6 Ways to Prevent Auto Accidents and Become a Better Driver
Driving is perhaps the most dangerous everyday activity.
To stay safe you have to form good driving habits. Yes, that means taking it back to the basics. Read ahead to find out the top 6 ways to prevent auto accidents and become a better driver.
6. Keep Your Eyes Peeled
You’ve got to keep your eyes on the road, of course, but safe driving isn’t about simply staring straight ahead. The safest drivers use visual scanning to track traffic and other information both behind and beside them. If you’re driving in an unfamiliar area, it is doubly important to be carefully reading road signs and lane markings so that you can avoid switching lanes at the last moment and do a thorough reconnaissance of your blind spot. Having a keen eye on the road also insures that you’re ready for any sudden hazards.
5. Keep Your Distance
The rule of thumb for safe driving is that you keep one car length of distance between you and the car ahead for every 10mph. If you’re going 60mph, you should be staying behind about 6 car lengths (be generous in your estimate). This will give you ample space in which to make a sudden stop and also improves your visibility of the road ahead (see tip 6). If roads are slippery or visibility is low, give yourself even more of a safe stopping distance.
4. Keep a Buffer at Red Lights
When many drivers pull up behind another car at a red light or other stop, they skooch up to within a foot or two of the other driver’s bumper. Pulling up this close increases the likelihood of a multicar pile-up in the event that you are rear-ended, and also prevents you from getting stuck behind stalled or otherwise disabled vehicles. A good rule of thumb is to leave enough room between your car and the car ahead that you can see their rear tires.
3. Wear Your Seatbelt
Your mother was right. Seatbelts (and airbags, and crumple-zones) are designed to save your life in case of an accident. In addition, most states now allow police officers to pull you over for seatbelt violations. Belt in no matter how short the trip.
2. Don’t Give Into Road Rage
Other drivers can be infuriating. They cut you off, try to sneak into your lane, run red lights, and everything in between. But getting into a an argument with another driver (not to mention a roadside fight) will accomplish nothing–and you certainly won’t get to your destination any faster. Just take a few deep breaths and keep on keeping on.
1. Assume Everyone is Incompetent.
This advice isn’t as cynical as it sounds. There are many safe, competent drivers, but there are also many drivers who are unskilled or inexperienced on the road. To hedge your bets, you should simply assume that every driver on the road is at least a little incompetent. This means keeping an eye out for lane changes without turn signals, giving a pause before going on green lights (red light running sometimes seems like an epidemic these days), and occasionally giving up the right of way to prevent accidents with dangerous drivers.