With over 6 million car accidents in the United States every year, getting in one yourself is not such an unrealistic fear.
While you can’t control other drivers on the road with you, there are some proactive moves you can make to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Here are 10 life-saving tips for how to prevent car accidents and what you can do to be prepared.
How to Prevent Car Accidents
Many of the most effective ways to prevent car accidents include learning to drive carefully and becoming a defensive driver yourself.
Of course, no matter how safely you drive, you may not be able to avoid an accident you’re entire life. Fortunately, this list of tips gives you a great start.
1. Green Doesn’t Mean “Go”
Did your high school driver’s ed coach ever use the old adage, “green means go… if clear”? If not, they should have.
Too often, drivers assume that a green light means they can hit the gas. Well, that’s pretty understandable. However, truly wise drivers know that even when their light turns green, it’s important to look every direction before proceeding.
One of the most common places for car accidents to occur is in the middle of an intersection.
Just think about your own driving habits. Have you ever sped through a red? It happens all the time. So if you really want to know how to avoid an accident, make sure you look for red-light-runners before driving through a light.
2. Enter Traffic Slowly
It can be tempting to assume when you’re turning into traffic that one glance is good enough. Unfortunately, cars can appear in your lane quite suddenly.
One of the best ways to avoid an accident is to always pull into traffic slowly and deliberately.
We don’t mean at a snail’s pace, as that can become a hazard as well. Basically, you should try to match the speed limit while being sure to look both directions at least twice before entering a lane.
3. Put the Phone Away
You’ve seen the billboards, the stats, the news stories, so why are you still texting and driving?
It’s so easy to feel irritated when we see someone else doing it next to us, but how many times have you looked at your phone will driving?
To avoid temptation, try silencing your phone before starting the car. Ask Siri for directions before you leave home. Turn your alerts off so you’re not tempted to text.
And when all else fails, don’t lie and click the “I’m not driving” message. You know what we’re talking about…
4. Eliminate All Distractions
While we’re on the topic of phones, let’s go ahead and say to avoid car accidents, your best bet is to eliminate all distractions before taking the wheel.
This means being proactive. Choose your music playlist before you drive.
Put your phone in a bag out of reach from you. We’d tell you to avoid turning around to yell at your loud kids in the backseat, but some distractions are simply unavoidable.
Still, do your best to make driving time, driving time. At the end of the day, no radio channel change is worth an accident, or worse, injury.
5. Take Care of Your Car
It’s hard to have car engine failure or flat tires if you get your car serviced regularly. Having a sudden tire blowout on the freeway can be a major hazard.
If you’re serious about safety, your car’s functionality and performance should be at the top of your take-care-of list.
6. Lookout for Children
Getting into a car accident is bad enough. Having children involved is a true tragedy.
This is why we recommend taking speeding limits seriously, especially in neighborhoods and school zones. Children, animals, even bouncing balls have a habit of darting into the road unexpectedly.
You can’t always foresee these situations, but you can much more easily break and prevent a serious accident or injury if you’re driving slowly.
7. Rid Yourself of Rage
Sure, they cut you off. We agree, there are definite jerks on the road. However, you’re only hurting yourself by tailgating someone in anger or speeding past them to cut them off in return.
When driving, try to stay calm. Give other drivers the benefit of the doubt.
Even if someone does something blatantly dangerous or illegal, take the higher road. Literally.
Avoid road rage at all costs.
8. Look Ahead
A best practice is to keep your eyes on the area in front of your car at least 10 seconds ahead of you. This helps you remain aware of swerving cars, sudden obstacles in your path, and gives you enough time to break suddenly if needed.
You can’t always see what’s in front of the car ahead of you, but you can help prevent yourself from running into them accidentally by looking ahead.
9. Turn Around
One glance backward before pulling out of your garage or your parking space is not enough.
Unless you have the latest in safety technology and your car comes with a camera that displays your rear driving pathway, you should be turned backward looking the entire time you’re pulling out.
A car or truck accident is far less likely to happen when you err on the side of over-cautious. It’s important to assume your path is never totally clear.
10. Drive Defensively
As mentioned, it’s a good idea to give other drivers the benefit of the doubt to avoid becoming frustrated every time you get in your car. However, it’s also wise to never assume the others on the road with you are careful.
Driving defensively is another way of saying, keep your distance. Keep your eyes open, and keep plenty of space between you and the other cars.
You can never predict the behavior of other drivers.
More Car Related Tips
Knowing how to prevent car accidents is the first step to staying safe. Follow these tips to become a safer driver and take comfort in the fact that you’re doing your part to prevent a future accident.
For more car-related advice, review our post on how much it actually costs to run your car. Happy driving!