should never get behind the wheel of a car if they have been drinking, and the same goes for ingesting drugs. Drivers also need to be cautious with prescription medication, which may have unknown side effects that they weren’t expecting.
Obey all traffic laws
While it may seem simple enough, many drivers do not obey traffic laws. Something as simple as running a stop sign can have devastating consequences, though, which is why all drivers should focus on following the rules of the road to reduce the risk of an accident.
Be defensive, not offensive
Finally, perhaps the most important tip for drivers to follow is to be defensive and not offensive drivers. Rather than getting mad at others on the road and attempting to chase after them or aggravate them, choose to take the high road and simply stay defensive.
Should you see other drivers acting erratically on the road, allow them plenty of space in case something happens rather than trying to get closer and see what’s happening in their vehicle.
The Bottom Line
Even the safest drivers can find themselves in a position where another vehicle is careening at them out of control.
At the end of the day, all a person can do is control their actions, not the actions of others on the road. That said, all of the above tips can contribute to reducing the overall risk of an accident on the road.